Whether she’s around the block or around the world, travel means far more than sightseeing.

For Daren Pitts Redman of Brown County, her trips have become her inspiration and creativity, bringing splashes of screaming hues to buildings all around the globe.

The 10-year full-time quilter hopes her oversized wall hangings, which have graced local structures ranging from Mill Race Center to the Columbus Learning Center, feature plenty of eye-catching pizzazz.

“What I want people to see as much as anything are the bright colors that I’ve hand-dyed,” Redman said, speaking from her workshop next to her home between Nashville and Helmsburg.

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“Somehow, the shapes and the colors just come out of my brain.”

And out of her excursions with husband Dave. People can see for themselves at the just-opened exhibit, “Seasons,” running through June 29 at Gallery 506 in the Columbus Area Visitors Center. Two of her nine pieces on display drew direct inspiration from Columbus.

The 57-year-old artist made one 50-by-80-inch piece, titled, “Trummelbach Falls, Red” spreading her resources on the floor while working in 2014 as an artist-in-residency at Mill Race Center. The falls namesake is just one waterway inside a Swiss mountain she and her husband visited.

“I work really fast,” she said of that piece that came together in only four days.

Yet, some of her efforts, made from 4-by-6-inch photographs, painstakingly have stretched for nine months. One of her other pieces, “Autumn in Brown County,” was born after she examined her home area’s fall blaze of colors, and then hand-dyed fabrics for nine months to match leaves she found.

With the help of the nonprofit Studio Art Quilt Association, that piece hung in Brazil, Italy, Taiwan and parts of the U.S. amid a four-year tour before it came back to her. She laughed when asked if she had any idea she could entertain such success when she first began learning the discipline.

She began entering national shows in 2011.

“People see your name in those,” she said of her fast rise in the field.

People also find serenity in her work. She grants visitors and viewers the freedom to move in close and touch her art. She saw the beauty of allowing that in one show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in 2013.

“You could see all the stress leaving people’s face,” Redman said.

Jan Banister, the visitors center’s retail manager who oversees the gallery, is curating her third Redman exhibit. So she’s clearly a fan.

“I love textiles,” Banister said. “And Daren just has a very different, contemporary approach that’s figurative.

“She’s unique. When you look at her works, the focus may not be instantly recognizable.”

But Banister said she believes viewers can feel richly rewarded when they read Redman’s descriptions of her pieces, and then go in search of the symbolism and connections in her art.

Another locally-inspired piece, “Colors For Columbus,” represents a color wheel. Redman calls the city special in part because it gave birth to her first public art, a work for the Columbus Learning Center done in 2011. The building currently features at least one of Redman’s textiles at all times, although the artist rotates some in and out.

One, “Summertime,” installed near the library, offers a wild mix of shapes and colors.

She spoke in quick bursts, rapidly and unashamedly moving from one topic to the next like a woman with exuberance and ideas spilling in every direction. One second during her phone chat, she was simultaneously sending emails. Then touching up the paint on some fabric. And then finishing a gallery speech.

“This quilt life,” she said with a laugh, “has just taken over. It gives me energy.”

A colorful travelogue

What: “Seasons,” an exhibition of nine of Daren Redman’s hand-dyed oversized wall-hanging textiles.

When: Through June 29.

Where: Gallery 506 at the Columbus Area Visitors Center, 506 Fifth St.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission: Free.

Information: 812-378-2622 or columbus.in.us.

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.