Living Quilt for Steckborn installed in Switzerland

Living Quilt for Steckborn was installed on April 17, 2021, in Steckborn, Switzerland, with many people attending the outdoor ceremony held at the site on the shores of Lake Constance. This public art installation was coordinated with the art center in Steckborn, Haus zur Glocke, and curator Judit Villiger. The public artwork was jointly sponsored by Haus zur Glocke and the city of Steckborn. It was a windy and cold day when the installation was done at 5PM on April 17 in Steckborn, but we hope the wildflower seeds in this handmade paper “living quilt” will sprout in the coming weeks as the days get warmer. Hopefully, many wildflowers in the same colors and pattern will appear in the “bed” in a few months.

Here are a few photos by photographer Kaspar Schweizer at the installation ceremony held with public participation and speeches by curator Judit Villiger and a Steckborn City Council member. Many people helped to lay down the 25 handmade paper squares of the quilt that was created by me in my Santa Rosa studio and mailed to Switzerland. The quilt design is in a traditional American quilt pattern called “Peaks and Valleys” or “Delectable Mountains” and was one in common use during the time of pioneers traveling to settle the Western part of the U.S. and going over many mountains and valleys to reach their new homes. This pattern also refers to the landscape of Switzerland, since in Steckborn you can see the peaks of high mountains in the distance. This pattern also reminds us of the peaks and valleys of our lives during this pandemic time and expresses hopes for a better future. We can watch the regenerative power of nature as the seeds in the handmade paper pulp go into the soil on the prepared bed and sprout and grow into a blooming flower bed. Keep watching this Blog for more photos as the “Living Quilt for Steckborn” begins to transform.

Haus zur Glocke curator Judit Villiger distributes the handmade paper blocks for Living Quilt for Steckborn to be installed on the prepared bed at Steckborn, Switzerland, on April 14, 2021. (photo by Kaspar Schweizer)
Beginning to lay down the borders for the installation in Steckborn, Switzerland. (photo by Kaspar Schweizer)
Staking down the handmade paper quilt blocks. (photo by Kaspar Schweizer)
One row of quilt blocks laid down and staked for “Living Quilt for Steckborn” installation. (photo by Kaspar Schweizer)
Watering the handmade paper quilt with seeds for wildflowers in the pulp to start the growing process. (photo by Kaspar Schweizer)
Putting a biodegradable stake made with a wooden skewer and a wine cork into one of the center blocks of “Living Quilt for Steckborn”. (photo by Kaspar Schweizer)
“Living Quilt for Steckborn” installed at the site on the shores of Lake Constance in Steckborn, Switzerland, on April 14, 2021. I attended the installation ceremony via a FaceTime phone call since it was not possible to travel to Switzerland during this pandemic time. Thanks to all for doing such a great job installing this artwork! (photo by Kaspar Schweizer)

I also have two of my handmade paper artworks at Haus zur Glocke gallery in their current indoor gallery exhibition “Opening the Atlas” which consists of indoor artworks by me and two other Swiss artists, Hannes Brunner, Berlin/Zürich and Claudia Schmid, Zürich. Check out the website at http://www.hauszurglocke.ch for more information in German about this exhibition and the Haus zur Glocke art center in Steckborn, Switzerland. My works in the current Haus Zur Glocke exhibition titled “Opening the Atlas” include “Daily Scrolls” created in 2020 as a response to the global pandemic. It contains rolled handmade paper scrolls with daily drawings and writings on them, and viewers are invited to take out a scroll, look at it, add something of their own to it and then return it to the wire recycled grid. The show also contains one of my handmade paper quilts “Sitka Paper Quilt 1” that I made during my 2014 artist in residency at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in Otis, Oregon. The paper quilts were started after seeing many “hex” signs in traditional quilt patterns painted on barns in that part of Oregon. Here are photos of those two works that are in the “Seeing the Atlas” exhibition in Steckborn at Haus zur Glocke.

“Daily Scrolls”2020 by Jane Ingram Allen, photo by Timothy S. Allen
Sitka Paper Quilt 1, 2014, by Jane Ingram Allen, photo by Timothy S. Allen

I will be posting other photos of “Living Quilt for Steckborn” as I receive them from people in Steckborn. There is also a box at the site of the “bed” installation for people in Steckborn to leave their wishes for a better 2021, and we will post some of those as they start to come in.

