In 1995, after three years of making abstract geometric quilts, I began designing radically different pictorial quilts.  My inspiration for these fabric portraits came from my everyday life, which, since I lived in the city of Chicago at that time, consisted mainly of my apartment, office and city architecture. 

 In the winter of 1997-98, my husband and I bought our first house in the far suburbs of Chicago.  Because we bought out house during the winter, we had no idea of the beautiful gardens that were lying dormant in our yard, waiting to surprise us in the spring.  The profusion of daffodils, crocus, and tulips that erupted in the spring renewed my enthusiasm for my work.  That year, after ten years of living in the city, I became reacquainted with the joys of having a yard, flowers, birds, and wildlife.  Since this time, most of the quilts I have made have been my interpretation of the joy and beauty of nature. 

The unlimited colors of flowers, the patterns of butterflies, and the textures of leaves have not ceased to amaze and delight me.  I hope to continue to draw on the vast and wonderful resource of nature, which has moved artists for centuries, and continues to supply an unlimited palette of colors, textures, and ideas.


82" X 82"

2001:  Hand dyed fabric, collaged, quilted.

Poppies are one of the happiest of flowers.  This quilt is based on photographs I took of a neighbor’s poppy garden, which I have admired for years.

First Place Applique, AQS Show, 2001.

See detail.

Another detail.



45" X 43"

2001:  Hand dyed fabric, collaged, quilted.

This quilt was commissioned by the St. Charles Art and Music Festival for the 2001 festival.  It is in the permanent collection of the Art and Music Festival.

I wanted to capture the feeling of a garden “symphony”.  I chose the  daylily as my subject, one that would represent an Illinois garden during the peak of summer. 

See detail.



82" X 63"

1998:  Hand dyed and commercial fabric, collaged, quilted.

My husband and I bought our first house during the winter, so we were unaware of the wonderful gardens planted by the previous owners.  Spring was full of surprises, as hundreds of green shoots popped their heads through the snow.  

The profusion of tulips, combined with the happiness I was feeling in my new home, set the stage for a new burst of design inspiration.

See detail.     See larger image.



69" X 54"

1998:  Hand dyed and commercial fabric, collaged, quilted.

This quilt is based on a photograph I took at the Chicago Botanical Gardens, while celebrating my husband's grandmother's eighty-seventh birthday.

See detail.     See larger image.



79" X 56"

2000:  Hand dyed fabric, collaged, quilted.

During a trip to London in the fall of 1998, I fell in love with the tapestry room at the V & A Museum.  Ever since, I have dedicated myself to producing large, tapestry-like works.  This is the third quilt based on butterfly images.  I find the graceful patterning of the Monarch Butterfly’s wings very beautiful.

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58" x 58"

1998:  Hand dyed fabric, collaged, quilted.

Since childhood, I have been fascinated with pattern.  It is very likely that my love for patterns of all kinds was partly responsible for my interest in quilt making, even though I no longer use the same geometric patterns that traditional quilters use.  Nature is a vast source of pattern and design inspiration, and butterflies have some of the most beautiful, delicate patterns in nature.

See detail.



31" X 27"

1999:  Hand dyed fabric, collaged, quilted.

This little Brown-Eyed Susan, with petals delicately reaching up toward the sunshine, struck a beautiful pose for me.  I felt obligated to capture it in a quilt.

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All images on this page © Emily Parson 2001.  May not be reproduced without permission. 

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