Quilt creators: 5 contemporary quilt artists
The earliest known quilted garment is depicted on a carved ivory figure of a Pharaoh of the Egyptian First Dynasty, about 3400 B.C. The art of quilting has been a traditional practice in many cultures for many centuries. We often think of the American quilt; patchwork quilting dates back to the 1770s, the decade the United States gained its independence from England.
What is it about this unusual art form that appears to capture the minds of many and is so appealing to makers across the globe? In this article, part of our Discover… series, we take a look at 5 prominent artists practising in this field and learn what is so seductive about the humble quilt.
Janet has been making art quilts since 1994. Her main influence is the cycle of the seasons; the change of colours, textiles and the beauty found both in decay and rebirth. Time spent walking in the countryside leads to contemplation and observation. Her artistic process then begins firstly with photography and drawing.
Her most recent work was inspired by the shape, pattern and structure of the simple garden flower, resulting in a set of vibrant and upbeat quilts. She has an interest in the impact of colour on our senses and this inspired her to write Colour in Art Quilts which was published in 2011.
For more information visit: www.janettwinn.com
As a leader of the art quilt movement that began in the 1970’s, Michael James has become one of most distinguished voices in the medium of quilted fabric construction. His work explores the fluid borderline between the physical and metaphysical world. More recently, he’s addressed the universal question of mortality and grief, and what it means to live, to love, to lose and to remember.
For more information visit: www.michaeljamesstudioquilts.com
There is always an underlying structure in Sue’s work, a set of rules. She says:
“I think of each piece as a small world where I can declare the laws of nature.
My love affair with fabric began with my first memories of the clothes my mother made me, recalling exact hue, fiber content, and weave. In the ensuing years, my mother taught me to sew, carefully and creatively.
My father always had a pencil in his hand or behind his ear, drawing on napkins in restaurants and painting on the weekends. He inspired and encouraged me in art.”
Sue’s education in molecular biology and medical illustration still figures in her work and she sees a direct connection between the concept of quilt and the assembly of units to make a larger whole.
“I revel in the simple act of placing one fabric next to another.”
For more information visit: www.suebenner.com
Annette Morgan is a textile artist and a creator of contemporary quilts of some renown. She has won numerous awards for her work and has exhibited worldwide. Her work has been featured in The Quilter, the journal of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors.
Annette is co-founder of Anglia Textile Works, an exhibiting group for art quilts, and founder of Contemporary Quilt, a special interest group of the Quilters’ Guild. She is also a freelance teacher, author and qualified quilt judge.
For more information visit: www.annettemorgan.co.uk
Robin Cowley is a San Fancisco Bay Area based textile artist who works with felt, cotton and silk to create her graphical work. Robin’s abstract contemporary quilts use a clever combination of colour and space to great effect. Her inspiration comes from nature, avant garde architecture and the universe.
For more information visit: www.robincowley.com
Do you have a favourite artist practising in this field? Let us know by leaving a comment below.