“Living Quilt for Steckborn” to be installed in Switzerland in April

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Living Quilt for Steckborn laid out in my living room in Santa Rosa before shipping to Switzerland

I have finished making the “Living Quilt for Steckborn” artwork, and it will be installed April 15, 2021, in Steckborn, Switzerland, at a public park near the shores of Lake Constance. This project is with Haus zur Glocke, an art center in Steckborn, and some of my artworks will also be displayed at their indoor gallery in downtown Steckborn from April 17 to May 2, 2021, as part of their exhibition titled “Opening the Atlas”. The indoor show will include my “Daily Scrolls” installation of 91 handmade paper scrolls created during the first 91 days of Covid 19 quarantine here in Santa Rosa, and also one of my indoor handmade paper quilts created as an artist in residence in 2014 at Sitka Center for Art & Ecology in Oregon. It is great to have my outdoor public art installation and these indoor pieces included in the Haus zur Glocke art programs in Switzerland.

Sitka Blue/Green Quilt, 2014, handmade paper, dye, thread, 45″ x 70″
Daily Scrolls, 2020, handmade paper, text, drawing, painting, 14″ x 14″ x 4″

Since I am not able to travel to Switzerland due to pandemic restrictions, my outdoor public artwork “Living Quilt for Steckborn” will be installed by Haus zur Glocke in a pubic ceremony, and it will remain on view to transform into a living blooming bed of wildflowers after several months. The “quilt” is made with handmade paper pulp dyed with non-toxic dyes, and the pulp contains seeds for wildflowers in the same colors and pattern. Over time the paper pulp will dissolve into mulch, and the seeds will sprout and bloom producing a “living quilt”. The previous post on this Blog tells about how I made this artwork in my Santa Rosa studio. Here is a link to a video showing my process and telling more about my design for this “quilt”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdlRSswGpD0&t=67s

I will post more photos here soon of the quilt being installed in Switzerland and the indoor exhibition. Happy Spring!

Video of Making the Living Quilt for Steckborn

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Here is a link to a video on YouTube that shows how I am creating the Living Quilt for Steckborn in my Santa Rosa, CA, studio.

This artwork will be installed in April 2021 in a public park in Steckborn, Switzerland. I was invited to create this outdoor environmental art installation by Haus zur Glocke (https://www.hauszurglocke.ch/home/) Living Quilt for Steckborn is a handmade paper quilt that has seeds for wildflowers in the pulp to grow and change over time into a living flower bed. The quilt pattern I am using for this installation is based on a traditional American quilt pattern called “Delectable Mountains” or “Peaks and Valleys”. This design recalls the journey of American pioneers across the beautiful and sometimes dangerous mountains as they traveled West in wagon trains to settle in the West. The design with tall mountains also refers to the mountains of Switzerland visible from the town of Steckborn, on the shores of Lake Constance in the northeastern part of Switzerland.

I will be making this quilt for the next few weeks and also deciding if it is possible to travel to Switzerland to install it and make a headboard and footboard for the “bed” in the park in Steckborn. If travel is not possible because of the pandemic and quarantines, I will mail the “living quilt” to Haus zur Glocke in Steckborn, Switzerland, and provide instructions for its installation. Keep watching my Blog to see updates on the progress of making the “quilt” and its installation in Switzerland.

This photo shows me making the handmade paper quilt for Steckborn in my studio. Also, here is a photo of some of the completed blocks hanging on a clothesline to dry.

