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!