Flying Cadet, 1943

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Flying Cadet, 1943
67 in
67 in
(170 cm x 170 cm)
Photo Credit
D. James Dee
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I set out to make a portrait quilt of each member of my family and started with this portrait of my father-in-law, from a photograph of him taken when he was a young member of the U.S. Army Air Corps and at the high point of his military service.

For the portrait section, unprimed artist's canvas was stretched and painted by hand like a typical oil portrait would be, but with fabric paint, then unmounted, heat-set and sewn as any other fabric in the quilt. The painting is the only section of the quilt that is actually "quilted" - three layers stitched together with thread. This was made at a time when the boundaries between "art" and "craft" were being blurred and I wanted to add to that debate.

The other sections of the quilt were made with a technique common to crazy quilts, sewn to a backing without batting.
The other images here are derived from vintage WWII "nose art": cartoon-style paintings from the front end, or nose, of military aircraft. Those were stenciled onto silk or other fabrics and then machine embroidered.

On the back, hand embroidery covers the raw edges.
Cotton, silk, synthetic blends, textile paint
Painted, stencil-printed, sewn (machine pieced, hand embroidered, machine embroidered), hand quilted (cross-stitch quilting)