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Inspired by the National Parks

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There are more than 50 US National Parks. Not all are as well known as the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, but each protects a spectacular landscape. The Park Service, which in 2016 is celebrating its 100th anniversary, ensures that the nature is protected and people can explore them safely. A very important task!

On the occasion of the anniversary, down Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto has put out a call to participate. To celebrate 148 quilters have each represented one aspect (landscape, flora or fauna) of each one of the parks in a quilt.

The 177 Art Quilts will travel as an exhibition for two years to the great Quilt Festival in the USA. The first stop was the famous 2015 Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. A great recognition! But that's not all: The renowned US Schiffer Publishing Company published the book that Donna DeSoto has put together over the National Park quilts in May 2016.

Inspired by the National Parks (Cover)


Inspired by the National Parks
Their Landscapes and Wildlife in Fabric Perspectives

The book was published at Site in English Schiffer Publishing.

Hardcover, 8 1/2" x 11", 272 pages containing excellent color photos.

A percentage of sales from the book will be donated to the National Park Service.


What an honor: A detail of my quilt
illustrates the table of contents!

A colorful celebration of the 59 US National Parks, this collection of 177 original art quilts depicts the widely varying landscapes, flora, and fauna of the parks. Basic facts about each of these national treasures-from Acadia in Maine, to Voyageurs in Minnesota, to Yosemite in California, to Haleakal? in Hawaii-are included, along with short writings from 64 park rangers and other personnel. The book reveals individual glimpses into the passionate commitment to preserve, protect, and enjoy these special places.

Of course you can also read the personal stories and thoughts of the artists. It is not an instructional book but rather a source of inspiration for Art Quilters, a collectible for nature lovers and a wonderful memory for all visitors to the national parks.

Breathing Green Air (Ausschnitt)
Detail from "Breathing Green Air"


My Quilt "Breathing Green Air" reflects memories of spring hikes under the green roof of the rain forest at Site in English Olympic National Park in the North West USA. The Park covers three kind of landscapes: shore, mountains and rain forest.

My contribution to the challenge was a 20 by 44 inch landscape quilt. Entirely paper pieced of course ...

About my quilt

I love walking through green nature, breathing fresh, cool air; leaving behind everyday life and simply "being"; winding down and becoming part of the scenery; taking in oxygen and thousands of shades of green with all my senses; being enticed by the path to discover new sights and striking details.

Enjoying nature this way generates a very special, balanced mood, which I long to take home and preserve in a quilt. Recreating the manifold appearances of nature as straight lines and shapes is a challenge that I gladly take on. The trickier the graphical and technical undertaking, the more intensely will I try to find new solutions and possibilities leading to an elegant result. With a little bit of luck the memories and feelings will be found in my finished piece. And if the quilt transmits a glimpse of that feeling to the viewer - perfect!

In Hoh Rainforest you find abundant ferns and everything is overgrown with moss and lichen.

My quilt reflects memories from long hikes during spring at the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park. I was fascinated by the endless shades of green found in the leaves and moss, whose reflections created a green shimmer in the air. The National Park System not only preserves the fantastic natural landscapes, but also makes them accessible to visitors. I am personally thankful for this, because it would have been impossible for me to enjoy the woods without the paths and trails. This is why I placed a hiker on a footbridge in my scene.

For my preferred technique - paper piecing - a detailed lay out is absolutely necessary. I use a selection of images to explore the natural textures in detail and develop a design that can be pieced. My computer with its variety of special drawing programs is the most important tool to create precise drawings.

However, the most enjoyable part takes place in the sewing room, where one digs into all the fabric drawers and scrap baskets, hunting for that perfect fabric, trying to find the exact color for each piece of the puzzle. In the end all the little pieces come together to one finished image. Quilting is done by machine and I sometimes add some embroidery or appliqué by hand.

About the Author

Others collect quilts, but Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto is a collector of quilters. She promotes camaraderie among the unsuspecting with subtle nudges to come have a look, open invitations to join in group quilting challenges, and all-out harangues to drop everything and join in the fun. DeSoto's artwork has been exhibited at local and national venues, universities, hospitals, healing and charity projects, and in private residences. Her work has been featured in magazines and books.

On her website Site in English Inspired Quilts she briefly presents her projects. She has already successfully launched several quilt projects and published them as books. I participated in to site Inspired by the Beatles: An Art Quilt Challenge and to site Inspired by Endangered Species.


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© Regina Grewe, Kamen
Last update: 02.03.2020