Life Between Sunsets
Bernyce K. Courtney
Wasco/Tlingit, Warm Springs, Oregon
44" x 63 3/4”
Photo by Doug Elbinger, all rights reseved by the
Michigan State University Museum
||I created this quilt based on beadwork designs.
My favorite bead color combination are the "sunset"
colors of the yellow, orage to red range, especially when they
are bordered by a rich royal blue. I wanted to make a big pattern
of "beads" based on what you would normally see very
small because beads are so small. I mixed satiny fabrics with
cotton to recreate richness and sparkly quality of cutbeads.
Black borders bring out the brilliance of the intense colors
and more contrast was added with white cotton.
Beadworkers always spill beads and I tried to mimic this randomness
by "throwing" out squares of intense color onto the
white and to break up the rigidness of the pattern of "beads".
It gave it such a contemporary feeling. I quilted "in-the-ditch"
randomly and to honor the lovely glass bead and to futher add
contrast, I beaded some of the white areas with different kinds
of white and crystal beads. I used a subtle white-on-white concept
because I wanted to enhance the fabrics and not detract from
the sensuousness of the variety of fabrics.
I was holding up the piece one day to admire it and it surprised
me by casting shadows around the 9-square blocks that gave it
a new and deeper sculptural dimension.
I was stuck for a name for it and was asking people what they
thought, sometimes their feelings or thoughts about a piece
help me name it. I wasn't having any revelations. I finally
asked my son, he looked at it and suitable said, "Life