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Artist Linda White used stitching on her art quilt to suggest the movement of a fish in the water.
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Artist Linda White used fabrics of mimic the colors of a duck, part of her exhibition at the In-Town Gallery on Frazier Avenue through June 7.


What: Opening reception for "Water Lovers," exhibition by Linda White.

When: 5-8 p.m. Friday, June 7.

Where: In-Town Gallery, 26 Frazier Ave.

Admission: Free.

Information: 423-267-9214.

With some 10,000 species of birds and somewhere between 25,000 and 35,000 species of fish in the world today, Linda White has plenty of subject matter.

The Signal Mountain artist, whose exhibition "Water Lovers" will be on display during June at the In-Town Gallery on Frazier Avenue, creates art quilts, primarily populated by birds and fish.

"It's what I like," she says. "There's so much variety in those two species. I haven't really run out of interest in that yet."

White grew up in Colorado and spent vacations with her family fishing in the state's mountain lakes and around flowing streams in Montana and Wyoming. Her fascination with birds began with having pet birds and watching the antics of the birds in her garden.

While birds and water don't necessarily seem to mix - White acknowledges the title of her exhibit engendered thoughts in others of "swimming" or "somebody canoeing" - but she felt "Water Lovers" belonged.

"Water is seriously important to people," she says. "It's also very important to animals. We should all be water lovers."

Inspiration for particular pieces, according to White, can come from different places.

"I'm always looking at things," she says. "There will be something that sparks the interest. It might be a color combination I see in a magazine.

"But I mostly get inspiration from the fabric itself - the patterns and colors in the fabric. I see them piled together, and I think, 'Wow, that's interesting.'"

In the "eight or nine" pieces in the exhibit, White used all cotton fabric, though she has employed silk and other fabrics in previous works.

Beginning with a simple sketch, White selects fabric - or lets it select her - for the particular colors or characteristics of the creature collage she is creating. She then layers it on batting and a backing fabric in the same manner a quilt is assembled, using a standard sewing machine to stitch it together.

The stitching in the works can add complexity, color and even compensate for a piece of fabric that's not exactly the perfect shade.

"That's what I try to do," White says. "I try to use patterns that are significant to the piece, [like adding] feathers and scales.

That works nicely, according to Helen Burton, another artist at In-Town Gallery.

"If a scroll design [fabric] lends itself to looking like the scales in the fish or feathers on a duck," that's what she uses, Burton says.

The pieces in "Water Lovers" are done with free-motion stitching, White says, in which a quilter releases a mechanism on the sewing machine in order to move the fabric any way she chooses instead of having the machine pull it through.

A blanket stitch around the edge of the work completes the pieces, which range from 8-by-12 inches to 20-by-18 inches before framing.

White's works, according to Burton, are not abstract, despite the variety of fabrics.

"It's accurate [in scale] to size," she says. "It's not generic."

White has been a member of In-Town Gallery for nine years and also belongs to the Foothills Craft Guild and Craft Artists of Southern Tennessee. She has exhibited in AVA's Eye Candy show, the Tennessee Valley Art Competitions and the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum Quilt Show.

Contact staff writer Clint Cooper at or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to my posts online at