Monday, January 31, 2011

February 2011 Artist Profile

Beatrice Hughes
East Lansing, Michigan

How long have you been sewing and when did you begin making art quilts?
Sewing was part of my rearing. I used my mother’s fabric scraps to make doll clothes for my and my niece’s dolls. Home economics formalized my sewing and quilting sprang upon me when I discovered and purchased a box of sewing notions and Mountain Mist quilt batting at an estate sale. Once I found that batting with a Lone Star quilt pattern wrapped around it, quilting gradually grew into a passion. Yes, my first quilt was the Lone Star and I made two—but oh, the centers, how they peaked! Now that I’ve been sewing for over 50 years, my centers lay flat. I am both an art and traditional quilter. My first “art” quilt came together in 1990 and my philosophy is that a well made traditional pattern is also a piece of art.
Describe your art and its inspiration.
My art is inspired by graphic design, in which I have a degree. I like line and texture and love color. Many of my designs begin by using computer graphics, where I can test shapes, colors, change arrangements and print patterns. Photos also play a part in my work and I take most of the photos that appear in my books.
Where do you do most of your artwork?
I have been blessed with and appreciate space dedicated to quilting, sewing and an occasional craft project. There are no picturesque views or finished ceilings but my well lighted large basement area houses myriad fabrics, tools and supplies. My old model 2010 electronic Singer sewing machine and my new 2010 Janome Memory Craft model 11000, which includes quilting motifs, get along fine. I now realize how much I like having two machines. An 8’ x 8’ pin-up board is an important spot where I pin quilt designs before sewing. The 4’ by 8’ work table, covered which cutting mats, facilitates cutting, piecing and design layout. Other quilters also gather from time-to-time to work on projects. A 2’ x 5’ ironing board, which my husband made (he has helped quilting friends make a similar board), is ideal for ironing a full width of fabric. An office upstairs is where I physically draw, design, and publish on computer and work on business related tasks. It has a pleasant view where I can watch birds at the feeder.
What are your goals?
Striving to improve my quilting and computer skills is an ongoing goal. I am still thinking about 2011 quilting resolutions and usually vow to complete a project that is in the design stages and sometimes I get that done. My next quilting book, which is in progress, will continue to keep me busy. That can take so much time that art and traditional quilting both take a back seat. And of course this year, I want to get my recent, “Crazy for Lemoyne,” quilting book into more hands. The web site, FullCirclePublications, features this book. Creating a photo gallery of my quilts to post on a web site is another task on my to-do list. Learning more about digitizing is another goal so that I can create and stitch my own quilting motifs.
Do you teach, lecture, curate or have a business of your artwork?
For many years teaching has been a part of what I do. Four wives of Japanese visiting professors were my first students and I taught basic quilting skills. Each student got a “quilting diploma” to frame after finishing their project. At least one of these women went on to teach in Japan. In 1991 I began co-teaching a group of MSU women who initially came together to make a scholarship raffle quilt. After completing that project, we continued on to learn new techniques and to make and donate quilts to International Aid and MSU Safe Place. That group has grown to about twenty members. I continue to belong to this group and teach on occasion. I have also taught at local quilt shops and at the MSU Adult Evening College. In 2009 I gave a trunk show and slide presentation to the Roanoke, Virginia Star Quilters.
Where can your work be seen?
Lou Anna K. Simon is the 20th president of Michigan State University. To commemorate the Sesquicentennial of MSU and honor women, like her, who contributed to the development MSU, I steered and worked with women in the MSU quilting group to make the photo quilt that hangs outside the president’s office. The foyer of MSU Safe Place houses another quilt. More recently I had a quilt in the SAQA “A Sense of Humor” travelling show with venues in places like Houston, California, Chicago and New York. This quilt can be seen in the SAQA publication that features all the quilts in that show. Three of my quilts can be seen in my book, “Crazy for Lemoyne.” And some are featured here.
What are your interests outside of art?
I just finished a wood working project (with a little help). I have strips of fabric in a rainbow of colors that were part of past quilting projects. I made a decorative wall-mounted hanging board with 7 long dowels. I now have my fabric strips hung by color. I also play trumpet in the Meridian Community Band, at church and sing in choir.

My best wishes to all quilters, Beatrice


80.5" x 85.5"

Broken Hearts

45" x 45"

Ties at the O ffice

29.5" x41"

Crazy Patch Lemoyne

52.75" x 52.25"

We hope you enjoyed meeting Beatrice and seeing some of her work! Be sure to check out her book 'Crazy for Lemoyne' which can be purchased here.

If there is a SAQA Michigan member you'd like to see in one of our monthly artist profiles, just email us at

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