Color is
Where it's at

Big Red quilt


"I want freedom,
the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things."
–Emma Goldman, 1869–1940

Color is Where it's at

Diamond Sutra quilt
Diamond Sutra

Color is what it is all about for me. Right now I am enjoying looking out the window and seeing splashes of bright yellow from the forsythias, dotted here and there by batches of daffodils and narcissi. Then there is the wonderful purple of the redbuds behind them.  The love of using my hands to make things has translated over the years to gardening, stained glass creations, ceramic tile, photography, carpentry, and quilting., There was a time when I was engaged in all these efforts, but my focus in recent years has been chiefly on creating things out of fabric.  To my great delight and astonishment, the fabric designers have in the last couple of decades gone wild with printing cotton with vibrantly colorful flowers. I found my niche: Flowers and fabric.

I learned to sew as a child, and went through years of making clothes for myself that never seemed to turn out quite right. Yet I always had a passion for the bright prints and colors and had quite a stash of fabric even before I made my first real quilt about 20 years ago. I was in a local fabric store wondering about making a quilt for my newly arrived twin granddaughters when I fell in love with a quilt hanging on the wall in the shop. One of the fabrics had sweet little bluebirds in it. I was captured, and have been ever since.  I took a class and off I went.

Currently I find myself drawn mostly to bed quilts or throws, yet I am peripherally attracted to other kinds of fabric art. Perhaps one day I will get there, but for now I have dozens (hundreds?) of quilting projects in my head. Sometimes I have three going at one time. I am fortunate enough to have adequate space and light (windows on two sides of my studio) so I can spread out.

Marketing is a difficult aspect of making quilts. Some of my bigger ones are 9 feet x 9 feet. Not an easy thing to find a place to hang them for display! Painters have a relatively easy time of moving and hanging their paintings, but displaying a quilt this size presents many challenges. Most of mine have been hanging in the gallery in my home, where hardly anyone sees them except during the Chatham County Studio Arts Tour. Recently, however, I was asked by a librarian who works at the Health Science Library at UNC if I would like to decorate their big empty walls with my quilts. As the library has 6 floors, there are many blank walls, many of which are equipped with tracks that make hanging them easy. You can only imagine my delight in this offer, and I am very grateful to Karen Crowell for this opportunity. You can see them there, located in the basement floor, and the first, second, and fifth floor. Here are some of the quilts on display there.

Elegant Trellis quilt
Elegant Trellis

There is a saying among quilters: she who dies with the most fabric wins. I know I am one of the top runners, although I am not dead yet! You could say I have a serious addiction to fabric, but a gal has to have her palate, right? I am disinclined toward quilts that are mostly brown or dark red with a lot of brown in it, or that use old dull scraps that have been around forever. I always figured if you are going to go to all that trouble to make a quilt, why not fill it with a brightness of color that captures the mind’s eye? Happily for me there are many fabrics these days that provide me with a lively spectrum. People always ask me how long it took me to make a given quilt. Some of them I can crank out in a couple of weeks. Others have taken me years to finish. It just depends. One quilt (Elegant Trellis) took me a whole year just to pick out the fabric. You can see the results hanging on the fifth floor of the Health Science library. To blend the colors and fabric takes me to a deep and quiet place, and my hope is that people who end up with them will find some of that for themselves.