Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our Michigan SAQA profile this month is:
Carolyn King
Ann Arbor, Michigan

How long have you been sewing and when did you begin making art quilts.

I've been interested in sewing and needlework since I was a child. An aunt taught me about crochet and cross stitch and my mother had a sewing machine that I used even before I knew how to sew. Home economics in seventh grade taught me the basics and when I got married one of the first things I wanted was a sewing machine. I made garments, embroidered and crocheted but didn't make my first quilt until I was in my mid twenties, a baby quilt as a gift. I made a completely hand made quilt in the 1980's but it wasn't until I retired in 2002 that I began making art quilts.

Describe your art and its inspiration.

Caught up in the women's movement of the sixties and seventies, I didn't take needlework seriously for a long time. I continued to do it but considered it a vestige of the past and didn't give it the respect it deserved. Just before I retired from a career in social work in 2002, I joined a group of women knitters and through this group of talented women, was re-introduced to the world of fiber art, including quilting. I explored lots of things, felting, shibori, beading, fabric dying, weaving and, of course, knitting. After seeing a segment on portraits in fabric on Simply Quilts, I decided I wanted to see if I could do that. I made a portrait of my dog and was so taken by the process that I tried one of my grandson. The rest is history. I found I loved doing the quilts and since then have done mostly nature inspired pieces. I find that subject endlessly inspiring. I work from photos, taken by me or by my husband. Almost all of my subject matter comes from my own garden and back yard.

I can't emphasize too much how my relationships with other fiber artists and quiltmakers have encouraged and influenced me. They helped me explore, join guilds and groups and provided feedback and support.

Where do you do most of your artwork?

I work in a small studio space that I've carved out of one end of the utility room in my basement. It's small and not ideal but has a nice southern window, a design wall and I make it work. I'd love to have a bigger, dedicated space to work.

What are your goals?

My goals for this year are to enter one or two juried shows, to develop a better work space, and to devote more time to my work. I'm excited by the direction my work is taking and more confident of my style.

Do you teach, lecture, curate, or have a business of your art work?

I've just begun to sell my art work. As a result, I've just created a website, had my work professionally photographed, and had business cards made. These were things that I had on my list of goals for this year but selling some pieces sped up the process. I wanted to create a more professional presence but how this will all fit with selling my work is yet to be seen. I haven't taught, lectured or curated.

Where can your work be seen?

My work can be seen on my website, , and in upcoming Ann Arbor Fiberarts guild shows at the Ann Arbor Library and University of Michigan Hospital. Paradigm, an art quilt group that I belong to, plans shows at the Northville Art House and Riverside Art Gallery in Ypsilanti. I have two quilts touring with the Michigan Quilt Artist Invitational.

What are your interests outside of art?

I love reading, dance, gardening, the arts of all kinds, genealogy, animals and politics.


November Dogwood

To see more of Carolyn's work, visit her web site at:

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