The Quilted Story of Long Valley
Nature has long inspired art, and Long Valley is no exception. One such inspired artist is the Eastern Sierra’s own Ruby Hoyng. While her subject matter might not surprise anyone who loves the Eastern Sierra, as it is only natural to want to capture such beauty in art, her medium might: Ruby is a quilter, and a trip to her beautiful Sunny Slopes home, just south of Long Valley, reveals a gallery of vibrant art quilts depicting portraits of local wildlife such as mule deer and jays, or familiar scenes such as the Laws Railroad Museum or our beloved Long Valley:
Ruby is an avid supporter of the Eastern Sierra's environmental nonprofits, many of which are part of the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition. As a member of the “Out of the Box Quilters,” a group within the local Calico Quilters Guild based in Bishop, she has made art quilts in the past benefiting Keep Long Valley Green Coalition member the Mono Lake Committee, with fun pieces featuring seagulls and even the tiny but mighty Mono Lake brine shrimp. Talk about an “out of the box” subject to feature on a quilt!
Right Ruby's brine shrimp art quilt shown at the Mono Lake Committee's gallery at the begining of 2022.
She first heard of Keep Long Valley Green while joining an interpretive hike on plant identification as part of Keep Long Valley Green Coalition member Friends of the Inyo's Trail Ambassador program. While on that hike, she heard of the threats facing Long Valley, a place she knew intimately, and she felt she simply had to do something with the slogan "Keep Long Valley Green.” It was this idea that drew her to draft up a Long Valley-themed art quilt.
Behind A close up of some of the flaura and fauna that depend on the water of Long Valley, such as wildflowers, grasses, mule deer, cattle, and fish.
There are two recurring themes in Ruby’s work that this quilt allowed her to incorporate: something nature-inspired and something that offers a design challenge. For the Keep Long Valley Green quilt, she was drawn to the opportunity to quilt mountains, meadows, and the natural beauty of a landscape she walks in often as a nearby resident. The challenge, however, was how to incorporate the slogan: “Keep Long Valley Green” into a piece of art showcasing the landscape.
In this case, “her own thing” brought forth the creative idea of depicting the lifeblood of Long Valley and Payahuunadü, the Owens River, and shaping it so that it would spell out “Keep Long Valley Green” in a more flowing, cursive-like font. “I had never really incorporated words into my quilts, so I liked the idea of seeing what I could do,” she told me. Putting “keep” and “green” in the meadow and “Long Valley” in the flowing Owens River allowed Ruby to share the message without overwhelming the breathtaking picture that is the landscape itself.
Left The Owens River winds horizontally across the quilt to spell out "Long Valley" in cursive, with a speckled fabric giving the appearance of water.
Right Small eagles fly above the Sierra Nevada mountains and Glass Mountain ridge in the quilt.
Ruby did not stop at just one challenge either. While the viewer’s eye will first notice the green meadows of Long Valley, the mountains along each side representing the Sierra Nevada and Glass Mountain Ridge, and, of course, the Owens River winding to spell out our message, Ruby also incorporated some of the denizens of Long Valley into the piece. Little mule deer, cattle, eagles, and even fish inside the river dot the piece, adding the nuance of biodiversity to the depth of the scene depicted.
Now, Keep Long Valley Green gets to benefit from Ruby’s artistic talents. Not only did Ruby take our message on as her own when she decided to quilt this piece, she has generously donated the quilt to the Coalition. This beautiful one-of-a-kind art piece, which measures 61 by 30 inches, would make the perfect vibrant addition to the wall of any Eastern Sierra loving home– and it can be YOURS!
Behind The Owens River winds through the quilt to spell Long Valley, surrounded by mountains, grasses, cattle, and wildlife.
This is the first in a multiple part series on Long Valley’s ability to inspire artists and their craft. Next month’s issue will be on photography, and how this scenic place lends itself to the camera, throughout the day and night, and across the four seasons.
Do you have photos from Long Valley you would like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to have your work featured in the November 2023 issue of Every Last Drop.
Have you ever made art inspired by Long Valley? Paintings, pottery, poetry, prose– you name it, we want to see it! Reach out to us to have your creativity featured in future editions of the Every Last Drop art series