The importance of our local ecosystems is crucial, and creating an artistic connection to our communities yields sustainable quilts. Detroit-based artist Kayla Powers prioritizes a local natural connection in her work while living and working in an urban setting, creating what she calls “place-based fiber art.”
Trained as a horticulturist, Powers says she “works exclusively with locally foraged dye plants, positioning [her] work in a precise moment in time and place.” In her public art exhibition Local Color, Powers displayed a dozen seven-foot woven textiles outdoors, each dyed with local plants from Detroit.
Placing these works outdoors in their element was a remarkable decision for fragile objects that are most often displayed in the controlled environment of the museum, where they can be preserved. As she says, “Normally it’s like, ‘Don’t touch, the colors will fade, the fibers will start to fray.’ And so it was so fun to put it outside and just be like, it doesn’t matter; touch it, take a picture with it.”
By encasing fragments of nature like leaves, flowers, and seeds in her transparent quilts, and using naturally dyed materials, as she does in her quilt Self Preservation, Powers reminds us of the peace of place and the importance of noticing and preserving our natural surroundings.
Additional Quilt Information:
Materials Cotton, linen, bamboo, silk, wool, polyester, beeswax, bubblewrap, plastic, seeds, flowers, hair, plant dyes
Dimensions 61″ x 63.5″