Cathy Erickson has a Masters degree in chemistry from Purdue University.  Her early creative adventures consisted of stained glass projects and gardening.  She made her first quilt in 1996 while waiting for her daughter during dance class. Starting in 2000, Cathy began taking art classes at the local community college and is close to having an associate degree in graphic design.  In 2002, inspired by a class taken from Kitty Pippen, she began making art quilts using Japanese-style fabrics. That same year she met Margaret Chula and together they created a series of quilts and poetry inspired by the stories and photos of Japanese Americans in internment camps in the 1940’s. Since that time Cathy has been using poetry for inspiration on all her pieces.  

When not working or quilting, Cathy enjoys the wonderful views from her house of Mount Hood and the Columbia River. Friends include her many quilt friends and of course her cat, Sunny, who must approve of every quilt before it is finished.

Sunny in the backyard garden.


Art Quilts and Poetry on Japanese Americans in Internment Camps
Quilts by Cathy Erickson
Poetry by Margaret Chula

In the 1940’s over 120,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned in internment camps.  From the newborn baby to the aging grandfather, all their lives were changed dramatically.  Now only photos, stories, and rock rubble remain of the time.  The art quilts and poetry in this series try to capture the spirit of what remains over sixty years later.

What started as two people, a poet and a quilter, creating a single poem and quilt for the Visual Verse project by the Contemporary QuiltArt Association, has changed and grown over the past six years.   Many hours were logged doing research before the first word was written or the first piece of fabric was cut.    The challenges, of two people working together, have been revealing and rewarding.  ---Cathy Erickson

Collaboration is like a mirror that shows each artist not just a mimicry of her work but reflects a subtlety that she was not able to see before.  The words of the poem allow the quilt artist to look deeper into the fabric of her creation to see the layers that were not visible before.  For the poet, words take on texture, color linear rhythm—a rhythm of lines and shapes rather than iambs.  The sum of the piece becomes more than itself.  ---Margaret Chula


Three quilts, and their accompanying poems, were juried by quilt artist Michael James and poet Hilda Raz
into the traveling exhibition Visual Verse: Collaborations in Poetry and Cloth.

2008      Colorado State University, Curfman Gallery, Fort Collins CO
2006       Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston ID
2006       LaConner Quilt Museum, LaConner WA
2006       Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden CO
2005      University Place Art Center, Lincoln NE
2004      Oregon College of Art and Craft, Hoffman Gallery, Portland OR


2011      LaConner Quilt Museum, LaConner WA
2007       Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, Portland OR What Remains: Japanese Americans in Internment Camps.  Exhibit, slide show, poetry reading and talk on collaboration
2005       Portland Japanese Garden, Portland OR. Exhibition, What Remains: Japanese Americans in Internment Camps. September 11 Exhibit, slide show, poetry reading and lecture.
2005       Systemic Constellation Conference, World Trade Center II, Portland OR
2002       Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle WA


2010       Empty Spools Seminars, Artist in Residence,  Asilomar, Pacific Grove, CA
2008       Contemporary QuiltArt Association: 20th Anniversay, by Contemporary QuiltArt Association, Seattle, WA
2007       Washington State History Museum, Tacoma WA
2007       Kyoto Journal, Issue #65, Kyoto Japan
2006       Pacific Northwest Quiltfest, Seattle Center,, Seattle WA
2006       International Quilt Association Show, Houston TX
2006       American Quilter’s Society Show, Paducah KY
2006       Washington Center for Performing Arts, Olympia WA
2006       Asian Elegance: Quilting with Japanese Fabrics and More by Kitty and Sylvia Pippen
2006       Catalog of Quilts from the 22nd American Quilter’s Society show
2005       Edmonds Conference Center, Edmonds WA
2005       Featured Artist Show, Vancouver WA
2004       Phinney Gallery, Seattle WA
2004       Pacific Northwest Quiltfest, Seattle Center, Seattle WA
2004       Pacific International Quilt Show, San Jose CA
2004       Association of Pacific Northwest Quilters Newsletter, Fall Issue
2003       Seventh Contemporary Art Quilt Invitational, Tacoma WA


2008      ‘Equilibrium,’ Poetry of Recovery, Sante Lucia Books, Atlanta GA.
2008      ‘What Remains,’ ‘Shikata ga nai,’ ‘Equilibrium,’ Contemporary QuiltArt Association: 20th Anniversary, Seattle, WA
2007      ‘Boxes,’ Kyoto Journal, Issue #65, Kyoto Japan.
2007      ‘Voices From the Camps,’ The Oregonian, Portland OR.
2007      ‘Afterimage,’ Hipfish, Astoria OR
2006      ‘Nickel Snakes,’ Runes, A Review of Poetry Winter Issue, Sausalito CA.
2006      ‘What Remains,’ ‘Shikata ga nai,’ ‘Equilibrium,’ ‘Over the Moon,’ Prairie Schooner, University of Nebraska, Autumn Issue.
2006      ‘Nickel Snakes,’ Finalist in the Runes International Poetry Contest.
2005      ‘Boxes,’ Third Prize, In the Beginning was the Word Contest, First Church of Christ, Lake Oswego, OR

An early morning photograph of Mount Hood
in the distance from my quilt room.
Contemporary QuiltArt Association
Japanese American National Museum
Portland Japanese Garden
Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
Manzanar National Historic Site
Friends of Minidoka
Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center
David Walker