We’re on to the second week of our celebration of Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge. For those of you just joining us, each day for twelve (business) days, we’re interviewing one of the talented quilt artists who contributed to the book. For more information on the book, click here. For more information on the Twelves, or to join them on their current group challenge, visit their website.
Location: Crofton, Maryland
How do you describe your own quilting? Has being part of the Twelves group changed your perspective on your own work?
I’m happy to tell people that I’m a fiber artist. I usually add that I “create collages with fabric and stitching.” I think that suggests a different image in their mind than “quilt.” In the three years we’ve worked on the Twelve by Twelve challenge, I’ve really grown artistically. I have a set of techniques, colors and imagery that I use regularly and these elements give my work its own personality. In addition, being a part of such a talented, supportive, inspiring and enthusiastic group of artists has dramatically changed my perspective. It’s given me confidence and motivation! I think we are all thrilled to call ourselves “authors” and we are so proud of the new book!
If you could have changed one of your quilts from Twelve by Twelve, which one would it have been, and why?
In fact, I did change one of my quilts from the Colorplay series just recently. Shhhh. I haven’t even updated our group blog and website with the revised version! When I shared my quilt for the Rusty challenge on our reveal day, I was pleased but I knew it needed just a few more details to balance out all the elements. I just couldn’t figure out what to add. Sometimes I need to just ponder a piece for a while. Deadlines do not always allow for this luxury. Our group has been committed to the idea that we don’t have any strict rules. (Obviously, we stick to our specific size and we use the themes as inspiration.)
We’ve agreed not to entirely re-do a piece after the reveal day, I felt a little tweaking would be acceptable. I wanted to emphasize the sweeping arch line by drawing the eye up to the center top of the quilt, so I finally decided to add some square sequins. Once I added that bit of bling at the top, it needed a complement in another area of the quilt, so I added a few more sequins just above the key.
Check out the before and after pictures. It’s really such a tiny change, but I think it’s an improvement.
You’re in the middle of the second group challenge, with a Colorplay theme. How did the first challenge affect the work you’ve done for the second one?
I am surprised to say that it’s very different. Using a word as the theme for the first set of quilts usually put a pretty specific idea in my mind. This was particularly true of the themes where we had a concrete word like chocolate, chairs or windows. But, even with themes like Identity and Community, I usually had some kind of format or image in mind. With the Colorplay series, it’s wide open. The format or image could be anything at all as long as it’s created with the colors from the challenge. This is quite liberating, really. Recently, I’ve made a few quilts with long bare branches or tree trunks. It would be interesting to use this same shape in any color palette. In fact, the current Brown/Sage/Blue palette could totally work for tree branches! Even the pink palette could have made a lovely setting for a sunset silhouette with bare branches.
I love paint over stitching! Several of the twelves use this technique, but Nikki has really made it her own. She uses beautiful free motion quilting motifs over plain fabric then adds paint. The paint emphasizes the lofty areas and the stitches stands out even more. I have used this technique a few times, but I am still much more likely to use stitching over painting rather than painting over stitching.
How was writing your portion of the book similar and different to blogging about the quilts as you made them?
One of the biggest differences in my work in the past few months is that my family and I moved from Texas to Maryland. I created the entire Theme series, several of the Colorplay series and all the work on the book while I lived in Texas. Now, I have a new studio space, new experiences and new inspiration for both my artwork and my blog writing. It’s winter here in Maryland and as I look out into our backyard, I see beautiful, stark, tall trees with bare branches. (Thus the recurring branches in my current work!)