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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment June 29, 2016

4/1/2014 12:35:00 PM
Quilt installation returns to City Hall
Designer Donna Rice was acknowledged at a quilt installation event. photo by Jim Cornelius
+ click to enlarge
Designer Donna Rice was acknowledged at a quilt installation event. photo by Jim Cornelius

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

The "Two Rivers, Three Sisters" quilt installation has lived out a Johnny Cash song: It's been everywhere, man. The traveling exhibit has hung all around the Pacific Northwest and as far away as Yokohama, Japan.

Now, it's come home to Sisters.

Quilters, local dignitaries and interested citizens gathered Wednesday evening to celebrate the installation's return to its permanent display in the council chambers at Sisters City Hall.

"Two Rivers, Three Sisters" is a 40-foot-long quilt made up of 17 quilt panels by Central Oregon quilt artists, celebrating the city of Sisters' natural surroundings and unique quilting culture. A river runs through each panel and into the next as a connecting thread.

The City of Sisters was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Oregon Arts Commission/Ford Family Foundation to acquire the collaborative quilt work. Additional funding for the purchase was provided by The Roundhouse Foundation, the Koons Family Foundation of the Oregon Community Foundation, and individual donors. Many of the quiltmakers generously donated to the purchase of the piece.

The National Forest Foundation matched the donation 1:1 for a total of $24,500. The funds went to an overlook project on Whychus Creek.

Maret Pajutee of the Sisters Ranger District described restoration work on Whychus Creek and the Metolius River. The Whychus, she noted, had been "lost": It lost its water, it lost its fish, it lost its original native name. All are being restored.

"We've been on this restoration rocket ride," she said.

The Metolius River was far from lost: It is so popular that Pajutee described it as "being loved to death." Much work has been done on trail rehabilitation, stewardship thinning, and other work to keep this treasure from slipping away.

"We've been very fortunate to have all of this community energy to help us do what we want to do here," she said.

The permanent installation of "Two Rivers, Three Sisters" brings the project full circle. Ann Richardson, former executive director of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, recalled the first meeting of quilters to get the project going. They laid out a design conceived on paper by quilter Donna Rice. The main design element was the river running through the quilt; otherwise quilters were given great latitude for their own interpretation.

The paper design concept was laid out on the very wall where the final product hangs.

"I still get chills when I think of that day," Richardson said.

Richardson's successor at Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, Jeanette Pilak, said, "It's so great to have this here. Every time I come in to City Hall, I look at it, 'cause you always see something new."

Funders of the project are: National Forest Foundation; Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show; U.S. Forest Service; Deschutes County Cultural Coalition; Deschutes County Economic Development Fund Discretionary Grant; Oregon Arts Commission with support from the National Endowment for the Arts; The Roundhouse Foundation; Deschutes Land Trust; Deschutes River Conservancy.

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