In this new showcase I’m featuring four Modern Quilters that you will love!
I am a Contemporary Abstract Artist currently working in the medium of quilts.
Early in my quilt work I realized that in order to have the palette I wanted, I needed to learn to dye fabric. Over the past 5 years I have studied with Carol Soderlund @carol_sode. Her classes provided me with an extensive base of knowledge. This Fall, I will be finishing 5 years of working with Nancy Crow and her 20 week series of Advanced Composition classes. While Carol showed me how to achieve the colors I wanted, Nancy opened my eyes as to how to effectively use those colors in my art. I have also had two classes with Sheila Frampton Cooper @sheilaframptoncooper. Sheila and Nancy are completely different teachers and create very different art, but the contrast has helped me to switch gears when I want and to recognize what is important to me in my art.
My inspiration is based on color rather than a particular design element or style. I work from a palette of approximately 300 colors. I enjoy using many colors in the same composition and over the years I’ve moved from having a favorite color to discovering what colors can be combined in unexpected and interesting ways.
The pictures that follow show a range of my working methods. I sometimes start with a small Black and White sewn sketch as inspiration and use portions of it to create units in various value combinations. I also enjoy making scrap quilts and love the result of taking pieces of fabric and slowly joining them into a larger composition. Lately, I’ve started to challenge myself by setting limits of only using ruler cuts at 45 or 90 degrees in a limited palette.
Regardless of my plan or inspiration, there are challenges throughout each composition. And despite those challenges, I continue to show up because there is no feeling like the first time I start seeing those sewn pieces of fabric begin to tell me what they are and what they want to be. Thanks to Carolina for this post and thanks for your time!
My name is Diana Bennet, a Canadian Fibre Artist. I have always loved fabric and fibre and for many years I was a weaver who created one of a kind garments and sold them at Art Shows.
In the late 1990’s, I was looking for a new way to express myself and when I noticed all the new ideas and products available to embellish cloth, I knew I had found my “niche”. I had tried traditional quilting but found that I was always trying to change the pattern, Although I love the look of traditional quilts and appreciate all the hand work that goes into creating them, I knew this art form was not for me. Instead, I pursued fibre arts and began experimenting with all the ideas and products available. Originally, I was self taught but gradually joined some guillds and found that it was a wonderful way to share ideas and spend time with like minded people. I have attended many conferences over the years in Canada and the U.S.A and appreciate all the techniques I learned and the people I have met. I have enjoyed the many wonderful instructors that I have taken classes from such as Anna Hergert, Mary Pal and Amanda McAvour to name a few.
Regarding how I work and what I love to do, first and formost I love bright colours and all the excitement they bring. Warm colours such as reds and oranges are my favorites but really I love all colours. Most of the time, I do not have a plan, just an idea that eventually leads me in a direction to experiment with. I usually learn something new even if I’m not happy with the results. I love to create with small bits of fabric, sometimes layering them and cutting them away, exposing the fabrics underneath.
Some of the techniques I use to embellish and create texture are hand stitching, embroidery, French knots being one of my favorites and beading. Other methods and techniques for visual interest are sheer fabrics, painted laces, hand felting, netting, fusing, Angelina fibers, yarns and ribbons. I love any technique that will enhance and embellish the cloth to achieve the result I am looking for. Sometimes wonderful surprises happen that you weren’t expecting and end up being better than the original plan. Lately I have been experimenting with eco printing and cyanotype. You never know what the result will be and for me that is part of the fun.
I can’t ever imagine leaving this art form behind to pursue another as there is always something new to explore and learn.
I am a graphic designer and modern quilter from Winnipeg, Canada. I have been sewing since the late ’90s when I studied fine arts and graphic design at the University of Manitoba. I learned how to sew so that I could combine a variety of textiles with found objects in my projects. I used my sewing skills and my love of fabric to create a trendy hat business that helped me pay my way through university and many years later, I started a baby clothing company called Small Potatoes, which I still operate today. In 2017 I discovered the world of modern quilting. I was instantly smitten by the intersection of shape, colour, and fabric.
