Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Artist: Jackie Berry

Today I'm excited to introduce you to Jackie Berry.  I love her work, especially her use of color and print.  If you have a minute, check out her website: in addition to more of her beautiful quilts you can see her inspiring photography.

1. Who are you and where do you live?

I live in  Moberly, Missouri and have been a psychology teacher and school counselor for 32 years.

2. Tell us a little bit about your artistic journey and how you got started?

 In 1994, I needed a couch cover for a large couch combination. Not being able to find one, I decided to make one.  It's a humorous story you can find on my website at   I was hooked. I loved the fabrics, and the creative process of design.  After 32 years, the next 11 years, I was a part-time school psychometrist for my district. During those years I joined a quilting club, made bed quilts, read books, took workshops, and created a “stash”.  

Five years ago, two of my quilting friends and I organized a smaller group of twelve that meets once a month. Each month one of the members is responsible for demonstrating a topic of interest regarding quilting, dyeing, painting or other techniques and we do hands on experimentation.  During this time, I began to figure out what my style is, and what speaks to me… And what speaks to me is NATURE.  I love the outdoors and I love photography.  Before I get to work on nature-inspired quilts, I spend a good deal of time photographing the subject I’ll include in my work.  I want to capture the wonder of the world in fabric and thread, and share a moment in time with the viewer.

Jackie Berry, Flying in for Lunch (11" x 12”)
Inspiration: Chickadee flying to my bird feeder with stenciled nature 
 Jackie Berry, Poppies - Beautiful From Any Angel (20" X 16")
Inspiration: Poppies in my garden

3.  How do you describe your work?

I would describe my style for my focal image as realism; with either a natural setting, a solid fabric (hand-dyed, hand-painted or not), or a more abstract look for the background depending on the project, placing the main emphasis on the "character".

Jackie Berry,  Zoo Mother and Child (18 X 25 3/4")
Inspiration: Photos taken at the zoo and combined.

4. Do you have any favorite techniques or approaches?

I found that I love free motion, and the design process as much as the construction.  My favorite technique for the main image is appliqué.  I love dying and painting fabrics. The quilt below is sketched sunflowers from my photos, using painted fabric on commercial background with the fun of quilting lots of sunflowers and leaves quilted throughout.

Jackie Berry, Tempting Sunflower Seeds (43" X 60")
Inspiration: photos of sunflowers and cardinal flying to my bird feeder

5. What do you want to communicate with your work?

 Hopefully, my photo images and quilts will make people more appreciative of nature, find the beauty in even the most tiny bits of nature,  and will convince people that nature and the earth need to be respected and valued.

Jackie Berry, Lovely Lavender Iris (45 1/2 X 45 1/2)
Inspiration: A awesome lavender Iris in my garden

6. What methods, or lifestyle tips, or time management tips do you find helpful to producing work?

I find that I need to divide the day into thirds using one third on my husband's business, one third on the house/bills,  and one third on quilting. I actually set my iPhone alarm for the ending time and move onto the next segment of the day or I'd never get to quilting. Wow, and when he retires, I'll have 50% of my daily time spent quilting!!  LOL.  I  already have patterns drawn for quilts I want to make for that period of time, and as such, they're not UFOs; because they're not in fabric yet, right....?

7. What kind of studio/workspace do you have and what features of your surroundings are most helpful for your productivity/work?

I have a large studio area (entire basement once the boys moved out), decorated with art (not just quilting) and nature objects, such as leaves, etc. for inspiration and floor length windows to view my woods and watch nature. They all inspire me.

8. Which artists, other individuals or subjects currently  inspire you?

Those who have influenced me the most in the area of free-motion are Diane Gaudynski, and even though Hollis Chatelain doesn't teach free motion per se, her work has inspired me.  Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry has influenced me in design, and from her I discovered my favorite piecing approach- applipiece.  Leni Wiener impacted my understanding of the importance of value.

Jackie Berry, Grandma, Great Grandma, and Me, Sydney  (19" X 14.5")
Inspiration: Photo of granddaughter at one hour old with Hollis's whole cloth technique

Jackie Berry, Nana's Little Angel?? (27" X 24")
Inspiration: Grandson posing and asking to have his picture taken, created in Leni Wiener workshop. 

9. Do you have a blog or website you'd like to share?

I don't have time now for blogging, but do have a website that my grandson set up so I could share some of  my photos, and be able to share how I made some of my quilts (such as the quilt below). I don't have much time to add to it on a regular basis, but hope to soon and add to the blog.

Jackie Berry, Moonflower Paradise in Uncle Bob's Backyard  (18 X  28)
Inspiration: Capturing my uncle's backyard for 88th birthday

Thanks so much to Jackie for sharing her wonderful work with us!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SAQA Volunteers at the Sewing and Quilting Expo

Twelve members of the KS MO OK Region of SAQA volunteered to sit at the SAQA booth for the three days that the Sewing and Quilt Expo was in Overland Park, KS.  

