Parlour Fan Quilt, 2010

Ross Palmer Beecher
(American, born 1957)

Location: Pioneer Middle School, DuPont


Ross Palmer Beecher's Parlour Fan Quilt uses found materials and objects to represent the rich cultural heritage of Steilacoom and DuPont. The artist worked with community members to collect their ideas about what should be represented in the quilt. She also recruited their help to gather local objects to represent those ideas. The quilt consists of sixteen quilt squares that include oil paint on wood and tin, carved wood, fabric military patches since the area is directly beside Joint Base Lewis-McChord, recycled glass from the school's garden, tree leaves, soda can flip tops, aluminum cans, a computer keyboard, deerskin, arrowheads, a watering can, and small gardening tools. Beecher notes that "I make traditional quilts and non-traditional quilts out of most anything besides fabric."

Steilacoom became the first incorporated town in Washington Territory in 1854, and it continues to showcase the area's pioneer history. This artwork joins a growing collection of quilts made for and placed in schools of the Steilacoom Historical School District.

Check out the grades 6-8 lesson plan for this artwork, linked as a PDF under "Lesson Plans and Documents".

This artwork was acquired for the State Art Collection in partnership with Steilacoom Historical School District.


Ross Palmer Beecher is a Seattle-based mixed media artist. Her sculptural artworks are often composed as quilts and constructed of recycled materials. She describes her work as inspired by folk-art and "the joy of resourcefulness that has become a way of life."

Beecher grew up in the Northeast U.S. She studied painting, printmaking, and illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In 1978, she moved to Seattle and began making traditional quilts to relieve her homesickness for the Northeast. In 1993, Beecher started managing the art therapy program at the Bailey-Boushay House for patients with AIDS in Seattle. She continues to be part of that program and it informs her own art practice. Her artworks are featured in museum collections including the Seattle Art Museum and Portland Art Museum. She received the 2020 Twining Humber Award for lifetime artistic achievement.

You can watch a short video about Beecher's art practice made by the Washington State Arts Commission in 2008 with support from the American Masters Program of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Material CategorySculpture - mixed media
MediumOil paint on tin and wood with acrylic paint, textiles, wood, glue, mortar, rock, military pins, patches, bottle caps, twigs, and found objects
Dimensions60 in x 60 in x 4 in
ID NumberWSAC2008.025.000
Acquisition MethodSite responsive commission
Artist LocationWashington, United States
Location Information
AgencySteilacoom Historical School District
Artwork LocationPioneer Middle School
Main entrance, left of the door to main office
WA CountyPierce
Site TypePublic School
Address1750 Bob's Hollow Lane
DuPont, WA 98327
Geo. Coordinates47.100725 | -122.649537
Before VisitingSome artworks may be located in areas not accessible to the general public (especially in K-12 public schools). Consider contacting the site prior to a visit to ensure access.