With winter settling into the Midwest, we selected Witch-Hazel Jelena by Ruth B. McDowell as the International Quilt Study Center & Museum's January 2016 Quilt of the Month. McDowell’s love of nature plays a significant role in her art quilts. Witch Hazel-Jelena captures the beautiful resilience of this early-blooming shrub against the backdrop of a bleak winter day.
“While normal witch hazel has yellow flowers, Jelenas are coppery colored. Last February mine were just glorious blooming in the snow. I incorporated both the flowers, greatly enlarged, and the branches which have a wonderful shape.”
- Ruth B. McDowell
McDowell holds a degree in art and design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spent several years working as an illustrator before beginning her quilting career in 1972. Her first book, “Pattern on Pattern” was published in 1991, and she has since published several additional works.
Witch Hazel-Jelena currently appears in “Getting to Know You,” which is showing at Quilt House through February 6. During its run, some of our visitors have shared their impressions of the quilt. You can view their comments in this video: