Artists focus on nature in Schweinfurth’s annual quilt exhibit

AUBURN, NY (Oct. 26, 2023) – A green line flows through a field of pink in Italian artist Paola Machetta’s art quilt: “River gone green,” one of many artworks in Schweinfurth Art Center’s new exhibit that references nature. It represents the River Turia, which once flowed through the center of Valencia, Italy.

“Centuries of development changed (the city’s) relationship with nature,” Machetta notes in her artist’s statement. “Strong growth at the sides of its riverbanks found its limit on 14 October 1957, when the Great Flood of Valencia flooded large parts of the city.”

City officials reacted by diverting the river and turning its former course into a central green space known as the Garden of the Turia. “My quilt aims to convey the message of what happens when commodification of nature hits an extreme, such as in the story of Turia river bed: not filled with water, now gone green,” Machetta added. “Like a glowing ghost of its former stream shape.”

“River gone green” is one of 73 artworks from 69 artists from around the world to be included in “Quilts=Art=Quilts 2023,” the 42nd annual juried art quilt exhibition held at Schweinfurth. Twelve of the exhibiting artists are from outside the United States: four each from Australia and Canada, and one each from Brazil, France, Italy, and New Zealand. A total of 314 artists applied for the exhibit, which was juried by artists Chawne Kimber and Irene Roderick.

Some of the artworks’ link to nature is evident in the title. “CANOPY 18 Burning” by Australian artist Anna Brown refers to the ferocity of bush fires. Bush fires are a widespread and regular occurrence in the country, but the fires during the summer of 2019-20 were unprecedented in scale and intensity.

Pittsburgh artist Petra Fallaux’s piece “Shore Lines” is a meditation on coastal shores fading from climate change. You can see the intense color of the fabrics fade as you look from left to right on her art quilt.

Other artists offer a more upbeat message. Missouri artist Jean Howard uses textile art to express her appreciation of nature, and that’s clear to see in her 2022 piece “Botanicals 13: Pods” that bursts with bright green pea pods. “My life on 50 acres of woods, fields, and gardens provides me with endless inspiration and joy to return to my studio daily,” she said in her artist’s statement.

In the case of Delaware artist Judy Kirpich, it is nature itself that can be been in her work. Her visit to Iceland last summer so moved her that she has made her first foray into representational work.

“The incredible landscape, filled with glaciers, waterfalls, lava fields, and basalt columns, was the impetus for this series,” she said in her artist’s statement. “I have never seen green with the same intensity as in Iceland. The vernacular architecture, from crumbling out buildings and turf houses to stark village churches, captivated me.”

Visitors can see Kirpich’s interpretation of Iceland in two pieces in “Quilts=Art=Quilts,” “Iceland No. 1’ and “Iceland No. 2.”

“Quilts=Art=Quilts” opens at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, with a two-hour reception. Executive Director Donna Lamb will lead a tour with artists explaining their works at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023. The exhibition runs through Jan. 7, 2024.

On four Sundays during the run of the show, quilt artists will be giving talks about and displaying their works at the Schweinfurth. All shows are at 2 p.m. and are free with admission:

  • Nov. 5: Susan Byrnes, QAQ exhibiting artist
  • Nov. 19: Sankofa Piecemakers
  • Dec. 3: Imani Russell, quilt artist
  • Dec.. 10: Jeanne Marklin, QAQ exhibiting artist

Also during the exhibit, visitors can purchase raffle tickets to win small quilts made by artists participating in “Quilts=Art=Quilts.” Tickets cost $3 each, two for $5, or five for $10 and can be purchased at the Schweinfurth’s front desk. Winning tickets will be drawn on Jan. 8, 2024.

Admission is $10 per person, with Schweinfurth members, participating artists, and children 12 and under free. A joint admission ticket with Cayuga Museum of History & Art costs $15 and includes exhibits on historic quilts and clothing throughout history.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Davis Family Trust, Finger Lakes Fiber Artists, Judy Sheridan Memorial Fund, Mary Spurrier, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

If you go …

WHAT: “Quilts=Art=Quilts” art quilt exhibition

WHEN: Oct. 28, 2023, through Jan. 7, 2024

WHERE: Schweinfurth Art Center, 205 Genesee St., Auburn

ALSO ON DISPLAY: “Off Script and Unexpected,” a solo exhibit by Rochester artist Lee Hoag

COST: $10 per person for Schweinfurth or $15 per person for Schweinfurth and Cayuga Museum

DETAILS: More information is available at

Participating Artists:

Mary Alexander of Hubbard, OH
Geneviève Attinger of Arradon, France
Cassandra Beaver of Urbana, OH
Polly Bech of Swarthmore, PA
Astrid Hilger Bennett of Iowa City, IA
Margaret Black of Boswell, PA
Arlinka Blair of Scottsville, NY
Barbara Blanchard of Mendenhall, PA
Sharon M. Bottle Souva of Syracuse, NY
Susan Braverman of San Antonio, TX
Allegra Brelsford of New York, NY
Jen Broemel of Indianapolis, IN
Anna Brown of Bungwahl, Australia
Susan Brubaker Knapp of Chapel Hill, NC
Betty Busby of Albuquerque, NM
Susan Byrnes of Gallatin, NY
Lisa Call of Paraparaumu, New Zealand
Susan Callahan of Frankford, DE
Jennifer Candon of Harvard, MA
Katie Chester of Charlottesville, VA
Shin-hee Chin of McPherson, KS
Carson Converse of Shelburne Falls, MA
Barbara Danzi of New York, NY
Marcia DeCamp of Palmyra, NY
Wanda Dotson of Colonial Heights, VA
Kim Eichler-Messmer of Kansas City, KS
Audrey Esarey of Louisville, KY
Petra Fallaux of Pittsburgh, PA
Ann Feitelson of Montague, MA
Victoria Findlay Wolfe of East Hampton, NY
Dianne Firth of Turner, Australia
Jennifer Fons of Dublin, OH
Melissa Frumin of West Newton, MA
Emma Goldstein of Philadelphia, PA
Debbie Grifka of Ann Arbor, MI
Cindy Grisdela of Reston, VA
Michele Hardy of Silverthorne, CO
Rosemary Hoffenberg of Wrentham, MA
Judy Hooworth of Morisset, Australia
Jean Howard of Auxvasse, MO
Leslie Tucker Jenison of San Antonio, TX
Heather Kinion of Chicago, IL
Judy Kirpich of Lewes, DE
Lauren Klementz-Harte of Moorpark, CA
Susan Lapham of Vienna, VA
Michelle Lipson of Garrett Park, MD
Pamela Loewen of Williamston, MI
Niraja Lorenz of Eugene, OR
Paola Machetta of Trieste, Italy
Jeanne Marklin of Williamstown, MA
Judith Martin of Sheguiandah, Canada
Diane Melms of Anchorage, AK
Suzan Ann Morgan of Buckhannon, WV
Carolyn Murphy of Toronto, Canada
Lela O’Dell of Oklahoma City, OK
Carolina Oneto of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Laurie Paquin of Lansdowne, Canada
Pat Pauly of Rochester, NY
Julie Reuben of Cambridge, MA
Ann Ribbens of Berlin, MA
Denise Roberts of Albright, WV
Michael Ross of New Hope, PA
Karen Schulz of Silver Spring, MD
Kelly Spell of Hixson, TN
Janet Swigler of Columbia, SC
Dale Tomlinson of Toronto, Canada
Abigail Vargas of Winters, CA
Vickie Wheatley of Louisville, KY
Jessica Wheelahan of East Lindfield, Australia