A Landscape of Fabric: Creating our Peaceful Setting

A detail of the pebble quilt that adorns the stairwell.
A detail of the pebble quilt that adorns the stairwell. Of the many pieces of art in the office, this is one of the most popular.

Research shows that when an environment is organized around comfort, it stills the nerveseven the nerves of a dental patient. So we strive to make DeWan Dental Wellness a comfortable venue with more than just warm neck wraps and pillows: We also like to create a landscape of fabric. Many people are curious about why we do this. Here’s some of the backstory.

The pebble quilt

When you visit, you’ll see silk and rayon framing many of our windows. Embroidery cascades from several walls and a bird-filled brocade even adorns our elevator. But the most popular piece is in the stairwell – a pebble quilt!

Many people wonder if we quilted it but we chose the easy route. Amy, our front office manager, and I found the fabric at Manhattan Fabrics in Wauwatosa, and stitched silk around its edges to frame it.

Though I learned to sew from home economics (remember those days?!), Mike reignited my interest after college. He was the only guy I met (besides my dad) who actually owned a sewing machine. His grandfather ran a sewing machine shop in Antigo and gave him the antique machine that I then used to stitch clothes for many years.

Much of the fabric Amy and I work with is from Manhattan Fabrics. But one special piece is from Paris, and I think we used every scrap of it. We made a wall hanging, two valences and a beaded doily!


If you see embroidery on something, it’s probably one of my textile musings. Girl Scouts and my grandma taught me to embroider at a young age, so it seems I was born with a needle between my index finger and thumb. One of the pieces in our hallway features a dragonfly that took me forever to hand-stitch. Another features a dock made of ribbons.

Though I’ve been stitching for years, I still love to take stitching classes. My most recent class was called “The Art of Mending” at Permanent Baggage Studio & Boutique, an amazing Brady Street neighborhood gem the features women’s accessories and fiber arts.

The instructor, Heidi Parkes, was amazing. My biggest discovery in the class was a rubber thimble which helps pull needles through stiff fabric. Keep an eye out for classes and other great instructors on the Permanent Baggage Facebook events page. I highly recommend!