Firestorm Ghost Map

Fires devastated some 5 million acres of California in the first 10 months of 2020.

Where I live was not in the fire zone. But dense smoke was a sad reminder of the constant danger, fear and loss that other Californians were suffering … and still are. The sky was like nothing I had ever seen, at first a dark, eerie orange. For days there was no sun-up, just all-day dusk. For weeks, sooty grey haze blotted out trees and buildings.

I’ve chosen to mark the firestorms by creating an abstract map of an imagined neighborhood in flames, seen from the air. I started with smoky-black cotton, and working improvisationally, sliced it apart and inset skinny of strips red-orange batik.

Layered tulle hints at where houses once stood; frayed flame-colored patches show homes afire; textured spray paint provides a layer of ash, and French knots represent people forced to flee.

It’s a ghost map.

Firestorm has been juried into the Fall Members’ Online Gallery at the Textile Study Group of New York. You can watch a slide show on the home page or scroll through larger images of the 103 works of fiber art on the gallery page. I’m honored to be part of Gallery 29.