The art quilt is a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Good Morning North Carolina and Virginia SAQA members. 
 I had the nicest surprise yesterday.  This beautiful bouquet of flowers was delivered to my home from our wonderful SAQA organization as a thank you for my service as your regional rep for the past 2 years.  So thoughtful and appreciated.

Now, in case you didn't know, there will be two new regional reps who are just taking over for Lori and me.....Susanne Miller Jones (who you met on a previous blog), and Kathie Briggs, who has just recently moved to NC.  So let's all welcome them with as much support and encouragement as we can!

Meanwhile, I'll be busy getting ready for my upcoming show at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center in Cary NC.  The show will open 26 October 2016 .                     The artist reception will be  28 October from 6-8 pm.  So mark your calendars and I hope to see you there.  This will be a solo show called, "The Rhythm of the Sea", and my fiber works will hang until 23 November

Beach Series #23 by Eileen Williams
And, speaking of the sea,  summer is here and I am busy making my beach quilts for the galleries that carry my work.  So, I thought I'd leave you with a glimpse of some of the quilts from my beach series.  Hope you enjoy them!
Beach Series # 36 by Eileen Williams

Beach Series # 37 by Eileen Williams

Beach Series #38 by Eileen Williams

Beach Series #39 by Eileen Williams
Beach Series #52 by Eileen Williams

Have a great summer everyone!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Only a few days left

It's not too late to send in your 2016 12x12 inch quilt for the 2016 SAQA benefit auction.  Hurry though, the quilts must be received by June 1st.  Go to for more information on this worthwhile fundraiser for this fabulous organization.
Seven Berries by Eileen Williams

 Also, big news....The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims came to my home last year and filmed me in my studio talking about making art quilts and my beach and seascape quilts.  Episode #1811 has now aired!!  If you are not a member of the quilt show,
stay tuned...with the following link, you can view this episode for free for one week beginning 29 May. artist_coupon=18110522
Hope you enjoy it!
Best wishes to you.  Eileen

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Creativity Workshop: Art Quilt Inspirations

Good News!  Sandra Sider, curator of the Texas Quilt Museum, and former SAQA President, is announcing a creativity workshop.

September 25 - 29, 2016

This workshop is based on the principles of art and design developed in Sandra Sider's critique workshops and written about in the volumes of her Studio Quilt monograph series and illustrated in her new book 1000 Quilt Inspirations.  Limited to 12 participants, the workshop will allow Sandra to spend considerable time each day working one on one with quilters, evaluating their work and suggesting possible directions for developing each quilt.  She will also teach the basics of monotype  printing, stamp printing, and photo transfer, as well as cyanotype on fabric ...(if it's a sunny day).  The final morning will be critiques.
Quilters should bring materials to begin a new quilt top, sewing supplies and tools, sewing machine, and an iron.  Class is suitable for all levels of quilters, but excellent sewing skills and expertise with one's ewing machine is a must.
Tuition for the week is $500.00.  There is also a materials fee of $40.00.  Total cost is dependent on the lodging selected, from $450 to $775.  It does include all meals.

To register:

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Introducing Pat Arndt

My name is Pat Arndt and I have lived in Harrisburg, NC for the past 10 years.  We moved here from Pittsburgh PA.
I am a part-time quilter and a full time creative person!  (As we all are).  I also work part-time at the Y in Concord, NC.  The job is important to keep me balanced.  I could create all day and forget the world without it!

Q:  Do you have your own studio or do you work wherever you can find a spot?  What is your favorite feature of your work space and what is your least favorite feature?
A:  I am fortunate to have my own room which is 12 x 12', but I am quickly outgrowing!  Favorite feature, HUGE Koala desk my husband bought for me!  Worst feature, no water source for my printing of paper and fabric.

Q: What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you at an exhibit or quilt show or gallery opening?
A:  Most embarrassing moment in my journey....I joined Three Rivers Quilters in Pittsburgh and had no idea what a juried show was.  I was new in expressing myself in any medium and going public.  Submitted my picture, (front was all they asked for).  I had wires twisted and exposed in the back from my "3-D" effect on the front!  Lordy, they had to hang it because it was accepted but the critiques were hard to handle....put me back 10 years!  (They changed picture format after that to include both sides for entry).

