Our Artist Profile this month is:
Ann Arbor, Michigan
How long have you been sewing and when did you begin making art quilts? I learned to sew from my mother, who helped me make clothes for my dolls, then, later, for me. My grandmothers taught me to knit and crochet, and, over the years, I used all these skills to make things for myself, my family, and my home.
My first quilt was a baby quilt for my son. He was also the recipient of additional quilts (all traditional patterns) as he grew. My first art quilt was made in 2004 after I took some workshops at the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild's weekend retreat (called Quilt University then.) In the quilt, I combined all the techniques I had been introduced to at QU: dyeing, texturizing fabric with Tyvek, and stack and slice fabric mixing. I had also started to watch Alex Anderson's TV show, Simply Quilts, at about that time, and that first quilt included many of the techniques I learned form her show: chenille strips, wired petals, free motion stitching, applique (hand and machine.) See description of "Bouquet for QU-2003" below.
Describe your art and its inspiration. My art is evolving - I'm trying to find my own style. It is more abstract than realistic. The fabric is often the inspiration. The interaction of shapes, patterns, colors, line and layers is what I focus on.
I have worked in several art media: watercolor, acrylics, serigraphs, but working with fabric is now foremost. An early influence in art quilts came form the books of Ruth B McDowell. Her techniques appealed to me because they combined careful piecing and any level of abstraction of the source idea you wished. Her fearless combinations of fabrics was also a big influence. Another important inspiration came from Rosemary Eichorn's book, The Art of Fabric Collage. Her use of a variety of fabrics and her raw edge applique methods were very liberating for me. I've taken many workshops and continue to try to learn additional ways of working.
Where do you do most of your artwork? I work in a spare bedroom that I have filled to bursting with fabric and books. I'm working on reorganizing the laundry room so I can do some dyeing.
What are your goals? I want to create more of my own fabric using the new methods I've sampled recently: soy wax batik, gelatin monoprinting, screen printing, and painting. I also want to continue to enter shows - the deadlines help me focus.
Do you teach, lecture, curate or have a business of your artwork? No.
Where can your work be seen? None of my work is currently on exhibit. I had a piece in the Threadlines 2008 exhibit at Missouri State University Art & Design Center in Springfield, MO. Another quilt has been traveling for two years with the SAQA Points of View exhibit. It just returned from the William Bonifas Fine Art Center in Escanaba, MI.
What are your interests outside of art? My other interests include gardening, cooking, and bridge.
The quilt in Mary's picture above is called, Bouquet for QU-2003. It is 24 x 28 inches and was created in 2004.
Description/Technique: Many of the petals and leaves are three-dimensional. Some have wire satin-stitched to them and can be bent into various positions. The snail shell was texturized with Tyvek that was stitched to the back and then heated until it wrinkled the fabric.
37" x 48"
37" x 48"
This quilt commemorates our family's trip to Latvia. I used Ruth B. McDowell's pattern for the sweet peas and then used her design methods to adapt my photos of the cathedral and the surrounding buildings for the background.
39" x 49"
39" x 49"