Fran Fuller & Jane Swanson
What was your inspiration for this piece?
Fran: I was immediately struck by the clear imagery in Jane’s poem and the way the poem conveyed a sense of movement in just a few words. I also liked the juxtaposition of the pack of cyclists and a flock of geese, and the recognition that cyclists and geese use similar techniques to save energy and share work. I have saved a beautiful newspaper photo from the early 2000s of the US cycling team riding very fast in a tight formation along the Central Coast of California as they prepared for the Tour de France. Jane's poem made me think of that photo, which I love. Though my quilt is not at all similar, I hope I captured some of the same feeling of speed and movement.
Jane: The high speed form of the peloton in bicycle racing—how the cyclists work together even though they are competing.
Tell us about the creation process including any obstacles overcome or surprises.
Fran: My first thought when I read Jane’s poem was that my design would be fairly representational, and I considered printing photos or line drawings of cyclists and geese on fabric and fitting them together like a puzzle. As I worked on the design, however, it became simpler and more abstract, and I remembered the traditional quilt pattern, Flying Geese. I am part of a critique group in the Contemporary Quilt Art Association, and my group-mates encouraged me to explore versions of Flying Geese and to keep refining and abstracting the design. They also gave me lots of tips about how to attach the triangles and ovals to a background (since I had not made a quilt before). A BARN class (Barbara Ramsey’s Wonky Log Cabin) inspired the way I pieced the background. I chose sunset-sky colors for the background because I often think of geese flying in formation against a sunset. Quilt projects I’ve made since this one have been more heavily quilted, which I like. If I have the chance to revisit this one, I will add a few more lines of quilting to the upper two-thirds of the piece to add texture and create more contrast between the flat black triangles and ovals and the multicolored background.
Jane: This poem was redacted from Wikipedia. The creative process was choosing which words NOT to use. Many times that process can be applied to works that have stalled because perhaps they are just too wordy.
Fran has been sewing and knitting since childhood, and was thrilled to find BARN where she can improve her old skills and add new ones. For her, 2021 will be the year of learning to weave. She moved to Bainbridge in 2019 from California, where she'd lived for almost 25 years. She went to UW and has family roots on the island.
Jane thinks of herself as a word artist. She feels great poetry can have few words but great impact. The letterpress and book studio at the BARN are helping her in her goal to find words and make them presentable. The writers’ studio is creating opportunities for writers to present their work.