In this new showcase I’m featuring four Modern Quilters that you will love!
Carole Lyles Shaw
I am a quilt designer, author and workshop teacher. I started making traditional quilts for my family in the 1990’s and then started making artquilts. I wanted my family to have something cozy and comforting made by me.
When I started quilting, I was largely self-taught using magazines and books. Then, I was generously taught and mentored by the heirloom quilters in my first guild, the African American Quilters of Baltimore.
I started making modern quilts in the 1990’s but officially became part of the modern quilt movement in 2011 when I joined The Modern Quilt Guild
I still make art quilts on commission or when I have a personal message that I want to express, such as the importance of equal treatment for Black People, human rights and constitutional freedoms such as freedom of the press.
Today, my modern quilt design style is usually maximalist—full of rich, deep color and lots of complex lines in my quilt blocks. Sarasota Sunset is an example. I love improvisational piecing with intention. That means, that I start each improvisational block with a specific approach for color, contrast and cutting technique. Then, unexpected results happen along the way and I incorporate that into the block.
I’m also exploring the use of African print textiles into modern quilt design. I call this style AfroModerne. African prints are usually very rich patterns and intense colors. They can overwhelm other fabrics so I am using them in a minimalist way.
I publish patterns through Etsy and I have two quilt books on Amazon. I offer live virtual classes over Zoom, and I also have on demand classes. Information is on my website (link in my bio). I hope that you will join me one day.
Carole Lyles Shaw
“I’ve been interested in art since I was old enough to hold a crayon in my hand. Growing up in a university town in Gainesville, FL, I was lucky to have parents who encouraged my desire to make things and signed me up for classes in painting, drawing, and ceramics. My mom made beautiful clothing, so of course I wanted to do that too. She taught me to sew when I was 10 years old, and I made most of my clothes as a teenager and young adult.
There weren’t any quilters in my family, so I don’t come from a quilting tradition. I taught myself to quilt after falling in love with a Trip Around the World quilt I saw in a women’s magazine after I graduated from college. I made lots of mistakes because I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was hooked on creating with fabric and thread from then on. The tactile nature of the medium and the opportunity to add texture with stitching lines intrigued me. I made mostly traditional quilts for many years as a creative outlet as I pursued a career in financial journalism and later raised my two boys.
Over time, I realized that the quilts padding my walls and beds were all someone else’s design, and I was bored with following patterns. I wanted to create work that spoke more directly to my artistic nature, using color, line, and shape more like the modern artists I studied as an undergraduate art history major. Some of my favorites are Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, Gustav Klimt, Morris Louis, and Helen Frankenthaler.
I took workshops with quilt artists I admired and read a lot of quilt books. It took time and I made a lot of quilts to explore different ideas, but I finally arrived at a contemporary style that suits me. I am known now for my approach to color, but it wasn’t always that way. For a long time my comfort zone was blue–sometimes veering over into purples, but rarely into greens. Warm colors like orange and yellow were difficult for me to use. Nearly 30 years ago I took a class from a local DC area quilter who was fearless about color and she changed my world. Now color and how colors interact is one of my main inspirations.
My work is improvisational and abstract, and I often start a new composition with a specific color palette and a rough design idea, and not much else! I don’t really know what the final design is going to look like and that’s intriguing to me as an artist–just letting the design process unfold as each decision about color and shape influences the next. One of my favorite color combinations is purple and lime green, but I’ve also gotten interested in exploring other color stories, like taupe, rose pink, and turquoise or red, brown, aqua, and white.
The Improv process is endlessly exciting to me–there’s always something new to explore. I spend a lot of time with Improv Log Cabin style blocks and with freehand curves. Some are loosely based on the traditional Drunkard’s Path block and others are oversized curves that I cut using my rotary cutter as a drawing tool.
My book, Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-motion Quilting, showcases five different Improv techniques that I use often in my work, as well as some thoughts about using color effectively, simple design principles to think about as you create, and my favorite free-motion quilting motifs.”
Before my birth in 1982, my grandmother organized a collaborative quilt for me, so I grew up looking at handwork every night, and knowing that I was surrendered by women with sewing skills. I remember sewing by the age of 5 and making patchworks and art quilts in college, but my first real quilt was made in 2013.
In life, my favorite colors are green and chartreuse, but when quilting I gravitate more towards neutrals. I love the flexibility involved in modern quilting, and the appreciation for seeing rather than hiding handwork. I feel inspired to quilt because of its affordability, the ease with which I can quilt in my living room, the lack of mess, the mobility, their softness, their feminine and familial history, and because they’re so darn beautiful.
I started quilting nine years ago, when my kids were toddlers. I was seeking a creative outlet and there was a fabric shop that we walked by frequently. I decided to go inside, sign up for classes, and adopt quilting as a hobby. Not long after that, I became an instructor and president of my local MQG chapter. Now I am making fiber art that layers ideas of modern domesticity, feminism and identity into a medium that is filled with tradition.
I am inspired by the process of improvisation and the huge spectrum of possibilities that it offers for exploration and expression. I enjoy using curves, skinny strips and handwork in my quilts because they offer so many opportunities for personalization. I use navy blue in almost every quilt, and I gravitate to neutrals, occasionally and sparingly throwing in vibrant and bright colors.