The only book about our national parks that Ruth and I own is by Donna DeSoto and is called Inspired by the National Parks. It’s subtitled Their Landscapes and Wildlife in Fabric Perspectives. That’s because Donna is a quilter who says she collects quilters while others collect quilts. Donna thanks her nephew, Frank Marcinkowski, for inspiring her with his passion for the national parks. There have been 2 serious quilters in our lives, Sue and Jo Anne.
Ruth loves to tell the story of Sue’s bug quilt. A never married woman from a large family, Sue had many nieces and nephews. She decided to make each of them a themed quilt for a major occasion. One niece aspired to become an entomologist, so Sue made a bug quilt for her. Collecting species was a challenge that Sue had to meet for authenticity. Luckily, she lived in Arkansas at the time. Sue also submitted each quilt for competition before presentation, so many were prize-winners. The bug quilt was one of these due to Sue’s skill and its unusual subject matter.
Donna DeSoto included the quiltworks of more than 120 avid quilters in her book about the National Parks (NP). At the time of its publication, there were 58 NP, and the quilts had to depict one of 3 aspects of our national parks by showing landscape, flora, or fauna. The quilted animals are especially spectacular. The quilters were allowed to choose their park too. Donna also interviewed many park rangers, park personnel, or volunteers for her book and reported what they had to say. She also included basic park information, which remains relevant. For example, for Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado, she reminds readers that it contains the Colorado River’s headwaters and the Continental Divide.
She includes 2 of her quilts among those shown. A resident of Virginia at the time of publication, Donna visited Mount Rainier NP in Washington and was dazzled by a field of lupines. She quilted them using a reverse applique technique and pieces of periwinkle, blue, purple, and green cloth. The other DeSoto quilt is called “Surf Smelt”. Donna aspired to become a ranger or volunteer at the time of publication in 2016. I wonder if she realized that dream?
PS All of the photos above were taken in national parks like Big Bend and Mount Rainier.