Monday, September 26, 2011

By Way of Introduction....

The new year, for me, has always seemed to begin in September. I know I’m not alone in this feeling: the anticipation of new classes, new subjects, new projects; the hope that everything will go well – and maybe a bit better than last year; and of course always the anxiety that comes with trying something new.

My new activity this September is acting as SAQA co-rep for Michigan, along with Laurie Ceesay who introduced herself on this blog in August. Now it’s my turn to write and introduce myself, and believe me, there is plenty of anxiety associated with that new task!

My name is Anne Hiemstra, and I’m now a fiber artist living and working in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and (for several lovely months each year) in Fort Myers, Florida. I have lived in Michigan all my life and attended the University of Michigan. I practiced law, specializing in commercial real estate, until I retired in 2006.

So you may be wondering where in that background there was any training in the visual arts. Well, there wasn’t much. I was one of those kids who couldn’t draw a straight line (although I was very good in geometry), and I didn’t take any kind of art class beyond sixth grade. But I did love fabric and yarn and textures, so I sewed many of my own clothes in high school and college and also learned to knit and embroider.

I also have always loved quilts. When I was growing up,we used quilts made by my grandmother and aunts. I wanted to learn to quilt, but somehow got the idea that all piecing and quilting had to be done by hand, and I was convinced that I would never have the time and patience to learn all that stitching, much less make a whole quilt!

But in 2000 I took finally took the plunge and enrolled in a quilting course that included piecing, applique, English paper piecing, and quilting, all by hand. I was completely hooked – although it didn’t take me long to buy a sewing machine and learn to do the piecing and quilting by machine. Hand applique, however, remained one of my great loves.

I enjoyed making traditional quilts but I never felt that I was making my own quilt, even when I devised my own patterns. “Quilting Arts” magazine introduced me to art quilting, and two workshops with Pamela Allen at Fabrications (2006 and 2007) convinced me that this was what I wanted to do. Since then I’ve attended workshops with Laura Cater-Woods, Fran Skiles, Cherilyn Martin and Els Van Baarle, and Laura Wasilewski. I’ve exhibited at a number of shows across the country, and even tried my hand at teaching a few times. I’m a member of Running With Scissors here in Michigan and of Art Quilters Unlimited in Florida.

I make art quilts because I love working with fabric and thread. I love texture and color and learning about design and composition. I love free motion work but also hand stitching. I don’t have any good explanation of my work - artist statements are always agony – so I’ll just show you two of my favorite pieces (both made, coincidentally for the Michigan Quilt Artist Invitational) and let them speak for themselves.

I look forward to serving as a representative for SAQA. Let me or Laurie know if we can answer any questions about the association.