Fields of colors: Textile artist to show richly patterned quilts

 BROOKSVILLE — Penobscot textile artist and designer Ron King will exhibit his latest vibrant quilts in “Fields of Color 2.0” in August at the Reversing Falls Sanctuary’s the Gallery Within. King dyes the fabric in two contrasting colors and many subtle gradations of them. The contrasting range of hues form the design.

King, who has taught textile design at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle and served as an associate professor of design at the University of Maine, will be speak about his quilts and techniques involved in their creation at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, at the Reversing Falls Sanctuary’s the Gallery Within. “Fields of Color 2.0” is on view from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 20-21 and Aug. 27-28, at the Gallery Within.

For his quilts, King uses the dye to develop a rich palette. His technique involves combining two contrasting colors in different proportions in 15 different dye pots, producing a series of subtly changing hues. A bit like paint color chips, he selects and combines creating a rich pattern of both contrasting and related hues. He creates what he likes to call “in-between colors.” These grayed colors are more subtle and difficult to define. In his latest quilts, he has “juxtaposed colors to create designs that are more challenging for the viewer.”

King holds a master’s degree in textile design from Cranbrook Academy of Art in New York. After several years working as a textile designer in New York City Ron moved to Maine. His weaving has focused primarily on the production of functional fabrics. At the outset of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, his career took an unexpected turn.

“When HIV found its way into my community, I had to do something,” recalls the artist, who began working professionally in the field of HIV as an educator, case manager and community organizer.

Since living in Maine, King and his brother established and have run the organic King Hill Farm in Penobscot. He has traveled throughout the world, from Peru to Tibet, always looking at and collecting ideas from local textiles. He also has volunteered as a peace activist at an orphanage in Cambodia, in Palestine and along the southwest border of the United States with the Christian PeaceMaker Teams.


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