Q:  In addition to art quilting, do you engage in any other artistic endeavors?
A:  I fell in love with paper painting this past year.  Due to hand surgery gone bad, this is a great way to stay creative and not be so hard on my hand.

paper painting piece

Q:  How many art quilt groups are you involved with?  Tell us a little about them and what you do.
A:  Belonging to a spin off from our Cabarrus Quilt Group, my 10 person art group is a group of wonderful artists that nurture, critique, teach, and learn from one another.  My favorite critique...."are you married to that fabric?"  All done with much concern and caring and loved.

I look forward to learning from my membership in SAQA and from following other stories of your creative journeys.

  Let's take a look at some of Pat's wonderfully creative and colorful quilts!
Quilts by Pat Arndt

Pat's 6 x 6" quilts
Quilt by Pat Arndt

Thanks Pat for sharing with us.Anyone else out there willing to share your work and interests with us?  People would love to hear from you so let me know!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Introducing Roxane Lessa

Hi, I'm Roxane Lessa, the Art Quilters Coach, aka fiber artist and teacher, aka mother of 2 girls.  I live and work part time at my art quilt coaching  and teaching, I make art quilts and I work part time in a local BERNINA store in Raleigh, NC.

Q:  Do you have your own studio or do you work wherever you can find a spot?  What is your favorite and least favorite feature of your work space?
A:  I have my own studio, which I wish had more natural light.  My favorite feature is my Bernina 750 QE, and a closet for most of my supplies.

Q:  Do you offer a professional service?
A:  Why yes I do!  I offer a private art quilting program for quilters who want to take their art quilting seriously.  This is a 6 month program called the Private Art Quilt Mastery Program.  I work with students from afar by live video meetings.  In this program, I have distilled my 17 years of art quilting into do-able lessons, and customized coaching.  I also have some online classes.  All information about classes and coaching are listed on my blog menu at   I am also quite active on my FaceBook page at    
My online portfolio is at

Q: In addition to art quilting, do you engage in any other artistic endeavors?
A: Yes!  I am an avid West Coast Swing dancer, and I love to knit.

Q:  Do you ever get up in the middle of the night and start sewing?
A: Nope, never.  Sleep is too important to me!  And I do my best work when I am rested in the morning.

Fancy tulips by Roxane Lessa

Thanks for sharing with us Roxane!  It sounds like you lead a very active and creative life!
Anyone else out there interested in sharing what they do with other members of our region?  Please contact me (Eileen) at

Monday, October 5, 2015

Introducing Kevin Womack

Hello Everyone, I am Kevin Womack, a textile artist and fabric dyer/surface designer and a native of Lynchburg, VA.  I am blessed that I get to pursue my art full time.  I also teach, lecture and sell dyed fabrics and clothing to help pay the bills.  I have always loved quilts.  As a child, I marveled at the beauty of scrappy family quilts and wondered which of my ancestors' clothing had gone into making them.  In 1986, with the help of my grandmother, I decided to make a quilt of my own from family clothing.  After we finished the hand quilting (using old wooden frames hung from the ceiling) and the binding, I proclaimed that it would be a long time before I attempted another quilt!  The next morning, I drafted templates and started tracing and cutting the patches for my second quilt.  Twenty-nine years later, I'm still just as excited about making quilts.  Although I've shifted my focus to making art quilts (and art cloth), I still make traditional quilts periodically (usually using Kaffe Fassett fabrics).

Q:  In addition to art quilting, do you engage in any other artistic endeavors?
A:  I have always been interested in art.  I started in photography in college, dabbling in metals/jewelry, pottery, and oil painting throughout the years.  Some examples can be seen on the "Archives" page on my website:   Throughout that time, my interest in quilting has remained.  I see it as an extension of my artistic pursuits - in another medium.  I also count my dyeing and surface design work as another artistic endeavor.  I enjoy color theory, exploring interactions of colors and color mixing, so I get to play with those during dyeing sessions.

