Davis Arts Center begins the exhibition year with Amazing Mazes, a solo exhibit featuring quilts designed by Debbie Nichols Poulos. The show features 8 quilts that were created expressly for the exhibit. Amazing Mazes will open Wednesday, January 10, and close on Saturday, January 27, 2018. The Second Friday, ArtAbout! Reception is January 12, from 6 – 8pm. Debbie will be present at the free reception and all art lovers are encouraged to attend.
The initial inspiration for Debbie’s quilts come from the wide pallet of colors and patterns she finds in her extensive fabric collection. Over the past 5 years, she has made 10-20 quilts a year and has yet to purchase additional fabric reporting that her “stash is still ample.” From her stash Debbie selects what she terms her “focus fabric” (a piece of fabric that will serve as a visual keystone for the entire quilt). She then selects pairings of light and dark fabrics that are harmonious with the focus fabric. JoAnn Diel cuts the fabrics, and after several steps, 9.5” squares are constructed of 2 right-angled triangles (stitched on the diagonal), each triangle composed of 1 of the pairing fabrics. The process of combining different fabric pairings into squares will produce 4 to 9 unique sets of squares. The final step in the design process, and where the magic happens, Debbie calls “the quilt dance.” The first step in the dance, and one from which all the quilts in Amazing Mazes began, was to create a “hook” in the center of the design utilizing the focus fabric. Once the hook has been established, Debbie selects from the dark and light squares to create a maze of contrasting colors and patterns. It should be noted that Debbie has not used predetermined designs for this series – the designs only become apparent during the quilt dance. After the dance is complete, the squares are carefully collected, assembled, and quilted.
Debbie has always had an affinity for fabric. After completing 6th grade she took a Singer sewing class in the summer and, thereafter, started making most of her own clothing. Her quilting career began in 1999, when a teaching colleague at Patwin Elementary School started a quilt group. Her early quilts followed traditional patterns. Today, Debbie no longer has the ability to sew (she was diagnosed with ALS in 2006), and relies on a group of friends to assist with the tasks she can no longer perform since she has lost her mobility. She directs every aspect of the creation of the work, has an amazing eye for color and is a keen designer. The quilts in Amazing Mazes will indeed delight and surprise; but they will equally move you once you know the real amazing maze and life journey that lead to their creation.