Fish In The Sea
Size: 45” w. x 45” h. x 9” d.

Fish In The Seawas shown in 1999 in the “19th Annual Northwest International Art Competition” at the Whatcom Museum of Art and History, Bellinghman, WA, and earlier that year in “Works From The Heart,” sponsored by the Cheney Cowles Museum, Spokane, WA.

This quilt focuses primarily on the “appliques.” The little fish are appliques. The heart is an applique. The large fish is appliqued on the heart. The background of the quilt is divided into squares, several of which are one of the most simplified quilt patches, Ocean Wave, which is a square composed to two triangles of different colors.

Fish In The Sea is a playful quilt, poking fun at the travails of love, at the same time taking comfort from the folk wisdom’s injunctions about love. Cupid’s arrows fly everywhere across the surfACE of the quilt, some diving into the “water,” some puncturing their way out. Sometimes love is like shooting fish in a barrel it’s so easy. Everybody’s looking for love -- look at how big the eyes of the fish are. And what about that big ol’ leathery heart? It’s seen the wear and tear of love. It’s full of holes. It’s cracked and hardened. But it’s a big old beautiful heart. It will be alright, won’t it? Sure, it’s found a fish of its own, a big one, the one swimming in an opposite direction from the others, the one attached to it, the one that completes the “heart and sole/soul.”

The frame/border of Fish In The Sea is made from the halved bottoms of All detergent containers. Most of the background squares are detergent and shampoo bottles with a motor oil container piece here and there. Several of the fish are ichthys from a Christian bookstore and the other little fish are made from that pattern. The big fish is made from a cherry tin my Uncle Erv found in the barn at Aunt Helen’s while he and I were cleaning up her estate. The leather came from Ressa’s Shoe Service -- like a lot of other American “scrap,” old shoe and boot leather goes into the dumpster. The Ressa’s were kind enough to save me a garbage bag full. As I was “papering” the heart with pieces selected at random for their fit on the heart (and saved at random by Ressa’s by whatever was brought in to them for repair), I noticed what I had was the soles from cowboy boots and hiking boots. Now if that’s not a good representation of Spokane, I don’t know what is. So, the leather pieces in FIsh In The Sea give a “snapshot” of a particular plACE and time, just like all traditional quilts do through the fabric and patches they employ.

If you’re interested in purchasing Fish In The Sea, or would like to learn more about my community involvement projects, please e-mail me at, phone 509 362-5296, or write to me at P.O. Box 161, Marshall, WA 99020.


P.O. Box 161, Marshall, WA 99020 / 509 362-5296 /