Q:  Do you have your own studio or do your work wherever you can find a spot?  What is your favorite feature of your work space and what is your least favorite feature?
A:  I do have a dedicated studio -- a 10' x 11' room in my home that used to function as a bedroom. My favorite feature is my 8' x 8' design wall.  My least favorite feature is that the room is not large enough for me to get back far enough from the design wall.  I am thankful for my reducing glass!  I also have a dedicated dye area in my basement for dye mixing and surface design techniques.  Actual dyeing takes place mostly outside in my yard.

Q:  Do you offer a professional service?
A:  Yes, in addition to teaching and lecturing on quilting and dyeing, I Shibori dye or monoprint fabric, t-shirts, scarves and sarongs that I sell.  Some examples are in my Etsy shop:  and on the "Shop" page of my website:  If you have any specific color requests, want to see photos of other dye techniques, or have any questions, please contact me at

Poisoned Water Art Cloth

Q:  Are you a member of a traditional quilt guild?  If so, how involved are you with your guild?  How many art quilt groups are you involved with?
A:   I am a member of Peaks and Pieces Quilt Guild of Bedford, VA and have been a member for twenty-four years.  I am currently serving as President.  In addition to SAQA, I am a member of the Art Quilt Network (AQN) , a group of approximately 80 art quilters that was founded in 1987 by Nancy Crow and Linda Fowler.  We hold two retreats each year, usually in Colombus OH, over a Thursday-Saturday long weekend, one in the Spring and one in the Fall.  At these retreats, we: have nationally-known speakers, participate in exercises/activities in strengthening our skills, hear in-depth presentations by members on their artistic journeys and participate in member sharing --where we all bring one piece we have finished or are working on to show to the group.  Although it is a conference and not a group, I attend Quilt Surface Design Symposium every year.  There are several other artists who attend regularly and I gather so much encouragement and inspiration working among them.  Making friends that I see yearly feels like we are in an unofficial group.  I call it my art tribe.

Sentinel by Kevin Womack

Q:  Is there anything that I didn't ask that you would really like to share?
A:  Yes.  I'm excited about my collaborative work with Eleanor McCain.  Through QSDS and AQN, I became friends with Eleanor and we decided to work together collaboratively on a series of quilts about the bed during different stages of life.  We are using photographic imagery, printed at Spoonflower, in a traditional kaleidoscope block to illustrate the subject of each "bed".  Pictured here is Death Bed, with a detail.
Death Bed collaboration by Kevin Womack and Eleanor McCain

Death Bed detail

People always ask "Who did what part?", assuming that we work independently of each other.  Both of us have been fully immersed in each aspect of making these quilts, from choosing the subject matter, choosing the photographic imagery, cutting fabrics, designing the quilt layout, sewing the quilt top together to the quilting.  Since she lives in Florida and I live in Virginia, we only have the opportunity to work together once a year, for one week at QSDS.  Lots of pre-planning and pre-cutting helps us in designing and sewing two quilt tops each time we get to work together.  There are a lot of late nights and marathon sewing sessions during our week together.  It is a lot of work, but oh, so worth it!  I cannot stress enough how richly rewarding this process has been.  Challenging each other, being open to trying someone else's ideas, and holding steadfast for ideas that you consider imperative have all helped me grow in my artistic journey.  More of our work can be seen here

As a result of our collaboration, I have become increasingly interested in printing my own designs on fabrics.  I never thought I would use digital imagery in my work, but I am enjoying the process of manipulation photos and seeing what effects I can create.  I guess I am coming full circle and incorporating my first love of photography in my fiber art.

My website is

Thanks Kevin for sharing a little about yourself and also for sharing your  interesting work with us.  Your dyed garments and the art quilts are beautiful!  Best wishes to you.

Anyone else in the NC/VA SAQA region who would like to be a featured artist on our blog, please contact me at


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Artquilt Exhibition by Christine Hager-Braun

Walls of Depression by Christine Hager-Braun
Announcing an art quilt exhibit, "Layers of Life", by SAQA member and quilt artist Christine Hager-Braun.

"Layers of Life" is a compilation of abstract art quilts which take the viewer along stages of the artist's life:  elements of surprise and fascination for microscopic images, solitude and tranquility of wide open spaces, and the conflict and turmoil caused as well as shelter and protection offered by walls and borders.

