I had been an art major in college and then I stopped doing art to raise a family of five sons. While raising children you put artwork aside. When my youngest started school I started teaching needlepoint. When I took that as far as I could creatively, I started looking for something else to feed me creatively. One of my daughters in law signed us up for a quilt class. I told her I didn't really like thread and she said, "Just get in the car." So I did.
I'll never forget standing in the quilt shop that day, looking around at all the fabric. My heart started to pound looking at all those colors. I realized that when you raise boys, you don't sew. It must have been 25 years since I was in a fabric store. I think there used to be polyester and double-knit and brown--that's what I thought of when I thought of fabric stores and it killed any ideas of doing anything with fabric. When I walked in there, a whole new world opened up for me. That was 11 years ago, just after my 60th birthday--I was done parenting--it was my time now--and I was looking for something totally absorbing and exciting that would satisfy that artistic place in my soul that needed it. That's how I started quilting.
My work is inspired by a visit to an art museum or a trip that I've taken or perhaps it just takes a piece of fabric. I never know when I start to make a quilt what it's going to be. I don't know if it's going to be traditional or what--it just takes the synchronicity of some little episode that triggers an idea. For instance, a month ago I was in a quilt shop and I saw a piece of fabric that said "Gracie" on it--I have a granddaughter named Grace--so I bought it and brought it home and that quilt went together very quickly and it was a no-brainer. Another example--last summer my husband and I were lucky enough to take a trip to Finland where I bought a bunch of Marimekko fabric. That's been the inspiration for lots of quilts that I made. I was also in a museum recently and saw a display of lots of big, bold florals--those images will surely show up somewhere in my quilts sometime. Inspiration is very elusive and there's just no set formula to it.
"When it comes to fabric, more is better and excess is never enough."
I make quilts because I have to...I honor my Creator through my quilts. I make quilts because I like to...if others like them, all the better, but I would make my quilts even if I had to stack them hidden in a closet.
When I teach a class the subject of the class is secondary. What I try to do is talk about how I use design.
Pure color is that color that no black or white has been added to. For example red, if you add black you get maroon, if you add white you get pink.
Because I use so much pure color I use black and white. The black and white fabrics give your eye a place to rest. Then your eye can go back to looking at more color.
I define value as the amount of light or dark that is in a fabric. I have my students separate their fabrics for a quilt into three piles, light, dark, and medium. Medium fabrics can either be light or dark, it's what it's next to.
If everything is the same value it becomes mushy.
I demonstrate the importance of scale. I do this by having students put large scale, medium scale and small scale fabrics next to one another.
It becomes mundane when you only use fabrics with the same scale. The fabric is sparked when you use it next to one with a different scale.