image of quilt titled "The Greenhouse Effect" by Sally A. Sellers © 1994

Artist Statement: "The Greenhouse Effect" continues the series which makes use of the house image. In this instance, the individual unit is a reflection of the larger image, just as individual lives eventually create the position of a larger society. The universe, while not inherently hostile, operates on rules which are so numerous and complex that they translate as random forces. As one who has always embraced the illusion of control, I was shattered when I discovered firsthand how the element of chance can impact all of our lives. All my work is an attempt to be at peace with this uncomfortable realization by imposing a temporary order and comfort.

Materials & Techniques: Machine appliqué on canvas.

Artist Bio: I was born in Kansas, but grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a city dominated by the University. My favorite subjects in school were math, science, and writing. Nothing excited me more than having a project going, but since I couldn't draw accurately, I never considered myself an artist. However, there was unparalleled joy in making things, and I thought that being paid for doing so would be the best of all worlds. My quest was to find the vehicle to place me in that world.

I drifted among majors in college, finally graduating from Michigan State University in Horticulture, a fairly creative outlet that served me at the time, but about which I have subsequently forgotten everything. Research work in a physiology lab made me happier, so I did that for a while, writing fiction on the side. Although I published a couple of stories rather quickly, it all seemed too tenuous. I wanted a sure thing. I realized there was nothing surer than the on/off binary world of computers and embraced the world of programming and analysis. I was at my best when I designed new code, but this was the business world, and I was constantly being urged to work faster and to "stop making everything a work of art all the time".

Shortly after moving to the Northwest, my two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a devastating neurological condition. My faith in sure things, happy endings, and a fair universe was shattered. It was a horrible, desperate time: I was paralyzed with grief. My counselor insisted that I do something pleasurable in order to survive. I turned to the manipulation of color and form in quilts as a form of therapy.

I now know that this type of work is, as they say, what I was born to do. Creating textile art allows me the satisfaction of combining visual, analytical, and tactile needs. I have come to realize that this is where all the paths were leading all along. Whether this realization would have arrived had my daughter's illness not forced me into a new way of thinking is a question I often ask but cannot answer. I do know that all subsequent work has been an effort to be at peace with the terms of an unfair universe.

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