On the afternoon of the last day they organized a local/regional meeting.  The plans for the meeting took advantage of the SAQA Exhibit that was a part of the Expo.  The group spent time viewing and discussing the art quilts that were in the exhibit.

Many thanks to those who volunteered to help out!

Table Volunteers

Viewing the Exhibit

Friday, October 3, 2014

Featured Artist: Pat Hilderbrand

Today I'm extremely pleased to welcome Pat Hilderbrand as our featured artist.  When she sent me the picture of her work for inclusion on the blog gallery page I was instantly captivated by the graphic design, gracious and organic-feeling curves, and judicious use of sparkly or reflective elements to capture a bit of light.  I was anxious to see and share more of her work and am so pleased she agreed to participate here!

1.   Who are you and where do you live?
After 32 years of teaching interior design at the University of Missouri I took advantage of an early retirement option offered to all faculty in 2000.   My husband and I live in Columbia, MO. 

2.   Tell us a little bit about your artistic journey and how you got started?
The amazing generosity of Georgia quilters for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games and the warmth and love evident in Amish baby quilts along with my background in sewing and design planted the seeds for my quilt journey.  Did you know the major motif used for those Olympics came from a quilt?  Quilters in Georgia, honoring a native American custom of presenting blankets to honored friends, also made enough quilts to send the flag bearer and the National Olympic Committee from each country participating home with a quilt!  On the way home from attending the Olympics my husband and I discovered the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.  I was particularly captivated by the atmosphere of joy and caring in a gallery of Amish baby quilts.  I am continually drawn by the human qualities of quilts and the idea that giving a quilt to someone is like giving them a hug whenever needed.

Pat Hilderbrand, Making Waves  (14 1/4" x 23 1/4")
      Inspiration: Ocean waves viewed from my son's home in Massachusetts and waves in Asian artwork.

3.   How do you describe your work?
Most of my art quilts are relatively simple designs involving smooth flowing curves, lots of quilting, and often a bit of shine from metallic fabrics or beads. 

Pat Hilderbrand, Who's Watching  (20" x 20")
      Inspiration:  The play Wicked for a Cherrywood Fabrics competition.

4.   Do you have any favorite techniques or approaches?
I love that using traditional and curved piecing requires simplifying content to basic elements.  My favorite technique is using freezer paper to facilitate smooth curved piecing with the edges turned under.

5.   What do you want to communicate with your work?
      Calm, joy, appreciation of nature and beauty of simple things around us. 

Pat Hilderbrand, Japanese Maple  (17 1/2" x 31 3/4")
      Inspiration:  Bright red leaves on a Japanese Maple in our yard in fall.

Pat Hilderbrand, Waterlilies  (25" x  39")
      Inspiration:  A waterlily pond we once had in our backyard.

6.   What methods, or lifestyle tips, or time management tips do you find helpful to producing work? 
Take time to enjoy it all!  The process of making a quilt is much more enjoyable if there is no specific deadline or at least plenty of time allowed.  It’s wonderful to be able to get lost in the studio and completely forget what time it is or what’s going on in the world.  Sometimes, however, time away from a project is needed to be able to come back with fresh ideas and solutions to problems that may occur.  I love that a quilt shop in Beijing, China is called “Slow Life Patchwork”.

Pat Hilderbrand, Eternity  (52 1/2" x 75")
      Inspiration:  Night sky.

7.   What kind of studio/workspace do you have and what features of your surroundings are most helpful for your productivity/work?
      My studio was originally a large bedroom with lots of windows.  It has never had overall planning for making quilts but seems to adapt to my needs as I go along.  It gets terribly messy when working on a project leaving tools and fabric that need to be put away every few months.
Pat Hilderbrand, New Beginnings  (17" x 23")
      Inspiration:  Casual sketch that started to look like a seedpod.

8.   Which artists, other individuals or subjects currently inspire you?
      I have admired works by Carol Bryert Fallert, Ruth McDowell, Jane Sassaman, and Diane Gaudynski.
I am continually surprised that there is no one thing that inspires.  Ideas for a quilt could come from appreciating details on a building, nature along a biking trail, something in the backyard, or just a message that begs to be conveyed.  Occasionally ideas seem to come out of nowhere – sometimes when I’m asleep.  I try to keep pencil and paper by the bed, or may steel away to my studio in the middle of the night to jot down thoughts and sketches so they aren’t forgotten. 

Pat Hilderbrand, Susan  (12" x 12")
      Inspiration:  A very special dog we had whose entire back end became paralyzed when running and falling on our icy patio. Her continual positive attitude was amazing.

Thanks so much to Pat for sharing!