In the mid 70’s I saw an exhibit of fine antique quilts at my local art museum which spirited me on my way to becoming a quiltmaker. I began as most quilters do, by learning how to make quilts from traditional designs passed down through the generations. I soon turned a corner and since then have designed my own work.
When making contemporary, abstract quilts, I work almost exclusively with solid fabrics. I prefer solids for a host of reasons, none more important than the fact the line and form are more clearly defined: solids emphasize the delineation between shapes whereas prints can blur the edges of adjoining shapes.
With much of my work I first decide on the basic form I’m going to use to construct the piece (such as working in rows, or beginning in the center and working outward). Then I think about color and scale and once I have worked out those general ideas, I start building the parts and designing the quilt as I am constructing it in an improvisational way.
Sometimes I use rough pencil sketches as a way to test initial ideas. In 2010 I developed another way to make sketches. Instead of pencil sketches I made fabric sketches. I found that making sketches with the actual fabric I intended to use was a great way to work out composition and color. Because these Small Studies are completely developed, they take on added significance as small works of art, and indeed made up the featured exhibition at the Taupo Art Museum during the 2013 New Zealand Symposium. The first thirty-seven are shown in my book 37 Sketches.