Alycia Allen Tolmach
I love creating art that people want to touch.
My landscape art quilts start with a photo I took on my travels. Since I have a journalistic, not an artistic, background, the rendering doesn’t come naturally to me. Unlike a painter who might transfer a perfected sketch onto a canvas and then fill in with paint, I build my landscape freehand. Each tiny 1/8-inch tic of my transparent ruler, laid onto my photo, becomes 1 inch of my quilt. Layering fabric from the horizon forward, I often create whole swathes of background that are doomed to be covered up, but doing this allows me more freedom to improvise the foreground.
The fun for me comes with the fabric. I have long been in the thrall of vintage Japanese kimono silks; the richness of techniques and the life of these unique textiles become silent partners in my design. To retain the touchability of my work, I employ raw-edge applique with a twist: I layer, pin and sew the fabrics without the use of fusibles, so the silks retain their character and glow. Their soft voluptuousness adds a seductive dimension to the landscape.
I find great joy in molding fabric into art that opens a window onto a place I hold dear, capturing how I felt and who I was when I first saw it, and sharing that with someone else, who may see in my Interlaken quilt The Gorge or Lake Chelan, somewhere just as dear to them. There is no greater satisfaction for me, except perhaps for watching that someone else reach out to touch my quilt.