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Refraction #8,#9,#10

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  • Copyright 1993
  • Size: 40" high x 126" wide (triptych)
  • Techniques: Hand dyed, mahcine pieced, machine quilted.
  • Materials: 100% cotton fabric / cotton batting
  • Owner: Originally commissioned by General Railway Signal Corporation, Rochester, NY. Sold to two different private collections after the company changed hands

Design Concept

This series of three quilted panels is about luminescence, or light emerging from dark. Refraction refers to the bending of light as it passes through a prism or crystal. My use of fabrics dyed in both chromatic (color to color) and value (light to dark) gradations, creates the illusion of luminescence.

The quilted panels were pieced from 100% cotton print cloth, which was hand dyed in over 100 different colors and shades. First a graduated set of 48 pure "rainbow" hues was dyed. Then gradations were dyed from both navy and black to each of the primary (yellow, turquoise, fuchsia) and secondary (orange, green, purple) colors.

The construction of the panels was based on the traditional "log cabin" piecing technique. Each spiral began with a small hexagon. 1½" wide strips from six different color gradations were used to piece, log cabin style, around each small hexagon. As each row was sewn, the strips were angled slightly, so that as the hexagons grew, they began to appear to spin.

This triptych is composed of three separate panels, which are meant to hang 2" -3" apart. Each panel is slightly different in color and composition, and is meant to interact visually with the design of the adjacent panel.

Refraction #8,#9,#10 was commissioned by the General Railway Signal Corporation for the main lobby of their new manufacturing plant in Rochester, NY. It was completed and installed in March, 1993. Several years later the Railway company changed hands and their entire art collection was sold on eBay. Two panels went to a private collection in California, and we don't know who has the third panel.


  • General Railway Signal Corporation, Rochester, New York main lobby
  • Texas Quilt Museum, Quilts from the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection July 3 - September 28, 2014, La Grange, TX


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Installation in lobby of General Railway Signal Corp.
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Installation of two remaining panels at the Texas Quilt Museum, Summer 2014
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Updated 12/23/16