1. What year did you make your first quilt? Traditional or art? I made my very first quilt in 1993, and it was Blanch Young's "Radiant Nine-Patch." Blanche hooked me on this crazy passion of mine!
2. What is the first show, and year, that you ever entered your art quilts? Venue? The first show I entered was the National Quilting Association's show because it was being held in Riverside, CA right up the freeway from me. I won "Honorable Mention for Hand-Quilting" with my piece "Early Autumn," and I think it was in 1994.
3. What is your artistic style? My very personal attachment to nature is my style. I can't remember a time in my life that I wasn't fascinated by the littlest things that grow close to the ground, and the tallest of the trees, and the movement of water, and bugs! Never snakes, but bugs and bark and butterflies and branches...
4. Have you ever changed your style from when you started making quilts? A year and a half into my quilting life, I made a radical change... I began to make my own art. To me, it WAS "painting with fabric." It meant no brushes to wash out after working, just scraps to vacuum after creating! It was the most free I'd ever worked before in any medium, except drawing... well, and oil painting, too.
5. What other style in quilt making piques your interest? My own style is still what excites me, but I am constantly adding new sorts of fibers to my work, and that has broadened my scope, and has kept me invigorated.
6. What other medium in art influences your work as a fiber artist? As an art student in university, I took years of drawing classes, and I do love drawing. When I was a high school art teacher, I started every class every year with contour drawing, and especially blind contour drawing... it's essential to the artist, in my opinion. Now I draw in my head as I work. If I'm really stumped, though, I will take to paper and pencil. Painting, especially watercolor, is essential in my work now, too, although I use hand-dyed silk organzas instead of tubes of paint.
7. What do you have coming up? Shows, Articles in magazines, Books, etc. So much... I've just sold another piece to a new hospital here in California, and I can hardly wait for the grand opening! I will be speaking and teaching at major national venues for the next two years, and at numerous quilt guilds. The Irish International Quilt Festival somehow found a piece of my work that they requested for their "Under the Sea" exhibit in one of my favorite places, Galway, Ireland this June! I just finished as the sole juror of a SAQA exhibition called "Color Wheel of Emotion" that will travel this year and next. The 268 international submissions were amazing, but, sadly, I could only choose 19 pieces, and soooo many wonderful pieces had to be left out. What an amazing experience!
8. Where will your art take you from here? Who knows? I love the entire process of creating my pieces, from the constant looking at nature to sewing the very last stitch. It is just as much fun for me to teach other people that they can create, too, though. Each day brings its own surprises...
9. Describe your studio space: You'll laugh... My "studio" is my guest bedroom! It's on the second floor overlooking the Chinese silk trees and liquid ambers and the hills behind. But even the entire wall of closets can't seem to hold all my materials, and overnight guests have all of 3 inches of hanging space in only one of the closets!
10. What was the biggest challenge you have encountered in the making of your art quilt for "An Exquisite Moment?" The word "exquisite" made it a very difficult theme, because, by nature I am not an "exquisite" person! I kept thinking about the koi swimming in the elegant ponds in Newport Beach's Fashion Island. I had gone there one morning at about to take photos of those fish before the "exquisite" shops opened. But I kept thinking, over and over, that every artist seems to have made koi, and what could I add that would make my work seem fresh... Then I found this piece of blue burn-out silk. I couldn't afford more than 1/2 a yard, and that turned out to be just wonderful! It made me have to piece and overlap the bits that I had, and that created the eddies in the pond. It helped make the koi dance in that water!