Photos of my art projects are by my husband Timothy S. Allen, and you can see many of his photographs on his Blog at https://allentimphotos2.wordpress.com

Announcing New Art Project in Switzerland

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I am happy to announce that I have been invited to create a “living quilt” art installation in Steckborn, Switzerland, in April 2021. This art project is with Haus zur Glovke, an alternative art center in Steckborn, a small town located on Lake Constance in the northeastern part of Switzerland. Haus zur Glocke Curator Judit Villager included some of my handmade paper “Site Maps” in an exhibition last November at Haus zur Glocke, and she learned about my current series of “living quilts”. outdoor public art installations with a handmade paper quilt having seeds for wildflowers in the pulp to grow and bloom over time and become a living artwork. Judit has invited me to create a Living Quilt for Steckborn that will be installed in a public park. I first met Judit when I selected her as an artist for an outdoor sculpture exhibition I curated in Taiwan in 2007. I am hoping to be able to travel to Switzerland this April to see Judit again and to install the handmade paper quilt and create a headboard and footboard for the “bed” in Steckborn. This all depends on how it goes with the virus and travel restrictions. If travel is not possible, I will be mailing the handmade paper quilt with seeds in the pulp to Steckborn with installation instructions, and then I will participate virtually from here in Santa Rosa, California.

I will be posting on this Blog links to videos from my Santa Rosa studio showing how the quilt is being made and how it will be put together to cover an outdoor flower bed about 8 feet x 10 feet (244 cm x 305 cm). The design for “Living Quilt for Steckborn” is based on a traditional pattern sometimes called “Delectable Mountains” or “Peaks and Valleys”. This is a traditional American quilt pattern that has connections to the perilous journeys of pioneers across the mountains of North America to settle in the new parts of the country. I also wanted to reference the mountain peaks visible in the distance around Lake Constance and also to recall the peaks and valleys we have all experienced in 2020 with the pandemic and Covid 19. For the Steckborn installation I will make a handmade paper quilt with seeds for wildflowers in the pulp in the same colors and pattern. I am making the handmade paper “quilt” here in my Santa Rosa studio and plan to share videos of my process and progress on the “quilt” for people in Steckborn and around the world. I have selected seeds for wildflowers that are common in America and Switzerland for this “living quilt”. After the quilt is installed in Steckborn, the handmade paper will dissolve into mulch to nourish the earth, and the seeds will sprout and grow into a living, blooming artwork in several months. The quilt will be installed in April in a Steckborn park, and the seeds should start to sprout and grow in several weeks and bloom all Spring and Summer. I hope that watching the seeds sprout and wildflowers start to grow and bloom will provide joy and hope for a better 2021.

Here is an image I found on the internet of a traditional quilts in the “Delectable Mountains” or “Peaks and Valleys” pattern.

a traditional quilt made with the “Delectable Mountains” pattern

Here is a sketch of my design for “Living Quilt for Steckborn” and it will be in blue, yellow, red and white handmade paper with seeds for wildflowers in those same colors in the pulp.

sketch for Living Quilt for Steckborn by Jane Ingram Allen

I am using stencils on my 8.5″ x 11″ papermaking molds to create this pattern and join the pieces of paper with natural cotton string put between the layers…this means I have to do 8 pieces of paper for each of these units that are about 17″ wide and 22 inches long. My “quilt” will also have a 5″ border around the outside of the whole quilt.

Keep watching this Blog to see more photos of the Steckborn “quilt” in progress and also some links to videos that I will post on YouTube to show me creating it in my Santa Rosa, California studio. This is one unit of the quilt made and dried, and I will make 25 of these!

one block of the Living Quilt for Steckborn completed

Making Paper for the “Redwood Violin” and “Living Quilt for Santa Rosa” Blooming Again

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This week I have been creating some special handmade paper as part of the Redwood Violin Project of violin-maker Andrew Carruthers.  Here is a link for more information about this project: https://theredwoodviolin.org/?fbclid=IwAR1TGwwFFMYxqF6Hb5x7JkDzoNVvSZBhlvFg2xszjUfKAAP52vefaz6SOWM

Andrew Carruthers (https://www.andrewcarruthers.com ) is creating a new violin that will celebrate Sonoma County and be made with local materials and the help of local artists and craftspeople.  I was asked to create some locally-sourced handmade paper for the label that will go inside the redwood violin, made of redwood and apple wood and other materials also sourced locally.  Andrew visited my studio in Santa Rosa, CA, yesterday, and I showed him my papermaking process using some mulberry bark paper pulp that I had prepared using the bark from trimmed branches of the fruitless mulberry tree in my front yard.  

