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Museum at Prairiefire

Museum at Prairiefire

by Mary Kay Fosnacht

Overland Park, KS

24” x 24” (61 x 61 cm)

Prairie fires have been an annual spring ritual in east-central Kansas for hundreds of years beginning with Native Americans. The fires are deliberately set to prevent uncontrolled outbreaks from lightning or accidental human factors. Prairie fires play an important role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem by removing dead vegetation, promoting new growth and controlling invasive species.

The Museum at Prairiefire was designed by Verner Johnson, Inc. (Boston) and was conceived by developer Merrill Companies, Inc. The museum is an educational and cultural attraction in Overland Park, KS that features immersive and interactive experiences in the areas of natural history, arts and science for visitors. The building was designed specifically for the region and in particular to evoke the idea of prairie fires.

The dichroic glass was developed specifically for this project and is the first known application of its kind in North America. The glass changes in color depending on the viewing angle, both horizontally and vertically. Four different base colors were used in three different finishes to achieve a gradient flame effect, from blue-purple at the base, through reds, to gold hues at the top. Over 10,000 individual panels were used to create the walls.

More about the building can be found HERE.

My original photo:

Freezer paper patterns of the large sections were copied onto black fabric, which was the base layer, to fuse the smaller pieces on top of. I worked at my ironing board with a ruler to line up the small pieces in rows using the photo as a guide for color placement.

Full size pattern: (made in Photoshop from the original photo using the “find lines” filter.

The small pieces are approximately ¼” wide by ¾ ” long.

The edges were zig-zag stitched with monofilament thread.

Materials and technique:

Cotton fabric, Raw-edge appliqué, Cotton batting

Mary Kay Fosnacht


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