Dancing with the Shadow #1:Harmony  © 1995 Caryl Bryer Fallert Dancing with the Shadow #1:Harmony
Printable version
  • Copyright 1995 Caryl Bryer Fallert
  • Size: 61" x 93"
  • Techniques: hand dyed, hand painted, machine pieced, appliqued and quilted
  • Materials: fabric: 100% cotton  / batting: 80% cotton / 20% polyester
  • Private Collection: St. Petersburg, FL

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Design Concept

This is one of a series of quilts about dance. To me, dance symbolizes the energy of life and a sense of creative freedom. The shadow represents the unconscious, from which are drawn images of the past to create new images in visual art. Although the silhouettes were taken from real dancers, this piece is not so much about the dance itself as about the harmony and beauty that can emerge when we combine our positive energies in a creative way. Each dancer appears to be translucent, and the areas where they overlap become secondary shapes.
The fabric for the dancer is finely woven cotton broadcloth, which was painted with fiber reactive dyes in a technique that is very much like water color painting. The background fabric is cotton sheeting, which was manipulated into folds and painted with dyes. After being painted, it was overdyed with black to provide a darker background for the dancers.
The silhouettes of the dancers were traced, then scanned into the computer. I used a computer assisted drawing program to manipulate, arrange and color them in the computer to arrive at the final arrangement. The shadow echoes the shapes of the dancers.

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Dancing with the Shadow #1 :Harmony (detail) © 1995 Caryl Bryer Fallert

Dancing with the Shadow #1 :Harmony (detail) © 1995 Caryl Bryer Fallert

The composition was printed onto clear acetate, and projected onto a sheet of Wonder Under (fusible web bonded to paper) The silhouette of each dancer and each shadow was drawn, cut out, and fused to cotton fabric. Each piece was carefully cut out with embroidery scissors and fused to a background of darker, dye painted fabric. The fabrics used for the background and the dancers were manipulated while wet. Liquid dyes were poured over them and allowed to flow together in a technique similar to watercolor painting. The shadow was cut from solid black fabric.
A strong border seemed to be needed to contain the energy of the dancers. The border design began with a traditional "Crown of Thorns" block. This was manipulated on the computer screen in many different ways, until I found one that I thought best complimented the dancers. The individual blocks were printed out on a laser printer to form templates for the individual pieces.
The geometric outline quilting of the outer border is offset by freeform, free motion quilting of the center in designs that roughly echo the patterns of the liquid dye as it flowed together in the painting of the dancers and the background fabric.


  • SPECTRUM: THE TEXTILE ART OF CARYL BRYER FALLERT, Traveling Solo Exhibition, 1996-1998 Museum of the American Quilters Society, Paducah, KY, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL, American Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, CA, Dunedin Fine Art Center, Dunedin FL, New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA


  • MASTERS ART QUILTS: Lark Books, 2008, p. 224\
  • QUILTERS NEWSLETTER MAGAZINE, Leman Publications, March, 1996 p. 50
  • THE QUILTING QUARTERLY, (National Quilting Assoc. Inc.) Spring, 1996, COVER & pp 19 & 22
  • CARYL BRYER FALLERT: A SPECTRUM OF QUILTS, 1996, AQS Books, pp 96, 97, 98, 99
  • THE STATE JOURNAL REGISTER, Springfield, IL Sunday, January 5, 1997, pp. 1, 4
  • THE ST.PETERSBURG TIMES, St.Petersburg, Fl. Wednesday, July 16, 1997, Section B. p. 1
  • THE SUN, Lowell, MA, Sunday Nov. 9 1997, p. B 1
  • QUILT WORLD, January, 1998, p 25
Web Site Design by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry 1997-2022 All Rights Reserved
Bryerpatch Studio • 10 Baycliff Place • Port Townsend, WA • 98368 • USA
360-385-2568 • caryl@bryerpatch.com

Updated 1/29/15