Marty Ornish

4705 Mayapan Dr.
La Mesa, CA2


Artist Information for Marty Ornish

My work is inspired by the stories of peoples lives I imagine when finding discarded, abandoned, and tattered vintage linens and quilts. My recent work is material driven, made with an effort to use zero-waste design in creating wearable art. Since each found textile is unique, the scarcity of the vintage textiles used forces me to be inventive, and to cut carefully. My grandmother, and mother worked in a textile sweatshop, which has colored my artistic path of reuse, upycling, and interest of slow sewing and slow fashion. There is a meditative quality to using fabrics that come with a history, an unknown past. My goal is to release banished unwanted textiles from closets, attics, and thrift stores, and give them a second life, another chance to be seen and appreciated.

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All Tied Up

All Tied Up60' X 24'X 24"   Photo by Steven Ornish

The diverse styles of the Edwardian period and the Roaring Twenties gave inspiration for this ensemble. A bin of small pieces of cut up vintage quilts offered the perfect challenge of making something from almost nothing. The outer layers of the skirt are made from hundreds of pieced, then serged abandoned vintage quilts.

Aeonion Stillness

Aeonion Stillness20" X 12" X 16"   Photo by Steven Ornish

The idealized perfection of the human form seen in Greek statues embody strength and beauty.  In this sculpture constructed from tattered, ruined quilts,  I pay homage to the Greek mythological warriors.  A classic urn forms the breastplate, while bold red stitching depicts a wounded spirit.  A vintage lace bandolier and epaulet create an androgynous  tension.  International conflicts and war continue for an aeonian duration.  

La Cage a Crinoline

La Cage a Crinoline60"X 90" X 90"   Photo by Steve Ornish

Under the doctrine of Couverture, upon marriage a woman was considered the chattel, or legal possession of her husband, and all her rights were subsumed. Women are still considered such in many cultures today. This piece is intended to bring honor and recognition to oppressed women. The incarcerating hoop represents woman as chattel, yet with a shift in perspective, it can be reframed as protective emotional armor.


191930" X 25"   Photo by Steven Ornish

"1919" tells part of the long story of women's suffrage. As 2019 was approaching, and after the last US election where so many Americans failed to exercise their right to vote, this quilt was born. It is now traveling as part of OurStory, curated by Susanne Jones.

Abstract of Recollections

Abstract of Recollections60" X 94" X 94"   Photo by Sharon Avraham

Victorian, steampunk, and bohemian couture inspired this alternative wedding gown. The challenge was to create a feminine motif for an adventurous  bride. Using a bit of alchemy as well as needle and thread, seven damaged quilts were reincarnated to create a larger than life gown: flaws were not repaired, rather they were celebrated. There is a dynamic tension between the demure and the sensual, catalyzed by the wearer. The impermanence of fashion and the handwork of forgotten quilters are honored anew.