In this new showcase I’m featuring four Modern Quilters that you will love!
I learned to sew on my mother’s Singer sewing machine at the age of five. Art has always been a passion, and was always an outlet for expression. Though these two did not converge until later in life, I have always been engaged in creating something artistic, or creating with cloth.
In 2001, I found the medium of fiber art and quilting. This was my muse creating imagery with fiber. My focus and skills have been refined over the years, but creating with cloth and thread has remained constant.
I love to create and spend time in my studio, exploring new ideas and pushing myself to discover new possibilities. I identify with who I am through my art work and love the process of piecing fabric together as a means of expression.
My fiber art represents how I see color, shapes and line. My style of fiber art is contemporary and intuitive. I create a collection of fiber art pieces in a series, each having a common theme or subject matter. My time in my studio is a process of discovery. I work to please myself first and secondarily sharing my work with others.
As a home education teacher, my mom taught hundreds of children to sew before she taught me. It was my fault. I had no patience as a child and even less when I was a teenager. But a little over ten years ago, I wanted to make a quilt for the baby of a friend. Mom and I finally got to the end of the “this-is-how-you-thread-a-machine” lesson. The “this-is-how-you-cut-accurately” and “here’s-a-consistent-quarter-inch-seam” lessons were still pretty hard for me to get through. Mom invited me to a retreat with quilt teacher Mary Lou Wideman in 2010, and I was hooked on wonky and improvised piecing. All my stars had missing points. I had birds with crooked wings and wildly asymmetrical flower petals. The freedom was exhilarating. I sewed and sewed.
Over time, I’ve come back to those first lessons of accuracy and consistency. I still do some improvisation (and intentionally doing more lately), but the challenge of precision is so satisfying. It’s like finishing a crossword puzzle. Or placing that last number in a sudoku square. Getting curves to match up and finding just the right rhythm in my designs keeps me sewing. I hated pink as a child, and maybe it’s living in a household of boys now – but pink is absolutely my spirit color. Pinks, navy blues, whites… I tend to stay close to those color palettes. I’m inspired by curves – all curves. Circles and quarter circles, improvised arcs, ovals. The curve of a line is the most elegant design element I can imagine. I love traditional quilt motifs, and I enjoy seeing how the addition of curves can invigorate a common design and make a viewer pause to find something new and different.
I grew up with quilters. My mom was a quilter, as was my grandma, and most of the women I knew had quilted at some point. Because quilts were so present in my life I was not interested in learning to quilt as a kid even though my mom taught me to sew when I was about 6 years old. I made my first quilt as an adult when my ex-husband wanted to make a quilt for his classroom. He was a math teacher and thought it would be good to use as an example of geometry. We started making that quilt together and even though that quilt is very ugly, I was hooked on making quilts and have never stopped. That was about 23 years ago.
In 2001 I bought a longarm machine and started quilting for clients. I did that for about 15 years. Longarming really taught me a lot about quilting as I was able to see up close how other quilters worked. From looking at other quilters’ pieces I learned about how to technically put a quilt together well (and how not to!), and I was exposed to thousands of different patterns and color combinations. I have a college degree in Art History, but I think the experience of quilting other people’s quilts taught me just as much about color and design.
For the last several years I have been spending more time making my own quilts and teaching other quilters.
Making is just who I am. If I wasn’t quilting, I’d be creating something else. I like to keep my hands busy and I love to play with color. My favorite color is aqua blue, but really the only color I have a hard time working with is brown. It just doesn’t speak to me the way bright clear colors do.
I don’t think I have ever followed a pattern, so I am always improvising. Even if the quilt ends up looking very traditional, it’s not because I planned it ahead of time. The idea of planning out a quilt seems like work, and I want quilting to be fun. For me the fun is being surprised as the quilt changes and moves every step of the way.
I began quilting when I was first married in the mid 80s and am self taught from the limited information found in library books at that time. None of the women in my family made quilts even though they knew how to sew but made mostly garments—I’m a first generation quilter. I eventually met a group of older women who quilted and learned many things from them about quilting but resources at that time are not what they are today. To put it in perspective, rotary cutters and rulers were just hitting the scene when I began quilting.
I’ve always been inspired by fabric. I’d find fabrics I loved and just needed to make a quilt from them. Now, since I am a fabric designer it is much the same but I design quilts to show case my fabrics.
I am influenced by what current fabric collection I’m working with and even influenced by the seasons but am the happiest when I am working with a muted but warm color palette. I gravitate toward peach, rust, and spruce green.
I don’t consider myself a modern quilter because my quilt designs based closer to traditional quilting but with a modern flare. I put myself and my quilt designs somewhere in the middle, calling my style, modern-traditional. With that said, I attempt to take a more traditional block and adapt it to fit modern piecing techniques and contemporary design aesthetics. I want to create quilts that will fit into the modern world and be useful and integrate with modern homes, being functional design.