I am an artist who works with fabric the way a painter works with paint, or a sculptor works with clay. Textiles are my medium for interpreting the beauty of the built and natural environment around me. My work is influenced by my life experiences as a nurse, parent, traveler, and friend. I am also inspired by the work of modern artists such as Wolf Kahn and Nancy Crow. I like to work with natural fibers in vibrant, saturated colors. My works are free-motion quilted on my home sewing machine and sometimes are embellished with special fibers, beads, or found objects. My designs usually evolve in an improvisational manner, and are sized from very small (6” square) to bed-sized (80” x 96”). I create my machine quilting designs by doodling on paper, and by replicating patterns I see in the natural world, such as waves or leaves.
I have loved fabric and fibers since I was a child, and taught myself to sew doll clothes at the age of 8. I was given my first sewing machine at age 14 and have never put it away since. I first tried quilting in 2002 when my arm was in a cast, figuring I could make quilt blocks one-handed. 144 blocks later, I had made my first quilt and have never looked back. I fell in love with the pure design of quilt making – no curves to accommodate, no drapes to be fitted to windows. In 2011 I retired from my nursing career to focus exclusively on my art.
I currently work in a studio at Hot Shops, an old building in Omaha divided into about 50 artists’ studios. It is something of a tourist destination and, as such, I receive many visitors to my studio when I am working. Interacting with the public, explaining what I am doing, and describing my artistic process, are some of my very favorite things about my work. I find people to be fascinated by the sewing machine, and by the realization that quilt making really is as labor-intensive as it looks. I always point out that the first quilters (and still some today) complete the entire process by hand; in the old days the work was done by firelight or candle light!