August SAQA Michigan Profile:
Ann Arbor, Michigan
How long have you been sewing and when did you begin to make art quilts?
I began sewing while in Junior High School and made my clothes and those of my family for many years. I hand pieced my first bed quilt at age 16, using scraps from my sewing and I continued to do traditional functional quilts for many years always using traditional patterns. Following my retirement in 2000, I decided to see if I could create my own designs which gradually led to art quilting.
Describe your art and its inspiration.
My art and its design takes many forms. Some of my pieces are quite contemporary and abstract. For others I draw my inspiration from nature. Recently I have been dyeing much of my fabric, often utilizing various Shibori techniques. This has led me to a number of pieces that employ hand dyed fabrics in simple designs which have been heavily stitched and embellished with beading. Even though my current work is more contemporary, I still hand quilt all of my pieces.
Where do you do most of your artwork?
My studio is a small room at my home and this is where I do my design and construction. My dyeing is done in the basement and my hand quilting, stitching and embellishment are done on the sofa while I watch movies on TV!
What are your goals?
My goals are to explore many different techniques and styles, to entertain myself, to share my work through exhibits both locally and nationally. I am blessed by not having to support myself or even the expenses of my work – having a very supportive husband. So while I do occasionally sell a piece and/or do a commission, this is not my focus.
Where can your work be seen?
My work can be seen in various locations in Southeast Michigan. I occasionally have a one-person show, but also exhibit through two fiber groups of which I am a member: Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild and Paradigm Art Quilters.
What are your interests outside of art?
My education and early professional career was in music where I was an organist, church choir director and public school music teacher. Music continues to be important to me and I attend concerts regularly. I have also restored 5 old homes that had been badly neglected as well as created extensive perennial gardens for each of them.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Gretchen and look for her work in venues throughout South East Michigan. Here are two of Gretchen's art quilts for you to enjoy.