Dates:      September 23 - November 15, 2015
Location:  Page-Walker Arts & History Center
                 119 Ambassador Loop
                  Cary, NC 27512
Hours:   Monday Thursday 10 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
              Friday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
              Saturday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
*please call ahead to be sure the gallery is     available for viewing*  (919) 460-4963

Admission:  free

Please contact the artist at   or visit her website

Monday, August 31, 2015

Introducing Nanette Zeller

I am Nanette S. Zeller, a mixed-media textile artist who currently lives in Southern Pines, NC.  I work full-time as a freelance artist pursuing a variety of opportunities including selling my art, teaching, and editing quilting related books.  I have been sewing and working with needle arts since I was 10.  It is an obsessive passion.  Like they say, do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.  That truly describes me.

Q:  What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you at an exhibit or quilt show or gallery opening for your work.
A:  Although I tend to focus my art quilts on environmentally-based themes, I do like to use other subject matter.  For instance, I love rusty old things and made 3 art quilt renditions of    thread-painted oil cans.  As a kid, I loved playing in the garage with my Dad's oil cans.  I loved the popping noise they made.  I've had the opportunity to hang each of the renditions in different exhibits.  (One version is currently in Houston waiting to be hung at the International Quilt Festival this October).
During exhibits, it's kind of fun being a fly on the wall as you stand behind someone viewing your art.  When I displayed my oil can art quilts, I started noticing a trend in overheard conversations.  I would watch as heads tilted back and forth perplexed by what they were seeing.  "Are those (toilet) plungers?"  Sigh.  My subject matter is  lost on people under the age of 30.  Thankfully, there are usually plenty of "old" folks around to explain what these "weird" things are.
Oil Cans 3 by Nanette Zeller
Q:  What inspires you to make art quilts and where do you draw inspiration for your individual works?
A:  Although I have been artistically dabbling in a variety of media throughout my life, my collegiate training was in environmental studies.  Specializing in avian and botanical studies, I earned a Masters Degree in Wildlife Biology from NC State University.  Through my education and employment as a field biologist, I was exposed to some amazing natural habitats.  My artistic style has evolved from this life-long culmination of creative adventure and exploration.  My artistic inspiration is deeply influenced by my love and study of nature.
Kiss the Sun by Nanette Zeller

Q:  In addition to art quilting, do you engage in any other artistic endeavors?  Do you use any very non traditional materials in your quilts or have any unusual methods of working that you would like to share?
A:  I have a diverse collection of artistic outlets that I enjoy.  I love to knit, crochet, and felt wool.  As mentioned earlier, I also dabble in a variety of mixed-media techniques from painting, drawing, photography, digital art, and graphic design.  Since fabric tends to be so flat, I frequently add depth to my art by pulling from my tool box of skills.  I've added needle felting to a sunflower to create a fuzzy stem,  created  thread-sketched art quilts from original Prismacolor pencil drawings, and used paints to add details and shadows to flat looking landscapes.  I am always looking for innovative ways to use mixed-media to inspire or enhance what I create.
Tres Dominae by Nanette Zeller

Q:  Is there anything that I didn't ask that you would really like to share?.....How did you get started making art quilts?
A:  For several decades my sewing was limited to domestic tasks (e.g., curtains, pillows, hemming clothes, etc.).  In 2000 a friend invited me to a small local quilt guild.  Initially I wasn't too excited about the craft, but I attended for the social outlet.  I have vivid memories of working on my first quilt the week of September 11, 2001.  Quilting became a safe place amidst all chaos.  At that time I realized that it was more than just a hobby, I knew this would become a way of life.  Soon after that, I was teaching beginners and technical editing quilt books.
Several years later I became tired of following other people's designs/patterns, but I didn't have the confidence to create my own.  Frustrated, I stopped quilting for a number of years and began exploring mixed media art.  I enjoy learning and sucked up everything I could get my hands on;  paint, metal, beads, collage, polymer clay, and screen printing.  Eventually, it occurred to me that a stretched canvas is just fabric.  That's when I started combining quilting with mixed media techniques to make my original art quilts.

