“Poulnabrone” means “well of the sorrows” – excavations have found at least 22 adults and children buried within the tomb. It sits atop a remote outcropping on a (seemingly) lifeless limestone plain (“The Burren”) located South of Galway (along Ireland’s West Coast). Replicating this isolated and foreboding tomb would require a strong interplay of monochromatic values and brooding shadows.

To best visualize the site, and to generate the most “correct” shadowing possible, Denise and her son sculpted a miniature 3D clay replica of the dolmen and its local landscape. They turned out the lights and began taking photos – shooting the clay model from the same viewing angle as the partially completed quilt – and circled the table (representing differing sun angles and locations) with a flashlight. They then used Photoshop to superimpose the resulting shadowing over a photo of the almost-done quilt. Voila! – a virtual rendering complete with “real” shadowing.

The following photos – taken from Denise's lecture on her evolving quilting techniques – explains this better:

The actual Poulnabrone Dolmen:

The not-yet-completed quilt (i.e., prior to the addition of any extra shadowing):

The clay model:

The flashlight-illuminated clay model:

The illuminated clay model combined (using Photoshop) with the
photograph of the not-yet-completed quilt:

A combination of just the flashlight-made deep shadows (again,
using Photoshop) with the photograph of the not-yet-completed quilt:

The final quilt: