My mother's mother taught me basic quilting. My mother made all my clothes when I was young and encouraged me to sew. When I was a little older, I started making my own clothes as well as outdoor wear, curtains and chair covers. Growing up I was exposed to many different art media and techniques pottery, photography, weaving, drawing, water colors, basic jewelry making, printing and papermaking.
In 1990 I took my first formal quilting class through the continuing education program in Merrimack, NH. This was a basic quilting class - cutting, piecing, points, binding and assembly. I learned the skills necessary to recreate an antique quilt given to me when I was married. This class reconnected me with the skills my grandmother taught me and gave new direction to my creativity.
Since the class in 1990 I have learned to apply modern color and style to each piece I make. I find my stimulation in fabric color and graphic image. I carefully design each piece, taking into account all the forces that must come together in a work of art. What I found out very quickly is that I don't care much about points; my quilting techniques are somewhat "pointless.
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In 2000 I attended the Jinny Beyer Seminar in Hilton Head, SC. As a teacher I felt I needed to work on my quilt basics and this was the place to do it. I was exposed to many different types of quilter's and quilt teachers and found it fascinating how differently everyone was approaching the same techniques in both hand piecing and hand quilting.
I was lucky enough to attend the Biennial Symposium held in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 2001 . I had a chance to take classes with Gloria Loughman and Sue Wademan and I got to see many incredible art quilts that we don't get to see in the shows in the eastern part of the country. Many of the pieces were from artist in Japan, Australia , New Zealand ,Europe and The west coast of the US . I learned many techniques and methods involving all aspects of the process of making a quilt. Many I had never tried before or even thought of using. It was an eye opening experience!
I have taken classes through my guild and those classes have opened up a new world of possibilities. From Vermont Kathie Alyce showed a new way to do curves. Mary Kay Ryan taught us how to marbelize fabric. Shirley Banks who is also from Vermont showed us how to use a sweatshirt as a base for a quilted jacket. On my own I experimented with using timtex for bowls, fiber embellishments, woven quilts and free motion quilting. I recently took a class in paper piecing and discovered I have no patience for it, even though the results are impressive. But I learned a number of great tricks to make paper piecing easier that I can pass on to my students.
In the last couple of years I have been experimenting with wearable art. I made clothes when I was in my teens and twenties and I hated cutting out the patterns . I discovered that cutting patterns out of "fabric" I created was gratifying and took the tedium out of the pattern cutting process ! I continue to experiment with a variety of backings and battings for my "fabric" pattern pieces, using everything from sweatshirt material to lightweight fusible interfacing. Wearable art is my brave new world!
In 2007 I began doing Wearable Challenges and submitting my work for shows that had a Wearable category . I won my guilds wearable challenge in 2007 and two of my vests were accepted into the Machine Quilters Expo in Manchester, NH for the 2008 show. I Modeled both vests at the Machine Quilters Expo Fashion Show on Thursday Night April 7,2008.The Navajo Ladies vest won 3rd place in the Casual Vest category. This year I entered a woven vest at the Machine Quilters Expo and the Fiber Fiesta in Albuquerque, NH. I won a third place at MQX in the vest category, but no ribbon at the Fiber Fiesta.
For 2008/09 I ran the wearable/wall challenge for my guild and it was very interesting what the members came up with. The 2009 challenge was called: Recycle, reduce, reuse, The members contributed to the challenge by bringing in their leftover fabric,batting,used clothing and other fabric like material (tyvek,etc.. ).Their were only 9 rave souls who accepted the challenge,but what they created was amazing! Next year's challenge is called "Thinking outside the Box" A 3-D Challenge.
This summer I taught campers at a girls camp to marble fabric using shaving cream. It was awesome and I helped the campers to make woven book marks out of their marbled fabric. I have marbleized fabric before using a cellulose medium, but shaving cream is so easy and the results are very satisfying.
My work as the former Studio Art Quilt Associate representative for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont gave me a chance to meet, work with and learn from the top artists in art quilting in the United States. It was and still is exciting and inspiring to see other artist's work and to have my own work published in the SAQA Portfolio 12 & 16. Being a part of this group boosted my creativity and motivated me to do more as an art quilter.