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!

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