In this new showcase I’m featuring four Modern Quilters that you will love!
I grew up in a creative home where design was everywhere, but not the domestic arts. I sort of stumbled into those myself.
After a study abroad program where I spent a summer learning silk painting and batik in one of my classes in Florence, Italy, I became a professional textile designer for 6 years. With the high tech design taking my energy during the days, I came home and found I needed low tech art making to help me feel truly creative…My personal art form of choice was collage, and I began to use needle and thread along with recycled paper and designer fabric samples from work.I had someone ask me if I had ever wanted to learn how to make a quilt. “Yeah, that’s on my bucket list!” – The Modern Quilt Guild had just started a few months before that in LA, so I joined the LAMQG before I had even made a quilt. It was there that new friends and visiting teachers taught me everything I needed to know to get started as a quilter. Fast forward. In the past 12 years, I’ve made over 500 quilts. And after many years my quilts have finally intersected with my collages to where my work is both collage AND quilt.
I am inspired by the beauty and color of the natural world and cultures around the world. The one thing I love more than making art is travel. Both my collages and textile pieces use bright colors, and black, gray and white too, but I often work in analogous color schemes as I like to explore pushing specific colors in different directions. I have a passion for using discarded or ugly materials – coaxing them into a new purpose of expressing beauty. I almost exclusively work in improvisational work patterns and I love curved piecing more than anything else. Lots of design samples – even vinyl, wallpaper and leather – make it into my quilted art pieces and I make a lot of memory quilts from clothing as well.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and I love the combination of natural beauty and urban grit that makes up LA – I work from a studio in Koreatown and draw constant inspiration from the diversity and people of my city. I also have a new series I am working on using half square triangles and textiles from around the world that explores the narratives of race in America. (@havebeenandhopetobe)
I’ve always been a maker of sorts, but I sort of stumbled into quilting. At the time, around 2008, I was working in New York City very near the Purl Soho store, and I fell in love with modern fabric. Ironically, I mostly use solids in my work now, but Purl Soho carried a beautiful array of prints back then. I made a few dresses for my daughter and then I discovered Denyse Schmidt’s book Quilts and I couldn’t wait to make a quilt. My husband bought me a Janome Gem sewing machine for my 40th birthday and that was it–I was completely hooked.
I made my first quilt from Denyse’s book and then I started creating my own, simple, designs using solids. I’m inspired by color-field painters such as Ellsworth Kelly and Helen Frankenthaler, graphic design, and other textile artists like the Bauhaus weavers. I’m also really drawn to folk art motifs. So, my personal style pulls from all these elements. Lately I’ve become really interested in traditional quilts, and I’m enjoying finding a balance between traditional quilting elements, folk art and modernism. I tend to use primary colors in my work, but in muted or muddied shades. So lots of blues, reds, pinks and some golden hues show up in my quilts. I sometimes try to pull in some green but usually end up swapping it out for something closer to teal. I still love modern prints, so I always use prints for my backing.
I started quilting in 2014 when a coworker encouraged me to join a local guild. My love of textiles and sewing had a new outlet and I quickly took all the classes I could find locally and joined several quilting groups.
I’m inspired by patterns, shapes, colors, and feelings in my environment. I often experience strong feelings visually, as moving patterns of colors and shapes, and have tried to capture some images in quilt form. I enjoy observing different patterns around me and thinking about ways to integrate them into a new design.
Experimentation is the part of the quiltmaking process I enjoy the most and I love finding or developing efficient methods. With experimentation at the forefront, I am still exploring my personal style by pushing my design skills with each project.
Susan J Lapha
I was born in Jerusalem, and lived in the Middle East and North Africa for the first 12 years of my life.
While living in Carthage I taught myself to use an old, even then, Kenmore. I’ve been creating art with
fabric ever since, although on newer machines. Despite being awarded New York State Regents’ highest
honor in Home Economics as a senior in high school, I turned to science to pursue my career. I received
degrees in Cartography and Survey Statistics and have worked for the US government and non-profit
organizations for nearly 40 years. I am Principal Investigator on several grants from the National
Institutes for Health focusing on behavioral health. Exercising my right brain, I spend my time outside
work creating fine art from fabric.
My contemporary quilts have been described as a lively dance between steady geometry and sparkling movement. My work has been exhibited in several prestigious American venues including Form, Not Function 2020, Quilts=Art=Quilts 2020, Quilt National 2021 and Interpretations 2021 at Visions Art Museum. I’ve recently won several awards including the Shirley Hastedt Award for piecing in Quilts=Art=Quilts, Best of Show from the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh in Out of the Funk!, and First Place Fiber from the Washington DC based Creative Crafts Council.
Eclectic architecture, complex machinery, and outlandish arrangements that push the limits of balance,
proportion, and symmetry provide an endless source of inspiration for me. I am influenced by my
vocations and avocations that include cartography, statistics, erector sets, and Dr. Seuss. The resulting
constructions are filled with delight and humor. I work intuitively, machine-piecing small bits of fabric
into improvisational compositions. I move back and forth between design wall and sewing machine as I
ponder, design and engineer each piece. My work is consistently large scale, yet constructed from
hundreds, sometimes thousands of tiny bits of solid fabric. I love line and movement and balance and
color and use them playfully to tell stories of joy.