Salli McQuaid

216 Whistling Duck Rd.
Walla Walla, WA
99362 US


Artist Information for Salli McQuaid

The need to create art is an integral part of my being; it pervades every aspect of my life. Although I have worked in most media, there is a constant facet of my art that involves fabric and and/or threads. In 2006 I discovered art quilts. The genre offered a rare technical challenge, and the materials were inspirational. Finished work contained a depth and warmth seldom achieved with other materials. The genre also offered the opportunity to gracefully work beyond the traditional “square” canvas.


In quilt art, I could express serious, political, humorous, rebellious, and cathartic issues. Design, balance, color, and texture were of primary importance, and detail offered supportive metaphors. After the initial graphic impact, I wanted viewers to make discoveries. This would extend the “life” of the composition.


The work is machine-embellished with threads from a collection that dates back to the 1950’s. Machine thread work is hand driven. Machine computer embroideries are original or computer-manipulated. Throughout this process I stretch traditional blocks and techniques, re-defining them to achieve a smooth and complete composition. Free-form quilting (thread painting) is rendered spontaneously with a hand-driven long-arm machine.


Besides standard threads, sparkling specialty threads provide extra visual movement. Delicate holographic and sliver threads achieve a sensitive quality. Tiny metallic braids, crystals, paint, digital photos, and/or other mixed media materials further express the themes. Although each theme contains realistic elements, the elements are unrealistic in proportion and shape. Yet they are combined smoothly and balanced well so that they portray an impossible reality, offering the viewer flights of imagination — hopefully, a transcendental experience. 



Artists who have influenced my work include Josef Albers, Marc Chagall, Richard Diebenkorn, Hiroshige, Hokusai, Sara Moe, Ricky Tims, Hollis Chatelain, and Carol Bryer Fallert.

Images scroll down to view all

Color Crayon Color (136)

Color Crayon Color (136)25"w x 46"h   Photo by Mike McQuaid

The quilt is an unframed portrait using crayon and colorful textiles. Its subject is abstract, yet an informed viewer will discern imagery within its boundaries. Despite its asymmetry, design and color are balanced. Color, crayons, and over-dyed crayon drawings are combined to achieve this multi-layered illusion via an adventurous exploration through lively crayons, threads, and fabrics. Are you able to see yourself in this portrait? How do you see yourself? Or do you perceive it as someone or something else? Know thyself!

Chickens Little (144)

Chickens Little (144)12"w x14"h   Photo by Mike McQuaid

This is a cheerful view of happy chickens. They are happy because they are free-range chickens. The ovals hanging from beads along the bottom depict eggs. Due to the addition of eggs, the composition refuses to answer the mysterious, age-old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?", thereby reinforcing the folk mystery.

139	Rainbow Python (139)

139 Rainbow Python (139)18”w x39”h, 2014   Photo by Mike McQuaid

During a 2013 trip to Florida, I became acquainted with reticulated pythons, whose species has decimated wildlife in the Everglades. I was angry because we humans had carelessly introduced this huge, powerful, and canny animal to an environment in which it became top predator and significantly harmed the environment. I also felt physically afraid of the python. My mind predicted the Python's eventual termination because of its devastating effect on the Everglades, and I actually felt sad. The best way to deal with sadness or fear is to find humor in the situation. Hence the "Python" series, wherein they are presented as a rainbow, mentally challenged, and a flower. This piece, of course, depicts a rainbow set against the light of the Everglades.

Time's Wrinkled River (145)

Time's Wrinkled River (145)35”w x 28”h   Photo by Mike McQuaid

As the lifeline of our planet progresses, each life is but a tiny wrinkle along the lines of time. How the earth will continue to survive is up to the decisions humanity makes. As humans, we are all bonded together along a meandering path and have the opportunity to become a force for peace or chaos. This art quilt is a peaceful expression of time.

The Last Fish (146)

The Last Fish (146)42"w x46"h   Photo by Mike McQuaid

By far, my favorite food is seafood. When seafood is on the menu, I invariably choose a wonderful, delicate, seafood entree. As a swimmer, scuba diver, snorkeler, and surfer, I also have a deep love and respect for the ocean and its inhabitants. Our oceans are now in a critical phase. There is only one pristine coral reef left in the world. Many species of ocean life are extinct or threatened by pollution and over-harvesting. Toxic wastes have already killed large areas of the oceans. The health of the ocean is seriously affected when just one species in the food chain is decimated. Kelp forests have vanished. Global warming has already raised the temperatures of ocean waters. If these problems are not quickly reversed, our oceans will be dead in 10 years. Will we in 2024 be down to "The Last Fish"? There is, however, hope. Contact this website: Hope Spots in the oceans, where there is no overfishing and dumping, are now established, with amazing results. They are once again fully alive. We can help by working to establish a new Hope Spot in an identified area, or by donating to the cause. Go to this website. It gives full information by world experts on the problems and how they can be reversed. It is also inspirational. The seafood we so love will be less plentiful, but it can be enjoyed without destroying our magnificent oceans.