Throughout all of our history, humans have had to battle the elements. Our
civilizations grew as we learned how to overcome our natural perils, and
change them to tools for our use and advancement.
Lighthouses are an universal symbol of safety and strength, of our power to
overcome danger from the elements at sea.
This quilt grew out of my enthusiasm for portraying landscape in quilt form. I
reduce a scene to a minimum of elements, and simplify perspective. I enjoy
choosing a variety of fabrics to portray both natural and artificial portions
in a realistic way.
The five lighthouses were chosen for their proximity to the Chesapeake Bay
area (Assateague is on the Atlantic coast of Virginia), and their visual
interest and variety. The color scheme is polychromatic: the primary and
secondary colors excluding violet. The design reflects the four elements, both
in repetitions of certain sections in fours (four lighthouse scenes, four sun
sections, etc.) and in both explicit and implicit visual symbols of earth,
air, water, and fire. This quilt was at times a joy for me to design and make,
at other times a strain on my mental and dexterous capabilities. The border
design was particularly troublesome. I decided on a Flying Geese variation for
the top and bottom borders (an “air” element). The side borders use the same
triangle units, but are a variation of “Streak of Lightning” (a “fire”
element); except the blue zigzags down the middle, reminiscent of a wave or
river (a “water” element).
The quilt is machine-pieced and machine-quilted. The only handwork was inking
details on the lighthouses. Ribbon was used for some of the other lighthouse
details, particularly railings. The orange triangles in the borders are folded
so they are three-dimensional; some of the sails on the ship are also
Susan Redstreake Geary designed the “Pride of Baltimore II”
sailing ship. All other parts of the quilt are my original designs. The quilt
and pattern was commissioned by Quilt Studio of Ellicott City, Maryland.