Local quilter June Jaeger has been creating quilts since 1969 and will be featured at the annual Sisters Quilt Show

June Jaeger works in her studio, getting ready for the upcoming Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

Prineville’s June Jaeger made her first quilt in 1969 — a baby quilt for her newborn son, Mark.

Forty five years later, Jaeger is getting ready for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show as one of its star attractions, teaching others her unique methods for creating landscape quilt patterns.

“When my son was born, I was kind of depressed and my sister said to make a quilt,” said Jaeger. “And boy, it was like therapy.”

Her sister, Jean Wells, knows what she is talking about when it comes to quilting. She is the creator of the internationally known Sisters show and author of over three dozen books on the subject.

Visitors walking into Jaeger’s workshop, adjacent to her log cabin nestled on the side of a hill north of the city, can’t help but become a part of her creative world.

Adorning the walls are signs of her artistic point of view — “Sense of Place” says one poster, “Stream of Color” says another.

“These are the names of my current projects,” explained Jaeger. “Many times they also become the name of the quilt.”

One of Jaeger’s best known creations resulted from a recurring dream she has had since her teenage years.

“I would dream of horses running up a hill towards me and it would come back to me every so often,” explained Jaeger. “They never reached me in the dream, as I would always wake up before they did.”

It was when taking a class on curved piecing by Ruth McDowell that Jaeger put her dream to paper, sketching a pattern that grew larger and larger.

“Everyone else in the class was doing flowers and other small projects,” she said. “I wanted to do the horses but wasn’t sure if I could pull it off.”

Jaeger worked on that quilt, one she calls “Visions of Horses,” for nine years and it has become synonymous with her work as a quilting artist, winning her numerous awards at the international level.

“It is probably my favorite quilt of everything I have done,” she said. “I also haven’t had the dream again. When I finished the quilt, the dream was satisfied.”

Jaeger was born in Prineville, grew up in Redmond and initially attended California Polytechnic State University, majoring in Veterinary Medicine.

“In those days being in Veterinary Medicine was hard for a woman,” she laughed. “You got picked on a lot for that.”

That experience led her to transfer to Oregon State, where she majored in art education.

As an adult, Jaeger married a Sherwood rancher and relocated to Pendleton, but in 1998 returned to her roots in Prineville when, as she described it, she and her husband “went different ways.”

A landscape quilting artist, Jaeger teaches others how to transform photographs into quilting patterns, including its design, fabric choices and putting an idea together as a fabric landscape.

“Most students do not have artistic backgrounds and believe that they can’t do it, but they all can and are successful,” she said. “There is an artist in everybody. We are told in grade school when we draw something that it doesn’t look like a dog, or whatever, but it isn’t true.”

As Jaeger has become a more serious quilting artist, she has allowed her lighthearted view of life to come to the surface.

Other slogans adorning her studio speak to that principal — “Forget the Rules,” “Live, Laugh, Love,” and “Be a Little Naughty With Your Nice” are a few examples.

“I think sometimes that people take life a little too seriously,” she said. “You work your whole life and end up wondering if it is all worth it if you can’t laugh, enjoy and find some humor in the everyday.”

It is her humor that will be on display at the Sisters show, whose theme is “It Takes a Village,” having created a quilt featuring other artists hanging their quilts.

“The quilt is very ‘cartooney’,’’ explained Jaeger. “It is a very silly quilt, but it felt good doing it since I usually do serious work.”

Be it serious or silly, Jaeger believed her career was coming to an end, telling people she would retire upon completion of her second book, which has since been published.

But, retiring from a way of life that is a dream come true is difficult.

“Quilting for me is very satisfying and I get completely wrapped up in what I am doing and forget about time,” said Jaeger. “ I just get caught up in creating. It is a good feeling for me.”

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