The Ohio Artist Registry (OAR) is an exciting opportunity for artists to share their work, connect with the creative community, and establish an online presence—all on a free, virtual platform! The OAR encourages artists working in all art forms, throughout Ohio and beyond,  to create a profile, which allows them to better promote themselves and their work. Being listed in the OAR provides artists with new opportunities to share their work with clients, galleries, patrons, and audiences. For more information, contact Kathy Signorino, artist programs director, at kathy.signorino@oac.ohio.gov or 614-728-6140.

Deb Berkebile

Textile Artist and Instructor Textile Artist
Home 6932 Bushnell Rd OH 44030 United StatesHome OH 44030 United States Home Phone: 440-812-4447

Bio

Technology and nature inspire creator of Great Lakes quilt; Ohio woman turns satellite images, thermal photographs into art.

Growing up in the Rocky Mountain foothills near Golden, Colorado, quilter Deb Berkebile loved nature. It’s easy to understand why, with the city’s dinosaur fossils, hiking trails, and scenic views from its three surrounding mountains.  “Living in such a beautiful place makes you want to protect what is there for future generations,” she said. “I seek to improve and protect the quality of the environment through my quilts so that people will become educated about activities that can harm nature and its surroundings.”

Now a resident of Conneaut, OH, a small city nestled on the shore of Lake Erie just west of the Pennsylvania border, Berkebile celebrates the beauty of the Great Lakes in her latest quilt to be included in the Schweinfurth Art Center’s Quilts=Art=Quilts exhibit. 

“My current body of work explores satellite imagery and creating a ‘false-color’ depiction of remote sensed satellite images (Geographical Information Systems),” she said.  The Great Lakes Project, depicts a view of the Great Lakes basin, including the Finger Lakes. While much of the land is depicted in spring and summer greens, cities – including Chicago, Cleveland, and Buffalo – are highlighted in red or orange.

“(Satellite images’) vivid colors and variations are what first drew me to representations of incredible Earth scapes, such as the Great Lakes,” said Berkebile, who is a mechanical engineer. “These five interconnected bodies of water account for one-fifth of the Earth’s fresh surface water and span 750 miles. The Great Lakes have come a long way since the early 60s, when they were very polluted, but today Lake Erie still has the poorest ecosystem.”

Berkebile began quilting as a second-grader under the tutelage of her mother. She started with doll clothes and was sewing her own clothes by high school, moving to quilting in 2005 with the encouragement of her mother. 

She began making art quilts in 2014, and Berkebile’s first two GIS quilts were accepted into the Houston International Quilt Festival, the largest U.S. quilt show. Her quilt The Painted Desert was accepted into the 2016 Quilts=Art=Quilts show at the Schweinfurth.

“It is a juried show, so you know if your artwork is accepted it will be among artwork of other well-known artists,” Berkebile said of QAQ. “As one of my artist friends and mentors said to me after my piece made it into the 2016 show, ‘You are running with the big dogs now!’”

Because of the unique requirements of her GIS quilts, Berkebile creates all the fabrics she uses. “I use surface design techniques, hand-dyeing, ice-dyeing, painted fabric, and digital manipulation of images printed on fabric,” she said. 

In addition to her GIS quilts, Berkebile is working on other quilt series, including one on national parks and another on civil rights. “I enjoy the challenges of creating original artwork that combine my passions and interests,” she added.

 

Artist Statement

I am an artist with an extensive background in textiles and quilt making.  Recently, I have been exploring surface design and multi-media in my artwork.

I am a naturalist and environmentalist at heart. My current body of work explores satellite imagery and creating ‘false-color’ artistic depictions of remote sensed satellite images (Geographical Information Systems).  I have eight quilts in my “Earth in Three Bands: R, G, B” Series: The Painted Desert, Eye of Sahara, The Great Salt Desert, Susitna Glacier, The Grand Canyon, Galileo Inspiration, The Great Lakes and my latest Rocky Mountain Trench. The vivid colors and their outstanding variations are what first drew me to these representations. I also use other remote sensed imagery taken from our National Parks for my art. My first quilt in this series was inspired by a thermal image of an eruption of the Old Faithful geyser taken in Yellowstone National Park.  

I started a new series of work combining natural dyes and Shibori techniques.  I have used rusted hand dyed fabric dipped into an indigo vat.  Manipulating the fabric with lots of Shibori techniques has led to this series with Sashiko hand stitching finishing numerous pieces.

I am also interested in political activism. I have prepared a series of works juried into the “OurStory” traveling exhibit about civil rights. My pieces feature quilts celebrating the contributions of Martin Luther King/Rosa Parks and Sitting Bull “Lakota Warrior”. 

I create most of the fabrics I use in my design process. I use surface design techniques, hand-dyeing and painted fabric, plus digital manipulation of images printed on fabric. I enjoy the challenges of creating original artwork that combine my passions and interests.

 My artwork recently has been nationally exhibited in several shows: