I’m a fiber artist who’s happiest surrounded by piles of brightly colored fabric. My materials are hand-dyed fabric and multicolored thread, and I use them to combine scraps of color into lines and shapes to create abstract contemporary quilts for the wall.
Inspiration comes from many different places—traditional quilting patterns like the Log Cabin; visits to museums to study other artists, especially modern abstract expressionists; and the natural world just outside my studio on a lake in Reston, VA, near Washington, DC. In my studio I have my fabrics and threads loosely organized by color, but when I’m in the middle of a project the room becomes a wild riot of possibilities as I search for just the right color or shape to give voice to the design in my head.
My contemporary quilts focus on color and texture. Probably the reason I’m a fiber artist rather than a painter or sculptor is because fabric allows me to play with colors and shapes to create an interesting design, and then gives me an additional opportunity to add rich texture with pebbles, spirals, fans, and waves in the quilting stitches.
My style is improvisational, where the design evolves organically without a pattern so that each decision about color and shape influences the next. It’s a little like putting a jigsaw puzzle together but without the picture on the front of the box to guide me. I don’t sketch anything out ahead of time or mark the stitching lines before I sew, and I like not knowing exactly what the design will look like from the start so I can be open to “happy accidents” where lines and shapes emerge that I could not have planned ahead of time.
All of the stitching is done on the sewing machine, but it is entirely hand driven. There’s no computer program or marking ahead of time, just free-motion stitching the designs in my head with my needle and thread. In my quilts, the stitching is not just a way to hold the three layers together. The texture I create is an integral part of the overall design.
Creating with fabric and thread is an endlessly fascinating process for me. There is always something new to explore—a new stitch, a new color combination, a new type of fabric.
I’m happy to offer Folt Bolt subscribers a 15% discount on purchases from my Etsy shop during the month of January 2015.
Just use the coupon FOLTBOLT2015 at checkout.
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