I have been sewing together little pieces of fabric for over forty years! My Grandmother made quilts and taught me to hand sew and crochet. I made CornStalk doll clothes and potholders with every scrap of thread and fabric I was given. Once Grandmother told me I could have all the scrap fabric I liked if I'd walk down to the old homeplace and search through an old box. I was very scared to go alone, but braved the adventure for the prize! I still remember how that fabric looked, felt, and smelled! My Mother used to tell me that I bothered her continually as a preschooler when she was sewing. I can remember sneaking into her room to try and play with her featherweight Singer---I couldn't reach the pedal! I also remember gathering cotton from the farm field next to our parsonage. The pods cut your fingers, but the smell and feel of cotton comforting experience. When I was eight years old I was given my first sewing machine for Christmas. It was a hand cranked beige Singer and it still works today! I made everything that Barbie and Ken could have wanted on this machine. My first job at 16 was in the local fabric store, and I had already been making my own clothes for several years. My Mother made all my clothes until we had serious fashion differences! I learned so much about construction from years of tailoring and dressmaking from my home and in Department stores. The people from whom I learned the most were Greek and Chinese. My formal education was in Early Childhood in the early 70's. I enjoyed teaching Preschool with all the wonderful geometric manipulatives: tanagrams, pattern blocks geoboards and insect kaleidoscopes made visions of wonderful quilts begin to dance in my mind! My first quilt was for my first son; a Vogue pattern circa 1977 that depicted a clothesline filled with little clothes against a blue sky little sunshine pillow. It was so much fun and so fulfilling that he loved it so much -it became his lovey-he loved it to almost to smithereens! I started with baby quilts for my three sons and then graduated to bed quilts for our family beds with the ubiquitous matching curtains. I read books by Georgia Bonesteel and learned the "lap quilting" method. "The Quilter's Album of Blocks and Borders" by Jinny Beyer was an exciting resource for me to make block patterns in the early eighties. It was using this book and her "Patchwork Portfolio" that first inspired me to make a quilt that could express a beautiful concept. We had moved from Raleigh, NC out into the country near a town called Knightdale. I was mesmerized by the clear night sky, which was frequently full of stars with a ring of Pines that clung to the remnants of a dark pink and burgundy sunset. I made Starry Starry Knightdale to help describe this experience. The quilts that I made through most of the eighties and early nineties were given as gifts to my church, friends and family. The recipients of these gifts persuaded me to pursue a professional art career. In 1997 I decided to retire from preschool teaching and focus on making quilts that make fabric stories and write word pictures to accompany them. Since 1999, I have been making my quilts at Artspace in an open studio in Raleigh's historic City Market.
My quilts are to communicate ideas, express feelings and tell stories. I especially want to unite and enhance diverse fabric designs and colors with intricate, precision piecing and exorbitant quilting. I start with an original rough drawing, draft a straight-line design, and then transfer the design to pattern material. Each piece of cotton fabric (hand-dyed, batik, commercial cottons) is selected, individually precision cut, and sewn together with my 1945 Singer Featherweight machine. My quilts are constructed like fine garments, with great attention to detail: seams are strong and straight, corners are sharp and points are precise. After the pieced top is constructed, I layer the top, cotton batting and a whole cloth cotton backing. Finally, I add a surface design with a straight stitch sewing machine, quilting free hand through all the layers and adding hand-made bias binding. In order to hang the quilts, I hand apply a sleeve for the aluminum bar made especially for the quilt.