This quilt, "Into Matter" (from the Parallel Worlds series) , was a tricky one and required a lot of testing out of different ideas and materials. I generally knew the direction, but not quite how to achieve it. Therefore, I have many process photos so that I could carefully track where I was going. Photos are very helpful because they are the best way to be able to step back and get an overall view of your project.

At the top of the artwork you can see little spots of white. These are scraps of paper which I have not completely removed. Since it is difficult to draw directly on cloth because it shifts around, for this and other series, I would draw onto tracing paper, pin it to the quilt where needed, and quilt through the paper. Then I would tear it away. Sometimes this was easy, sometimes painstaking, simply depending on the amount of lines and space between them. Here I also tested out having a different base at the bottom of the cube.

In this slideshow, you can see how I began to build up the pillar within the cube with wool, then add thread snippets and then finally stitch the cube walls. You can also see how the quilt gets progressively more rippled as I add more stitching. This is generally not great because it makes it more difficult to work with as I go outwards from the center.

In the end, I settled on the idea of the flowing flames of fire to contrast with the icy, rigid crystals on top. Here I'm building up the flames in layers.

With some added hand-embroidery around the cube and other features, and quilting in the background, this piece is coming to a close. All that's still needed is to give it a good stretching so that hopefully it will lay flat. The amount and density of quilting in different areas has a direct impact on how flat you can get your quilt to lay. The more even the density throughout the quilt, the better. The more variety in density, the more likely the quilt is going to ripple a little.

Completed work-


This work was featured in Patchwork Professional March 2020.

This work is in a private collection, but other work from this series is available for purchase from Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery.

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Initial sketch of "Full Circle" (from the Parallel Worlds series) .

These 2 images show the subtle stitching which I did on the quilt to guide me as I added the main elements. If you look closely, you can see the cube and tunnel wrapping around it.

Now I'm just at the beginning of the problem-solving stage. I have quilted the background, including wisps of wool and silk fibers. I have also loosely stitched on the back side of the cube which will contain the main elements of the work. Because these elements will be "inside" the cube, it required 2 layers. The scary part about this idea of 2 layers, is that I had to be 100% certain that I had finished and included everything I needed inside before I effectively closed it off for good. Once I stitched on the top or "outer" layer, there was no going back. I have already done the initial stitching for the tunnel and was in the process of testing out different colors for the circle. If I remember correctly, I ended up using these colors but added an additional layer of color on top to tone it down.

The "passable wall" of the cube has been stitched with fibers to look foggy and the circle has been stitched down with it's additional colors. The image is beginning to get built up.

After including all of the figures, created by forming wet silk with a mixture of water and soluble film, I am now doing the finishing stitching around the tunnel. I had to cut away the green silk to give the impression of the tunnel exiting through the top of the cube. These edges needed to be reinforced.

The other tunnel is getting finished in this photo, including wispy silk fibers and glass beads. I don't remember why the pins are sitting there.

The cube was finished up with some soft hand-stitching (machine quilting would have looked too harsh and obvious) and many other parts were finished up with hand embroidery to accentuate the lines.

This work was featured in Patchwork Professional March 2020.

This work is in a private collection, but other works from this series are available for purchase from Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery.

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Follow the creation of this piece, Navigating a Broken World, featured at the Textile Museum in Washington D.C. for the exhibition, "Stories of Migration" in 2016.

Shea Wilkinson- Dymaxion Map
Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Map

I began by plotting out the triangles and hand stitching them. Then I continued by hand-embroidering all of the continents and their features. The brown spots are like little stars and the red spots are knots.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

After embroidering all the land masses, I painstakingly machine quilted all of the oceans using my sewing machine. I rigged a special hanger from the ceiling using a hook and bungy cord. This helped support the massive weight, making it much easier to fluently move the quilt without too much strain.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

Here it is flat, all quilting completed.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

Now the piece is quilted, but before cutting it out of the surrounding material, I wanted to test that it would actually work out. Therefore I pinned along the lines to see the quilt begin to take shape.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

Once cut out, I created further support by sewing together a thick felt object with the same dimensions. Then I hand-stitched the piece to this felt.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

I still wasn't sure ultimately what form I wanted, circular or opened up and spread out. Here I've tested it as a globe.

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

Shea Wilkinson Navigating a New World dymaxion map

If you're interested in purchasing this work, visit Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery at

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