“Indian Summer,” a quilt by Sally Eklund

One year in the late-1970s, Sally Eklund was shuttling back and forth between her residence near Boston and a series of meetings held at a local university in southeastern Massachusetts. This particular year the colors of the late October-early November foliage lining Route 140, the New England highway she used each way, were so brilliant and evocative that Eklund was inspired to create an original quilt entitled “Indian Summer.”*

"Indian Summer," a quilt by Sally Eklund

“Indian Summer,” a quilt by Sally Eklund

The Eisteddfod
The meetings were follow-up discussions concerning a music and crafts show, the Eisteddfod, held at UMass Dartmouth (then known as Southeastern Massachusetts University) each October between 1972 and 1996. Eklund and her husband Karl were actively involved, she selling hand-crafted quilts, clothing, and food items (as well as heading a crafts committee that year) and he as a musical performer at a festival that drew traditional musicians from across the country and around the world.

Eisteddfod Logo from SMU/UMass Dartmouth music and arts festival (http://www.lib.umassd.edu/archives/htga/smuumd-eisteddfod)

Eisteddfod Logo from SMU/UMass Dartmouth music and arts festival (http://www.lib.umassd.edu/archives/htga/smuumd-eisteddfod)

Procion Dyes
Coincidently, that summer Sally Eklund had been experimenting with Procion dye, a type of cold reactive dye chosen because it does not use the same harsh chemicals and heavy metals typically employed by alternatives. This makes it is easier to use at home than other dyes (in addition to being more environmentally friendly). Procion dyes are also known for retaining their color and are unique because they work best with natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk.

As part of the artistic process, Eklund dyed pieces of fabric, some solids and some irregulars. This allowed her to create a variety of colors using a number of different techniques. She explained:

“this enables you to work with the shapes and the colors, to see how they play against each other. For example, you place red next to green and yellow and the look is completely transformed if the same color is adjacent to blue and orange.”

Autumn foliage in Boston, Massachusetts (photo courtesy of www.FinancialAidPodcast.com / www.ChristopherSPenn.com)

Autumn foliage in Boston, Massachusetts (photo courtesy of http://www.FinancialAidPodcast.com / http://www.ChristopherSPenn.com)

Please note, since the last post, approximately 30 new quilts have been added to the galleries located in the upper left-hand corner, as well as one new category, Clothing and Accessories.

*For those unfamiliar with the term “Indian summer,” its etymology is disputed and the meaning can vary depending on location in the world or even within the United States. For a resident of New England, the term is generally agreed to refer to a period of unexpected warm, dry weather that occurs around late-September to the middle of November.

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