Here at Quilters Newsletter, we are so fortunate to come across an amazing selection of quilters of all sorts – art quilters, traditional quilters, modern quilters and some that defy categorization. Some quilters are well-known and have a large internet following, while other quilters plug away at their work in relative obscurity, but they all have their stories and their art to share. It was very difficult to narrow this list down to just 10 people, but it includes some of the most creative and inspiring people, listed alphabetically, that we have had the pleasure to get to know in the past year.
Linda Beach. We love Beach’s vibrant quilts inspired by nature. Many art quilters dye their own fabric and use unusual materials in their work, but Beach uses only commercially available cottons, giving her quilts an interesting depth of color. Not only did we feature her in the June/July 2012 Meetin’ Place feature, we were also lucky enough to have her in our video studioto share on Quilters Newsletter TV: The Quilters’ Community some of her experiences participating in artist-in-residence programs at various National Parks.
Randy Bear. Bear saw some of his cousins making a quilt, and that was the start of a 16-year quilting obsession. “On my days off I cut and sew from sun up to sun down,” he said. After learning that the eight-pointed star pattern was traditional in the Sioux nation, he dedicated himself to honoring this heritage. “Seven of the star’s points represent what you do in your life and the eighth point is for the eagle. I was told that if you receive a star quilt made by a Native American it’s an honor. I hope I can pass that on to my granddaughters.” (June/July 2012)
Tina Curran. Curran is the designer of the popular Christmas Flag series quilt, first introduced in the August/September issue with free foundation patterns online. We love the festive and original blocks, and all the details and workmanship that went into its creation. The blocks are so great on their own, and incredible when combined into her flag design. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about this pattern, and we’d love to see your version! (August/September 2012)
Leah Day. Beautiful artwork can be created out of trying times and adversity, and whether its one of her evocative ‘goddess’ wall-hangings or a solid square of fabric stitched to perfection, Day creates pieces and free-motion patterns we couldn’t get enough of. She even shared some free-motion tips with us in our August/September issue. One of the current shining stars of quilting with her Free Motion Quilting Project, which offers free video instruction, a newsletter and patterns, Day has worked hard to stay creative and innovative while running her successful business. (February/March 2012)
Mickey Depre. Depre has done some innovative reworking of the humble hexagon, after needing to keep her hands busy while she recuperated for several months. We featured her Spike ‘Hexie’ in the October/November issue, but there are many more modern, modified hexagons in her book Pieced Hexies: A New Tradition in English Paper Piecing (Kansas City Star Books). A great idea can go a long way, and Depre is at the head of the pack. (October/November 2012)
Mary Fisher. Fisher is a multi-talented artist who creates from her soul. She’s also a woman living with AIDS who advocates for others. She uses watercolors to work out her fabric designs, but her art quilts have a free, organic quality and layers of meaning. “I can’t separate art from advocacy,” she said. “Art is in all of us. Let it out. Take a risk. Do what comes from your heart. It will be beautiful and a reflection of you. That’s what quilting is.” (April/May 2012)
Sherry Reynolds. Reynolds set out intending to make a mariner’s compass quilt, but she ended up making a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that won multiple prestigious awards this year. America, Let it Shine dazzled on the cover of our June/July issue. “Realizing how bad our country was struggling, I wanted to create a quilt that would reach out and touch people, reminding us all of the values and foundations America was built upon, and perhaps strike some much-needed patriotism,” Reynolds said. (June/July 2012)
Timna Tarr. After quilting an endless chain quilt top from the 1940s made by her mother, Tarr became obsessed with the pattern. She couldn’t stop thinking about the quilt and block until she made a version of her own. The resulting Catena, which is featured on the cover of our December/January 2013 issue, is a stunning exploration of color moving across the surface of the quilt. “I often have to find creative ways to get the blocks to work together,” she said. “Arranging the blocks is the most fun part of the whole process for me.” (December/January 2013)
Yvonne Wells. A self-taught quilter from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Wells made her first quilt in 1979. After she placed an ad in the newspaper reading, ‘Quilts for sale, $20 and up. Please call after 4 p.m.,’ she was contacted by Robert Cargo, then the owner of the Folk Art Gallery in Tuscaloosa. He became her first patron and agent, and in 2012 Wells had a solo show at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. (December/January 2012)
Kathy Wylie. Wylie made the gorgeous cover quilt featured on our April/May Issue, Flourish on the Vine. Initially inspired by the Bible verse John 15:5, she had the color palette planned and the design blossomed as she worked for two years to complete the quilt. Hundreds of hours and thousands of applique patches later, she had created an award winning quilt. “Quilting never gets old,” she said. “It’s my passion. I believe it’s what I was created to do.” (April/May 2012)
Who were your favorite quilty people this year? We couldn’t include everyone, of course, but is there anyone who stands out with you? We love to hear what you think, so don’t hesitate to tell us. Is there anyone we should be looking at for next year’s list? We look forward to an amazing 2013, and we’re sure we’ll come across countless talented quilters who will inspire all of us. We can’t wait to meet them!