For a complete tutorial slide show (18M PDF) about how this quilt was designed and made CLICK HERE.
Feather Study #30
2007 Fairfield Master Award for Contemporary Artistry
Printable version
  • Copyright 2007 Caryl Bryer Fallert
  • Size: 53" x 65"
  • Techniques: hand dyed, hand painted, machine pieced, and quilted
  • Materials: fabric: 100% cotton  / batting: 80% cotton / 20% polyester
  • Private Collection: Alpharetta, Georgia

See details and more information below
Larger image


Design Concept

For many years birds have been a recurring theme in my work. At one point I began focusing on the patterns within a single feather, and the patterns created when feathers overlap. I have made hundreds of sketches/doodles using these patterns as a launch-pad for my imagination. Many of these flights of fantasy go far beyond anything that could be found in a real bird, but they still reflect patterns found in nature, both in birds and in plants. During the last eight years, I have made a series of quilts based on the most interesting of these raw sketches. This is the thirtieth quilt in the series.

The fabrics for this quilt were hand dyed and painted in gradations of color and value. The juxtaposition of intersecting gradations creates the illusion that the feathers are lit from within, rather than from an outside source. The machine quilting was done freehand with many different colors of thread.


Original doodle

The design started with a small pencil sketch on paper. I scanned the sketch into the computer played with the proportions. I tried the whole design as a rectangle, and liked that better. I did a value studio in shades of grey. Then I did a full color study (below).

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To make a full size drawing I used an overhead projector to project the line drawing onto freezer paper which was hung on the wall. I drew the basic outlines with pencil and then spent several days refining the big drawing and adding all of the information I was going to need to piece it together. Several days later, the completed big drawing was on my work wall (below). I got out my painted fabrics and my hand dyed gradations, and began laying out the colors I would use.

I cut a large chunk out of the drawing and then cut apart the individual templates within that chunk. Each individual template in a series was ironed to successive colors in a gradation. I cut them out with seam allowances, and laid them in order on my work table. I cut the next set of templates from multi-colored, painted fabrics and stitched those pieces to the solid color templates, and so on.
When I finished piecing the first chunk it went back on the wall. I cut the next chunk and contunued piecing the sections together until the top was completed.

This quilt received the $5000.00 Fairfield Master Award for Contemporary Artistry at the 2007 International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas, and the Best Machine Workmanship Award (wall quilts) in the 2009 American Quilters Society Show, Paducah KY.

Here the batting and backing have been added and it is being quilted.

Caryl quilting on Legacy machine

Paducah 2008



  • 500 Art Quilts, Lark, 2010, p 295
  • Arte Patchwork, (Spain) December 2009, p. 10
  • The Daily Sentinel (Denver CO) Sunday July 22, 2007, p. 2C
  • Quilts Inc. wall calendar 2008 (cover)
  • AQS wall calendar, 2009
  • The Daily Sentinel (Denver CO) Sunday July 22, 2007, p. 2C

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 8/12/18