Here’s a photo of my mulberry tree taken last summer and also a photo showing me stripping bark off the mulberry tree branches to cook, beat and prepare for hand papermaking.  The bark of mulberry trees is used all over the world for papermaking, and it produces a strong paper in an off-white color.  Local calligrapher Sherrie Lovier (https://www.inkmonkey.com/pages/bio.html) will do the lettering on my handmade paper for this special label.  It is great to be a part of this exciting project.  This unique violin made locally with local materials will be featured in concerts next month that will be uploaded for virtual listening.  You can also see videos of the process of creating this violin on the website: https://theredwoodiolin.org

Mulberry tree in my front yard in Santa Rosa, California
Peeling mulberry bark for papermaking

Also, this week it is great to see that my art installation “Living Quilt for Santa Rosa,” is beginning to bloom again for the third season at Rincon Ridge Park in Santa Rosa, CA.  This artwork was a public artwork supported by a grant from the City of Santa Rosa, and it was created with community participation as a response to the devastating October 2017 wildfires in Santa Rosa, CA.  “Living Quilt for Santa Rosa” was installed on Nov. 21, 2018, and it consisted of a raised bed with a handwoven headboard and footboard made of local branches and a handmade paper quilt that I made in the “flying geese” pattern with seeds for wildflowers in the pulp. Over time the handmade paper dissolved as mulch, and the wildflowers grew.  The “quilt” has bloomed with colorful wildflowers each spring, and promises to continue.  I recently repaired the footboard which had blown over during the last severe windstorms we had in northern California.  In a few more weeks we should also see California golden poppies and other wildflowers blooming at this site.  

“Living Quilt for Santa Rosa” on Jan 30, 2021, it’s third season

This photo shows the artwork as it appeared at the installation ceremony in November 2018.  Rincon Ridge Park is a small city park at Rincon Ridge Drive, in the Fountaingrove area of Santa Rosa, CA.  Parks are open now for public viewing with masks and social distancing, so come out and enjoy the wildflowers.  

“Living Quilt for Santa Rosa” at installation ceremony with volunteers on Nov 21, 2018

“Living Quilt” in Sacramento Survives recent California Storm

I am happy to report that my art installation “Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth” at Sojourner Truth Community Garden in Sacramento has survived the recent storm last week that caused power outages, lots of rain, high winds and even mudslides and highway damages in northern California. Friends in Sacramento sent me photos to show the “bed” still in place and the sprouting wildflowers continuing to grow. More snow in higher elevations and more rain is expected this week. We will be waiting to see some blooming wildflowers here when the weather gets warmer and Spring arrives. Here is a photo taken on January 27 after the high winds and heavy rains in Sacramento by Bill Maynard of the Sacramento Parks Department.

This photo was taken by Corky Gas on January 29 and shows that the handmade paper has almost all disappeared with the rain and weather, and the wildflower seeds have sprouted and are continuing to grow. Corky lives near the Sojourner Truth Community Garden and wrote about this art project for the Sacramento News & Review publication. It is great to have these photos to document the progress of the transforming art installation.

Sprouting Seeds in 2021 – Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth art installation in Sacramento, CA

Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth installed on Nov. 21, 2020

Seeds are sprouting already in my most recent “living quilt” public art installation in Sacramento at Sojourner Truth Community Garden in Sacramento, CA. “Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth” has seeds for wildflowers in the same colors and pattern as the handmade paper quilt, and it is transforming into a living blooming bed of wildflowers.

This photo was taken by Bill Maynard on January 4, 2021, and the “quilt” is turning green as the wildflower seedlings begin to grow. I will continue to post photos of this art installation as it changes over time, and we hope to see a blooming wildflower bed sometime in late March 2021.

This art project was part of the City of Sacramento’s Office of Arts & Culture 2020 Artist-in-Residency Program, and previous posts on this Blog give more information and more photos about the creation and installation.

Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth on January 4, 2021.

Here is a link to another article about the installation of “Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth” in the January 2021 INSIDE SACRAMENTO: https://insidesacramento.com/pocket-life-january-2021/

Happy Holidays and Updates on Art Projects

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On this day of the Winter Solstice I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season! It is the longest day of the year, and this year the date is especially special since Jupiter and Saturn are aligned and appear in the southwestern sky as almost one big star! I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy and happy to be hopefully coming out of this pandemic year and into a better future in 2021.

