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Chaos and Calm

Debbie Grifka


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Chaos and Calm

Much of my work is about the tension between drama and serenity. Stitching this piece during the COVID pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests, the juxtaposition of chaos and calm was never clearer. I was fairly safe in my own bubble at home, stitching my thoughts into this work, while so many others around me were not safe at all. After finishing the hand appliqué of the shapes, I began quilting the background with my favorite calming, straight, horizontal lines. But some chaos was needed as well and the seed stitch inside the shapes was just right. A little of the calm seeps into the shapes and a little of the chaos escapes them. Creating this piece kept me calm while I thought about what I could do to make others safer.

60"H × 60"W × 0.25"D
Wall Hangings
Cotton fabric, thread, batting


Walking into a fabric store as a child, I would run my hand over all the bolts of fabric as I passed them. That love of texture has never left me. Over time I have expressed that love as a garment maker, then a quilter, and now as a textile artist. I'm never happier or more at peace than when I'm creating and stitching. My current work explores the intersection of drama and serenity through the use of line. I'm fascinated by trying to find out how much I can distill and take away while continuing to convey the essence of my subject or idea. I often work in black and white which further assists in keeping the focus on line.

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