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Quilts feature county birds in new exhibit

VISTA — A colorful exhibit of intricately stitched art quilts is on display at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe Gallery through Aug. 4. The exhibit’s focal point is a collective display of more than a dozen small art quilts that feature San Diego County birds.

Art quilts are distinctly different from folk art quilts. They are made to be hung and viewed as artwork and usually have detailed designs.

“Fabric is a different medium than paint,” Jill Le Croissette, quilt artist and Free Spirits Art Quilt Group member, said. “We live with fabric all the time. When we come into the world we’re put in a blanket. For an event we buy special clothing. An artist can say it took all my life to make the quilt.”

The Rancho Buena Vista Adobe Gallery will show the Birds of a Feather exhibit through Aug. 4, including the Pelican detail (above) from the Free Spirits Art Quilt Group. Photo by Promise Yee

Art quilts on display are made by Free Spirits Art Quilt Group members. The group began in 2004. Members meet monthly to share their work and discuss quilting techniques. The group shows quilts regularly at galleries throughout San Diego County.

“Most of us have been quilting for quite a while,” Le Croissette said. “We are an informal group. We don’t have officers or dues. We are free spirits. We’re very friendly people who want to share our knowledge with each other.”

The Birds of a Feather exhibit was taken on as the yearly group challenge. Group members selected the theme of San Diego County birds in January. Each quilt artist had until July to design and complete a quilt.

Quilt designs range from elaborate embellishment to simple abstract shapes. Some include extensive stitching and others incorporate digital photo transfers.

A variety of hand-dyed fabric and textiles are used in the quilts.

There are also six woven textile baskets on display as well as 28 additional quilts made by group members. Each piece of artwork is a personal expression of the artist.

“I hope people will appreciate that you can do a lot with fabric,” Le Croissette said. “It’s a very tactile medium. It’s always warm even if you’re displaying an unpleasant theme.”

The Rancho Buena Vista Adobe Gallery is located at 640 Alta Vista Drive.