I designed the first quilt I ever made by myself, not realizing that there were actual quilt patterns out there. Eventually I discovered the world of patterns and quickly realized that this was something I wanted to do, using my graphic design skills married with my love of modern quilts. In June 2019, I released my first commercial quilt pattern called the Raw Diamond quilt.
I am inspired by the world around me, from shapes in nature and architecture, to bold visual graphics I see in various pop culture media (movies, advertising, packaging, fashion, board games). My design aesthetic is heavily influenced by being a child of the ’80s; my parents’ home furnished with mid-century modern furniture, my mother’s love of Scandinavian textiles, my Sanrio toy collection, Saturday morning cartoons, Archie comics, and record album artwork.
My go-to colour palette is bright and bold and usually includes hot pinks and sunny yellows. Through the design process, I swap different colours in and out until the overall palette makes my heart sing. I love to play with colours, seeing where a design can go with different effects such as transparency and contrast. I also enjoy pairing beautiful prints with coordinating solids to honour my love of prints while giving the eye a bit of a resting place with the solids.
I lean towards symmetry and balance in my designs, so I tend to design block-based quilts. I find that during the piecing process it can be very rewarding to focus on one block at a time, knowing that it is a small part of the whole quilt. Building on traditional quilt blocks I have fun swapping out elements for modern shapes such as curves. For instance, swapping out a half square triangle for a Drunkard’s Path curve can really change the feel of a block in a surprising way. With every quilt that I design, I challenge myself to try something new, whether it is with the overall quilt design, the fabrics I use, a construction technique or the quilting process. By following this personal challenge I find that my style is ever-evolving into something that truly represents who I am.
Somewhere between 25 to 30 years ago I was in the public library looking for books on weaving when I stumbled upon a book titled, “The Quilters: Women and Domestic Art, An Oral History” which tells the stories of female pioneers from Texas and New Mexico at the turn of the century, and the profound role that quilting played in their lives. Upon reading the narratives, I became enthralled by the emotional aspects of quilting, (frankly, at that point the visual aspects kind of bored me) and thus, wanting a similar emotional connection, began my own journey.
Self taught, first in the fundamental basics of traditional quilt making, I quickly embraced a more improvisational approach after seeing works by artists such as Nancy Crow and Gwen Marston, as I found their quilts to be wonderfully visually exciting. Later my mind would once again be blown by seeing the works of the Gees Bend Quilters, which further clarified and solidified how I approach quiltmaking. I take pleasure in having an ongoing dialogue with the work, and enjoy not knowing what a piece will look like until completed, which keeps me engaged throughout the process.
My quilts tend to be small in scale as I am restless by nature and often become curious about the next thing that pops in my mind before completing the first. Working small helps me to process my ideas in a more timely manner, as I find that when a muse visits, it often doesn’t stick around waiting for me to make time and room for her. And that inspiration is most often born from the rural countryside that surrounds me. The lines and shapes found in the barns reminds me of patchwork, and the plowed lines in the fields remind me of rows of quilt stitches. I take a lot of landscape photos and have begun to also keep sketchbooks, which gives another layer to the process of creating. My favorite fabrics to use are shot cottons, thrifted men’s shirts and vintage grain sacks. All of them lend a feel that is more utilitarian in nature which is important to me. I prefer solid colors and cloth that isn’t pristine. I like to see imperfections in the weave. I have been working more and more with those vintage grain sacks, which come in various shades of white and off-white and are often mottled and stained. They mimic the aged patina and visual feel of the old white barns, which are my favorites.
I strive to make well constructed work, and always hope that something will resonate with the viewer, spark a fond memory or awaken a feeling in them. To connect in such a way with another reminds me that I am on the right path and is a gift that I am very grateful for.