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Corona 2: Solar Eclipse © 1989 Caryl Bryer Fallert

Corona #2: Solar Eclipse
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Design Concept

Since the time I was a young child in a grade school science class, I have been fascinated by the dramatic storms on the surface of the sun, which can flair out into the sky for thousands of miles. The few minutes during a solar eclipse are the time when astronomers are actually able to observe the solar storms in the Corona of the sun.

This is my second quilt portraying the solar eclipse (when the moon comes between the earth and the sun, so that the disk of the sun is covered.) The Corona is the envelope of ionized gasses, surrounding the chromasphere of the sun, which is visible during a solar eclipse. CORONA II: SOLAR ECLIPSE, is more a portrayal of my feelings about the power of the sun, than an exact representation of what a scientist might see through a telescope.

My use of a traditional quilt block on the back of this contemporary art quilt is my tribute to the creativity of the many anonymous quilt artists of the past. I chose "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul" as my traditional block in this case, because it is based on a circle, and carries out the circular theme of the sun and moon on the front of the quilt.  

Back of quilt
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Detail of Back
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Process & Technical Details:
This quilt design began with a series of experiments with overlapping transparent circles cut from colored plastic. I drew a series of sketches, to see what I would like the best.
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Once I decided how the circles would be arranged, I experimented with the background and border until I had a design I thought would work. (see below)
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click for larger imageAt the time I did not yet own a computer, or an overhead projector, so I taped together large sheets of paper and laid them on the floor of my studio, which at that time was in the former formal living room of our 1879 farmhouse in Oswego, Illinois. and made a larger version of the pencil sketch. I used rulers to draw perfectly square and parallel borders, and a yardstick compass and flexible curve to draw a 76" x 94" version of my thumbnail pencil sketch.

When the large drawing was finished, I hung it on the wall and began cutting it up to form my templates for piecing. I began by piecing the circles of the sun and moon.

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The quilt is constructed from 100% cotton fabric, dyed, and over-dyed in both chromatic (color to color) and value (light to dark) gradations. These gradations create the illusion of movement and light on the surface of the quilt.

Both the front and back of the quilt were constructed using a traditional technique called string piecing. That is, the picture was drawn full size on a piece of paper, and then cut apart on the major lines of the design. Strips of fabric in many different color gradations were sewn to these paper templates.

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Angle lines were drawn on the paper templates as guides for the direction each strip would be sewn. Unlike precision paper piecing, I did not sew on the line for most of the templates. The sewing was done from the top, and the lines were just the general direction of the next seam. Each strip was at a slightly different angle, fanning out as they went around the curves. The fabrics were arranged in gradations, so there is not a dramatic difference in color or value from one strip to the next, but on each long template the colors start warmer and lighter and get darker and cooler as they get closer to the outside edge of the quilt. This gradual progression from light to dark and color to color created the luminosity of the sun in the quilt. Notice that not all of the colors are brilliant clear tones. Many are dull or even neutral. It takes some smoke to make the brilliant colors glow. When I was arranging the color gradations I pulled out lots of solid colored fabrics, both hand-dyed gradations and commercial fabrics.

I cuts these fabrics into 1½" strips and made piles on the floor of my studio (red, yellow, orange, blue, purple). When I got ready to choose colors for the next template I pulled fabrics from the piles and arranged them in a gradation on my ironing board. No two gradations in the quilt are the same. In some places I have used a straight-out-of-the-dye-buckets hand-dyed gradations, and in other places I have intentionally put a warm red next to a cool red or a neutral of the same value to create the spark needed to depict fire. When the quilt top was complete, I still had lots of fabric strips left in my piles so I used them to create the giant (32") Robbing Peter to Pay Paul blocks on the back of the quilt.

In the picture on the left you can see that I have cut out a chunk of the big picture that I thought I could manage to piece in a single day. It is lying on the floor among my boxes and piles of solid colored fabric. When that is finished it will be pinned back into the rest of the design as it grows on the wall.

