My first exposure to fabric as an art form was watching my grandmother and her friends sitting around a quilting frame, hand quilting a large quilt.
I remember the women talking and laughing and having a great time. We were living in Kenova, West Virginia with my dad’s parents while my dad was on an overseas tour, compliment of the US Marine Corps. I was six years old.
My own journey began in 1978 in Colorado Springs when a neighbor invited me to take a quilting class with her at a local quilt shop. I made a block in the Ohio Star pattern and created a pillow. Hand cut, hand pieced and hand quilted. I discovered I absolutely loved working with fabric.
Then, as we all know, life happens as we are making plans to play with our fabric. I returned to the workforce and resumed a career in banking. Almost magically, it was 1990. Revisiting a local quilt store, I discovered the rotary cutter, the cutting mat and a selection of fabrics that we could only dream about in 1978. I purchased a pattern of a baby quilt for my sister-in-law Tammy and some fabric and drove home with joy in my soul.
It was during the construction of that baby quilt that I realized being a traditional quilter was probably not my calling. I could not stop myself, I immediately began changing the pattern, the instructions went out the window and although the quilt was lovely it did not look anything like the photo on the pattern.
I have not used a pattern since and I am always, always looking for different and unique ways to utilize fabric. Whenever I visit my local quilt shop and see the beautiful commercial fabrics that are available today I am totally inspired. My head fills with “what ifs” and I am on my way again, heart singing with joy.
I love using fabric and thread to create art, whether it be a warm cushy quilt on the bed (I just finished hand quilting a quilt that contains fabric I hand stained using tea bags!) or a piece of art on the wall. I am continually experimenting with ways to use fabric and thread in art and I will try any tool or medium that I feel will enhance the project, provided it is non-toxic, fabric safe and will endure the test of time. Recently, I have begun to combine fabric, fabric paint, thread, paper and mixed media. What fun!
I am part quilter, part storyteller, part artist, on a quest to use that wonderful medium called fabric to create something interesting. Whether it be creating a bed quilt or a piece of fabric art, I love it all!