HomeResearch PartnersCreditsSponsors Exhibits
  Previous Artist  |  Next Artist

Deborah Fell

Deborah Fell designs quilts that bridge the gap between past and future generations. The process of creating them also helps her make sense of troubling events, both personal and historical. She uses a similar approach in her job, teaching students who struggle with learning and emotional disabilities. “Helping these teenagers understand the importance of what history teaches us is a great opportunity. I often use my art as a teaching tool and this creates a tangible learning bridge that connects facts and perspective in a very unique way.”


Witness Trees

39 x 43 in.

Art Quilt

This quilt was inspired by Fell’s visit to Bergen-Belsen, a concentration camp in northwest Germany where 50,000 people perished during World War II. Fell visited the concentration camp in 2009. She was stunned to learn that no one knew of the camp until April 1945, when British troops liberated it and released images of its victims, which shocked the world. “Some of the pictures showed naked bodies with missing hearts and livers and people alive with no teeth or hair,” Fell says. As she walked through the memorial she was struck by the trees, which were witnesses to the suffering. “I knew instantly that I needed to create an art quilt. I envisioned the silence of the trees all around with eyes camouflaged in bark,” Fell says. To create the effect, Fell transferred digital photos on to the fabric. “Look closely: you will find eyes. Dig deeper and you will find skeletons. War isn’t ugly. It’s horrifying,” she says.