Dignity Quilt {American Travels Quilt Series}

In Chamberlain, South Dakota there is a sculpture of an indigenous woman that stands 50 ft. tall along Interstate 90. For years now I’ve wanted to “someday” see it in-person. She carries one of my favorite quilt designs, a Lone Star quilt, billowing behind her and she towers over the hills and the Missouri River. The pictures I had seen were amazing, but as with most places, the pictures can’t do it justice.

Hawke and I were almost to the end of our week when I realized that our path toward Omaha would take us directly by her. We had to stop.

The sculpture, Dignity of Earth and Sky, was built in 2016 by Dale Claude Lamphere and the Lone Star Quilt was created by David Claymore (Lakota). You can find out more about the sculpture here and here.

Dignity of Earth and Sky sculpture in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

With a backbone of steel and a kind yet determined face, the Lakota/Dakota woman manifests strength and I stared at her for a long while, awed by the beauty of her construction. The Lone Star quilt she carries makes it even more incredible. I’ve made a few and really love this style so to see it recreated in such enormous scale…it really struck me.

I made my own version of her quilt using Kona Cotton and Fragmental by Angela Walters; both are from Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

The right side of Fragmental had too much going on for my use, but I realized that the printing showed through–just enough–on the backside to do exactly what I wanted it to.

I was using fabrics in my stash, so of course I was about halfway through when I realized I didn’t have enough. And it’s an out-of-print fabric, of course. Special thanks to Patchwork Plus Inc for having another couple yards for me to buy.

The diamonds are 2 1/2″ strips of Kona cottons.

The Lone Star part was echo-quilted, then Hawke designed the quilting for the background fabric to mimic the feeling of movement in the Dignity sculpture’s quilt. I did all the quilting on my BabyLock Crescendo, with a little hand-stitching to come.

Dignity quilt

This quilt, of the current six, feels the most American to me. Maybe because it’s based on such a long-standing quilt design. Maybe because I was inspired by this sculpture of a Native American woman. Maybe because I’ve seen this design all over the country and over the decades. Whatever it is, it makes me smile and reminds me of how grateful I am to be here.

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  1. Pingback: American Travels quilt series – Teresa Coates

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