In this new showcase I’m featuring four Modern Quilters that you will love!
I’m Christina and the creator behind Kindred Quilt Co. Born and raised in Texas, I’m a country girl who has always been a creative. My quilting journey began in 2013 when I was pregnant with my son. It started out of a need for nursery bedding but not being able to afford it. My grandmother gifted me her mother’s Singer 401a to help me get started, and I instantly became hooked. I practiced for hours on that machine and eventually taught myself how to quilt.
I then learned of this rich heritage of sewing that had been in my family for generations. Not only was my Great Grandmother a quilter, but so was her Grandmother, who I am also named after (Christina ‘Tyna’). I was told many stories of their quilty adventures and felt like we were kindred spirits. Being her namesake and carrying on this tradition of quilting led me to name my business Kindred Quilt Co.
I’ve been on a journey to discover what my niche is, and I’m not entirely sure I’ve found it yet. I made a goal for 2021 to grow more confident in my work. That’s the great thing about art! It’s a journey and doesn’t need to have an end. I’m constantly inspired by my childhood and the Texas hill country, but I’ve been looking to cityscapes, my architecture background, and recent travels to shape my most recent works. I’m experimenting with colors and textures that I normally would have turned away from. I love working with scraps, and next, I want to push myself with second-hand sourced fabrics and limited palettes. As far as design elements, I typically like simple shapes and retro tones, but I’m learning to step outside of my comfort zone and embrace my creativity – taking vintage fabrics and meshing them with traditional blocks, retro palettes with modern patterns, or soft prints against loud, pointed shapes. The options are limitless! There’s a freedom that comes with letting go of what’s “normal” that’s been extremely eye-opening and has allowed me to find the confidence in my work that I needed.
My mother taught me to sew when I was about 10, but it was a visit to a fabric store at about age 20 and a bag of scraps I found there that began my quilting journey. I had no idea how to quilt but I taught myself how first with a log cabin, then a trip around the world and then an Irish chain quilt. After graduate school (physiology not art!), in Montreal where I grew up, I moved to the Boston area and began a 35 year long career as a scientist and educator in academia. In the late 80’s and early 90’s I took many night classes in various art mediums (mostly pastels) but it was a visit from my mother (also a
quilter) in 1999 and trips with her to a variety of local quilt shows along with her gift of a rotary cutter and mat that put me back on the road to quilting.
At first, I made quilts that I saw in magazines, but in 2008, a week at Quilting By the Lake (QBL) took me in a different direction. At QBL, I saw quilting being treated as art and I knew that I was no longer going to be satisfied making someone else’s quilt, but needed to design my own. The next year I returned to QBL (this time with my mother!) and took a class with Elizabeth Barton called “Working in a Series”. I credit that class, and subsequent classes with Rosalie Dace, Jane Sassaman, Cynthia Corbin, Sue Benner, and others, with putting me on the path I am on now. At QBL, I also learned about SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) and all the many resources available to its members.
Almost from the beginning I have used value washes in my quilts. I like pure colors and tints and the luminosity that can be gained from using value gradations. It is why I continue to dye (or paint) my own fabrics. My work is primarily abstract in nature. I love grids and all the various ways that they can be combined and I love how curved edges look in the setting of a grid. In recent years, fusing has become a mainstay of my practice. I retired from academia in January 2020 and now devote myself full time to art quilting.
The year is 2001. We’ve just rented the movie Stepmom (Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon) and I’m bawling, “I want to make a quilt from my baby’s clothes!” My first quilt was just that, titled “Her First Ten Years”. The entire quilt was pieced using monofilament (!!) because the packaging said Quilters Thread. We’ve come a long way baby, though this quilt still has a place of honor in my sewing space.
Soon after, I signed up for my first class and I still treat myself to technique classes often!
I started teaching traditional quilting in 2008 and then during 2015, I became a TuffetSource affiliate and taught more than 100 Tuffet classes in New England.
My favorite quilting memory was spending a week at a highly memorable retreat with Master Quilter Violet Craft, learning to design Foundation Paper Piecing patterns. (Modern Quilt Masters, hosted by Modern Quilt Guild.) It was there that I met my first improv quilters who became friends and true inspirations to me.
During Covid, I sewed all the time, took a handful of incredible virtual classes (thank you teachers, for adapting to online quilting classes!) and had the time to create and sew quilts that had been ideas swirling in my head for years. I love the IG community of fibers artists and quilters!
Cecilia and Mercè are better known as ‘Desedamas’, which in Spanish means ‘more than silk’. 22 years ago they started silk painting, initially as a hobby, but pretty soon they realized that this is what they wanted to do in life. Whilst still very young they learnt sewing with their mother and decided to combine silk painting and sewing. In 2006 they emerged in the patchwork and quilting world, very quickly exhibiting nationally and internationally, winning many awards around the world. In 2016 both sisters received the title of Fine Arts Masters.
Although they each work with different types of painted silk, both maintain their own personal style: Mercè works mainly with organza, playing with transparencies and layers in a very delicate way, whilst Cecilia likes to work with textures, using different qualities of silk and machine quilting them heavily. Even though their approach differs, their work has a common synergy and they ‘fit’ beautifully together.
Both sisters were initially self-taught but later attended classes in silk painting as well as patchwork and quilting; both still believe there is a lot to learn out there and they enjoy sharing experiences and ideas with other artists. Their depth study of what they do is what differentiates them from other silk painters and they continue to very carefully examine all the possibilities and techniques of this art form, creating an ‘intimacy’ and dialogue with their chosen media. Sometimes they even ‘lock’ themselves in their studio to experiment with other personal techniques. Combining all this with art quilting gives them a very different dimension in the artistic world.
Furthermore, the sisters discovered that they like to teach and enjoy relaying their expertise to others. It’s commonly said, “if you want to learn, teach”, and teaching requires a lot of organization. Preparing classes and structuring them well is very important if you are to successfully relay your knowledge and as Cecilia and Mercè always say, you also always learn from your students.