I am a fiber artist and quiltmaker whose work honors the tradition and craft of quilt making but seeks to give quilts a new respect as an art object in a post-modern context.
I like to highlight and play with the push and pull between past and present, and the line that separates chaos and control. My aim is to build from the past and simultaneously push quilts into the 21st century. I consider my quilts to be both art and/or a usable object, suitable for display or for function.
I take elements existent in the long tradition of quiltmaking, such as blocks and other motifs, and then reframe, modernize, and personalize those elements via my own color palettes and intentional manipulation. I like to use both traditional and improvisational piecing methods (an unplanned, loosely controlled process) in my work. I stitch small, oddly shaped pieces of fabric together in a loosely planned manner, making large pieces of improvisationally pieced fabric. I cut this chaotic “made fabric” into geometric shapes like squares and triangles, and use those shapes to make a variety of traditional style quilt blocks/tessellations, and abstract designs. Most of the overall design of my quilts is consciously simplified, in an effort to achieve cohesion and temper chaos.
A dominant concept in my work is to challenge the notion of what is “acceptable” in quiltmaking through my choices surrounding color and the specific fabrics (and fabric mixes) that I use. Questions that inform my practice and thought process around my quilts and my color and fabric choices include: What is “ugly” or “offensive”? What is “tasteful”? What could choices could I make (via fabric, design, or color choice) that might push the commonly accepted notions of “taste” and “acceptability”? Can I produce an end product that succeeds in transcending those notions? That supersedes ugly and becomes “beautiful” instead? What is valuable? What is garbage or useless?
I utilize saturated colors in my work almost exclusively. I experiment with colorways and levels of saturation in color to push the limits of good taste. I want to create a power clash, with insistent colors and pattern juxtapositions that excite the eye. I consider fabrics to be my “paint”, placing and blending the colors and patterns in the textiles I use in a way that suggests depth and richness.
I have chosen to use a pastiche of fabrics in my work: a deliberate mix of new and used textiles. More than 50 percent of the textiles utilized in my work is used, recycled from discarded clothing and household linens, such as sheets, tablecloths, and unused cuts of vintage yardage. Collecting these fabrics is an internal part of my process. I source these textiles from thrift and secondhand stores and marketplaces (e.g., vintage markets, and online venues like Etsy or eBay).
I use these old, secondhand textiles as a way to make a statement about value: I believe that used textiles retain value in our throwaway society. What some have deemed “ugly” or “out of style” or “useless” transforms into a valuable resource, the basis of my art. In this way, I hope to challenge and change minds about commonly accepted notions regarding the value of items in our material culture.