My art projects have mostly been on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic, but I did complete the installation of “Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth” in Sacramento at Sojourner Truth Community Garden. This public art work consisting of a handmade paper quilt with wildflower seeds in the pulp was installed on Nov. 21, and it is already beginning to transform with the seeds sprouting and growing. We hope to see a bed of blooming flowers in early Spring. These photos show the “quilt” when installed on Nov. 21 and also how it looked on Dec. 16. Thanks to Bill Maynard, Sacramento Parks Supervisor for taking this photo to show the changes.

Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth on 11/21/2020
Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth on 12/16/2020

I am planning to teach papermaking art workshops this summer at various organizations around the US. One workshop will be at Sierra Nevada University, Incline Village, NV.

I am also invited to teach a workshop at Pacific Northwest Art School in Washington State https://pacificnorthwestartschool.org/product/ingram-allen-jane-6154-paper-making-from-scratch-with-local-plants-anytime-anywhere-july-13-16-2021/) and at Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, Otis, Oregon (www.sitkacenter.org). Keep watching this Blog for updates about the workshops. I am also planning to do some private workshops at my Santa Rosa studio in the coming year. It all depends on how things go with the vaccine and the pandemic outlook.

I also hope to travel later in 2021 to France (Cour Commune, Voulx, France) and to Switzerland (Haus zur Glocke, Steckborn, Switzerland) for artist in residency projects.

Happy Holidays to All! These stars bring hope for a better 2021. The installation is on 4th Street in downtown Santa Rosa, CA, through January 2021.

Stars of Hope Installation in Santa Rosa, CA


“Stars of Hope”
an art installation by Jane Ingram Allen
at 620 4th Street, Santa Rosa, California
Installed on November 25, 2020

“Stars of Hope” is part of the Downtown Chamber’s “Open and Out” series of 2020 art and cultural activities in downtown Santa Rosa. In this time of a pandemic and an economic downturn, these stars of colorful handmade paper with seeds for wildflowers in them express hope for a brighter future in 2021. After the installation comes down in early 2021, these stars will be given out to residents to plant in their own yard or keep as a remembrance of this time and our hopes for a better world.

There are so many things we hope for as we approach the holiday season and the end of 2020 and start of 2021. We hope for an end to the pandemic and a cure or a vaccine for the Coronavirus that is still affecting us all around the world. We hope for more economic opportunities and a fairer distribution of wealth and good jobs for everyone. We hope for a better environment and a positive response to climate change and other issues affecting our relationship with the earth. We hope for a better understanding and a coming together for our country and a renewal of our commitment to the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people. We can wish upon these “Stars of Hope” and work together for a better 2021.
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sutter Health in Santa Rosa liked the idea of this art installation and agreed to sponsor it for the Chamber’s “Winter Lights” public artworks this season. Words of hope by Sutter employees are included in signage for this installation.
This photo by Timothy S. Allen shows the installation with twinkling lights bringing light to the downtown area.

More Photos of the installation of Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth in Sacramento, CA

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My art installation “Living Quilt for Sojourner Truth” was installed at Sojourner Truth Community Garden, 7365 Gloria Drive, Sacramento, CA, on Saturday, Nov. 21, with community participation. I created the “quilt” in the North Star pattern to honor the legacy of Sojourner Truth, a former slave who was a famous spokesperson for the Abolitionist Movement and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. The North Star has been used for centuries as a guiding light for travelers, and legend has it that the North Star quilt was one used during the time of the Underground Railroad to show escaping slaves the direction north to freedom. The “quilt” is created with handmade paper having seeds for wildflowers in the pulp in the same colors and patterns, and over time it will transform into a living blooming bed of wildflowers. The “bed” also has a headboard and footboard woven of trimmed mulberry branches and local grapevines. This project was part of the City of Sacramento’s 2020 Artist in Residency program. The installation ceremony at 2 pm on Nov. 21 was held outdoors in the community garden area with community people attending and helping to lay down the 20 quilt squares.
These photos were taken by my husband Timothy S. Allen at the ceremony. Check back here often for updated photos to show the transformation of the “quilt” over time.