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Here is the untrimmed template lying paper side up.
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Here is the untrimmed template lying paper side down.
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Here a line is being drawn around the paper template with a soft pencil and the registration marks are being transferred to the seam allowances.
After the templates were covered with fabric strips, I drew a line around each paper template and transferred all of the registration marks to the seam allowance with a white pencil. The seam allowance was trimmed to a quarter inch from the edge of the paper and then the paper was removed. In the last picture below, the templates are trimmed and ready to be sewn together. This was the last quilt in which I sewed curved seams in the traditional way. After sewing this quilt together with seams from the back, I developed my hybrid "Applipiecing" method, which has made joining curves much easier. Instructions for Applipiecing are included in our FREE TUTORIAL about the making of Fossil Fantasy #1.
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The seam allowances are trimmed to a quarter inch from the edge of the paper.
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The paper is removed.
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This is the template, pinned back to the wall, after it has been joined to the adjacent templates.

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Caryl standing with Best of Show Corona 2: Solar Eclipse, American Quilters Society Show, April, 1989, Paducah KY

The American Quilters Society Show was the first exhibit for Corona 2: Solar Eclipse, and it won the $10,000.00 Best of Show purchase award and was donated to the National Quilt Museum.

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I was able to borrow it back three other exhibits outside the museum which are listed below. Below is a picture of the installation at the Dairy Barn Southeastern Ohio Arts Center in 1990. It was displayed along with Autumn Aurora, a companion, wearable art ensemble created for the Fairfield Fashion show later in 1989.

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  • THE PADUCAH SUN - Thurs. April 20, 1989, THE PADUCAH SUN Thurs. April 26, 1990 p. 25
  • AMERICAN QUILTER magazine, Fall, 1989 FRONT & BACK COVERS + article p.38
  • ROUND BOBBIN, August, 1989, p. 4
  • SEW BUSINESS, August, 1989, p.44
  • QUILT JAPAN, Volume #14, 1990, p. 82
  • STARDATE, Astronomy Magazine, May/June, 1990, p. 17
  • LIBANA: FIRE WITHIN, 1990, COVER Art for Cassette, C.D. and Songbook
  • NEW WAVE QUILT: EXCELLENCE OF EXCELLENCES, Setsuko Segawa, Mitsumura Suiko Shoin, p. 74
  • QUILTS: The Permanent Collection, M.A.Q.S. Catalog, 1991 AQS, p19
  • M.A.Q.S. Brochure 1991
  • LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL, Magazine, Oct. 7, 1990 p. 8
  • AMERICANA magazine, Aug. 1991, p. 35
  • CORONA II.: SOLAR ECLIPSE Jigsaw Puzzle, AQS, 1992
  • BERNINA SEWING MACHINE AD, 1990-92, various magazines
  • CBT CORPORATION, 1992 ANNUAL REPORT, pp.4-5 & inset, 1993 Paducah, KY
  • CONTACT, May 13, 1993, p. 9 (New Zealand)
  • IRIS: A Journal About Women, University of Virginia, #32, Winter, 1994, COVER, pp12-14
  • QUILTS IN ILLINOIS LIFE, 1995: Janis Tauer Wass, Illinois State Museum, pp. 56 Feature Article
  • CARYL BRYER FALLERT: A SPECTRUM OF QUILTS 1983-1995, 1996, AQS Books, pp. 38-41
  • Windhover: A Journal of Christian Literature, Baylor University Press, 2007, COVER & page 181
  • Twentieth Century's Best American Quilts: Celebrating 100 Years of the Art of Quiltmaking, by Mary Leman Austin, Primedia (Quilter's Newsletter Magazine and the International Quilt Festival, along with Quiltmaker and McCall's Quilting collaborated to determine the 100 best quilts of the twentieth century.)
  • American Quilters Society 25th Anniversary Show Poster, 2009
  • Fine Quilting & Fiber Art Guide: Paducah KY, 2013, Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau, Paducah KY, p. 7
  • Biodynamic Association of Northern California Newsletter, Summer, 2017 (COVER)
  • Eclipse Viewing Glasses for August 21, 2017  eclipse over Paducah KY
  • Paducah KY flood wall. First quilt panel behind Hilton Garden Inn • Installation: September, 2017
  • AQS Catalogue of Show Quilts, 2019: Spring, p. 113, 114
  • AQS Quilt Week Grand Rapids 2019 Show Book, p 35
  • AQS Quilt Week Charleston 2019 Show Book, p 31
  • Fiber Art Now, Vol. 9, Issue 1, Fall 2019, p. 26
Media: Exhibits and Awards
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 01/11/2020