The Source for Contemporary Art Quilts, Exhibitions & Appraisals

Ruth Reynolds is the inventor of the beloved character Riva and the author of Riva: If Ya Wanna Look Good Honey, Your Feet Gotta Hurt... Riva is a cartoon character who lives through Ruth Reynolds's drawings and quilts. Riva is outspoken, has questionable fashion sense, smokes and has a tattoo.She doesn't understand quilting—"who in their right mind would waste so much time cutting up tiny slips of fabric just to sew them back together"? But she describes her maker's quilts this way: "Now between you and me, Ruth was no 'normal' quilter. She didn't make bed quilts, with all sorts of little pieces sewn together like the quilts I've seen in magazines. Oh, no. She made ART, or at least that is what SHE called it. She used some of the goofiest fabrics you have ever seen - like leopard skin, and tiger prints, and lames, and brocades, and vinyls, and altho I too liked these types of fabrics, I was not sure how they worked as materials in a quilt. And if all these nutty fabrics weren't enuf —Ruth referred to them as alternative fabrics, I think, because she just wanted to be 'trendy' —she used tons of sequins and beads to further still junk up the quilts. She remarked that it all just added to the 'tacky factor' she wanted to achieve with her work."

Renowned quilt artist Jonathan Shannon commissioned Ruth Reynolds to make this quilt, depicting the reactions of various family members when Riva's brother Rudy comes home with an announcement: "I don't know how to tell you this other than to say I'm gay ... and I have found someone I love very much." Ruth told Jonathan in a note, "You must understand this is a very important quilt in my RIVA quit series. It is a subject I've wanted to address for ages, but never gave myself the opportunity ... Thank you or giving me a right to speak."



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More quilts from the Shannon Collection

I Don;t Know How to Tell You (detail)
Quilt title
Detail of Ruth Reynolds quilt

I Don't Know How to Rell You by Ruth Reynolds

I Don't Know How to Tell You detail

Toward Barred Island by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade (detail)

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Toward Barred Island by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade (detail)

Bottom left and right: Toward Barred Island (detail) by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade