The Eagle has Landed: Navy Textile Paintings Done and Delivered


"Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 41"x42", Textile Painting (Cotton Fabric, Fabric Paint & Ink, Cotton Thread, Cotton Batting)


It feels like graduation, and like working in a factory.  After several weeks of emails, web research, sketching, designing, dye-painting, carving, stamping, stenciling and stitching, the Navy textile paintings are done.  And, just like the other textile pieces I’ve completed this year, as soon as the last stitch was tied off and trimmed, the pieces were out the door on their way to a show.  No time to sit back and enjoy or critique them, just get ’em done and send ’em on their way.

You can view the progression of completing these Navy textile paintings on 3 earlier posts: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3.

The Details – “Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six”

The title of this piece (pictured above and detail below) is a Naval Aviator phrase from one of the stories Captain Bill related to me about Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) tactics developed by the Navy.

In this situation called “Loose Deuce”, two working together in a coordinated “high energy” manner have the potential of beating an adversary flying better machines with a number advantage.  “Keeping your mach up” refers to high energy/kinetic energy and always having an altitude advantage over your enemy while “check six” is the responsibility of each Loose Deuce member to check that his teammate’s vulnerability zone is clear of enemies.

Text from the label I created for the back of this piece:

As a Navy Test Pilot, Ops Boss, and Squadron Commander, Captain Bill had opportunity to pilot well beyond 15 different types of aircraft ranging from  supersonic fighters (Navy, US Air Force, Royal Air Force) to Dehaviland Otters and Beavers (Canadian Outback birds), to Gliders, multi engine Army and Navy machines, and Helicopters.  Many, (but certainly not all) of the aircraft he flew are abstractly represented here, along with my liberal interpretation of the many gauges and dials that confront the pilots in those planes’ cockpits.


"Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six" (detail) ©2010 Ayn Hanna, Textile Painting


To make this piece, I used some of my own hand-dyed fabrics, along with dye-painting, stenciling and stamping techniques.

I first cut some stencils of several of the airplane types that Bill flew and used them to stencil/dye-paint the orange background and then also to apply shadows/definition to airplane shapes that I cut and appliquéd to the surface.  I drew and cut out some stamps of the gauges and dials and printed these on 3 different colors of yellow fabric and then fused them to the background and also fused 2 pieces of blue/green fabric, cut to surround the “dashboard” of the cockpit.

Next I painted in the black areas around the gauges to complete the dashboard.  Once all of these elements were in place, I loaded the wholecloth onto my long arm quilting machine and quilted this top together with the batting and the backing layers.

The Details – “Cat”


"Cat" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 40"x40", Textile Painting (hand-painted cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting)


I covered most of the process that I used in making “Cat” in an earlier post here.  Once the images were all painted, I appliquéd the flight suit name tag at top and cockpit gauge on lower left, then loaded this piece onto my long arm quilting machine and quilted the top, batting, and backing together.

Where to see the Navy Quilt Displays throughout 2011

Many of the CONA (Celebration of 100 years of Naval Aviation) events across the US during 2011 will include displays of the Navy Quilts from this challenge. Preliminary travel dates and locations for all of the displays are still being finalized and can be viewed here.

A selection of 80 of the quilt entries will travel in small groups to over 100 events throughout 2011.  While many of the events will display a subset of the total, the entire group of 80 traveling quilts will be on display at a few of the events; the Centennial opening event at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL on Nov 12-13, The Road to California Quilt Show, Ontario, CA on Jan 20-23, 2011, and the Centennial Closing Gala, Dec 3rd, 2011 at the National Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.


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2 Responses to “The Eagle has Landed: Navy Textile Paintings Done and Delivered”

  1. Ayn Hanna Says:

    Hi Jo Anna – Great to hear from you and congratulations on your award! If you would send me an email at I will reply to you with Bill’s contact information and I will also pass your name/info on to Bill. Thanks!

  2. Jo Anna Gorthy Says:

    Ayn, I am the wife of a retired Navy pilot and also created a quilt for the Naval Aviation Quilt challenge. (I was totally surprised that I received an honorable mention in the Pieced Category!) I was looking at the website (one more time!) and noticed that yours was in honor of Bill Catlett. My husband thinks that Bill was a LCDR in VA-25 at NAS Lemoore CA when my husband was a junior officer in the squadron. Do you have any contact information about Bill or can you pass the name Al and Jo Anna Gorthy on to Bill to see if he remembers us? Thanks!

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