What I do
My work employs fabric and traditional quilting methods to create portraits and abstract art pieces which explore concepts such as self-image, vanity, and the changing definition of female beauty.
I was first exposed to quilting during a Fiber Arts class in college, but I soon became bored with the traditional process. I began making art quilts when I realized I could combine my love of illustration, fashion design, the history of fashion, and inspiration from my hairdressing profession to create contemporary quilts of my own design.
I favor portraits of women because of my interest in hair design and cosmetics. I challenge myself to make the images as realistic as possible using fabric and thread. Some of the women in my quilts are influenced by my favorite decades from pop culture and fashions--the 1960s and 1970s. Others are inspired by an unusual, trendy hairstyle or a certain pose in a hair magazine.
Photos of hairstyles have inspired me to design quilted wall hangings with portraits of women. I put the greatest emphasis on the hair--whether spiky, wavy or curly. I overlay different prints to duplicate the highlights and lowlights in the hair. Next in importance is the shading of the face to create contours and highlights. I achieve this by looking at the facial features in value first, then color, to develop dimension.
I often embellish my quilts with materials such as yarn and beads to accentuate details. These embellishments on my quilts are symbolic of the way women adorn themselves with jewelry. This element of my work draws attention to a particular part of the quilt by presenting something shiny or fuzzy to catch the viewer’s eye. Embellishing also creates texture and a three dimensional look.
Drawing the design, planning the color scheme, and piecing the background are key elements of my creative process. I prefer a pieced background because it is more interesting than a solid piece. Layering and overlapping the fused pieces creates dimension and perspective. I use several borders to create the appearance of a picture with mat and frame. I often run the appliqué pieces beyond the border of the “frames” to give the impression of drawing outside the lines. I do not over plan my quilts because there is always room for change in the creative process.
My desire to sew began when I was young and wanted to make my own Barbie Doll clothes on the sewing machine. My mother said I had to wait until I had sewing in junior high, and I was frustrated because I did not want to wait. I continued to hand sew and finally, at the age of thirteen, was able to use a sewing machine. I have not stopped since. I sewed most of my clothes through high school and college.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie WI with a degree in Clothing, Textiles and Design. I took a Fiber Arts class while in college and was first exposed to quilting. I never finished that quilt, but my love of quilts grew. I have made lots of quilts but became bored with the traditional process in 2003 and quit because nothing inspired me. I got my groove back when I realized I could combine my love of illustration and fashion design, the history of fashion, and my hairdressing profession and make contemporary quilts of my own designs.
I favor portraits of women because of my interest in hair design and love of cosmetics. I challenge myself to make the images as realistic as possible using fabric and thread. I found embellishing my quilts went right along with adorning the fashion and hair in my quilts.
I have lived forever in Appleton, WI, and raised my daughter Jordana on my own while working full time as a hairdresser. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in History from St. Norbert College. She felt a passion to go to culinary school and did so after college. She is currently a sous chef at an upscale restaurant in Green Bay, WI. In 2007, I moved with my three cats to Menominee, MI, to be with my significant other Ken. Ken is also an artist and is inspirational and supportive of my quilting passion. I continue to work as a hairdresser but have more time in my studio to pursue my love for quilting. I find my hairdressing career lends itself to inspirations for my portrait quilts. Whenever weather permits, I enjoy gardening and creating garden art.