I truly enjoy being a member of SAQA and appreciate this opportunity to share my story.  Through my SAQA membership, I've learned a great deal the last few years and have developed greater self-confidence as an artist.

To learn more about Nanette, visit her blog at

Thank you Nanette for sharing your story and your beautiful artwork with us.  I am sure that many of our fellow SAQA members can identify with some of the things you mention.
Anyone else out there care to share their art quilting adventures with us?  We would love to hear from you.
Contact me at

Monday, July 6, 2015

Introducing Mary Ritter

Good Monday Morning Everyone!
 I hope you all had a terrific July 4th holiday and are enjoying your summer.

This month in our "Getting to Know You" feature, I would like to introduce Mary Ritter from Cary, NC.  Here's what she has to say:

"Our arrival in Cary, NC in 2010 was our 20th move and our 10th state.  My husband and I have loved the adventures discovered in living in so many states over the 49 years of our marriage and his 30+ year  with the USAF and the US government.  Born and raised in Minnesota, lived in Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois, Kansas, Hawaii, California (24 years), Utah, and now North Carolina.
     I retired from a career in education, teaching first grade through adults at different stages of my career, and administering the installation of and training for technology during the final four years.  I knew that I wanted to try my hand at quilting once I was retired as I had created a hand quilted "cheater" quilt for a 4-H project in my teens, but had not ever pieced a quilt top or used a machine to quilt.
     While stationed in Hawaii, the opportunity to make a queen size Hawaiian design, White Ginger, captured my interest in quilting again, but the time wasn't right to continue with this time consuming hobby.  Completing the hand-appliqued and hand quilted piece did help me fill the time while raising two toddlers and not working outside the home.
White Ginger

     In 2004, we settled in Alexandria, MN, thinking we would retire there, and I joined several quilting groups, trying my hand at piecing and machine quilting.  One word......Frustration.  Then during a cold February, I had a vision of creating something would bring me some much needed Hawaiian sunshine.  "Sweet Tropical Sunshine" was the result.  It started with a small Hawaiian pineapple design in the center, and then progresses to a free-form sun with hand-quilted flames.  It was my first digression into what I soon learned was "art quilting."  I also discovered "Quilting Arts Magazine" and was a founding member of DIVAS - Designing Innovative Visual Arts Sisterhood, a group of 12 artists working in fabric art.  From then on, exploration and creativity were the main players in the game."

Sweet Tropical Sunshine
Question: Do you have your own studio?  What is your favorite feature and what is your least favorite feature:
Answer:  Our move to Cary made it possible for me to have a designated space for a studio.      Previously, I set up in a bedroom or a basement, making do with the space available.  In Cary, I was able to have the loft area of our home for my studio..aptly named The Loft Studio.  One of my      favorite things is the storage space with a large shelved closet and an attic space for overflow.    Another advantage is a large working area where I can leave everything out and disheveled until I return.      
The Loft Studio
Question: What inspires you to make art quilts? 
Answer:   I find inspiration all around me, frequently trying new techniques after reading a blog, participating in a demonstration or watching a video.  However, the main drive for my work has been a series entitled:  A Place in time.  This series features quilts based on my childhood in rural Minnesota on a farm, attending a rural church, and a one-room country school house through sixth grade.  The name for a quilt usually pops into my head as I am working on it.  The other significant idea source of "future" quilts involves travel experiences.  Less than a month ago, I returned from Spain where the work of Antonio Guadi in Barcelona was so inspirational.  That inspiration was put to the test in the SAQA benefit auction piece I donated.  Too many ideas.....too little time!
The Old Barn Still Stands
Farm Home
Serenity:  Snow in Winter and Church on Sunday
Look, Mom!

Question: How many art quilt groups are you involved with?
And, are you a member of a traditional quilt guild?
Answer:  Currently I belong to a neighborhood group of traditional quilters, the Piecemakers,  Another informal art group involves only three artists who meet to share ideas and techniques in our homes as time allows.  A formal group of which I am a member is the Triangle Art Quilters which meets monthly at Carolina State University in Raleigh to demonstrate techniques, as well as to share project progress. And I am a member of PAQA-S (Professional Art Quilts Alliance-South), a regional organization that is of great benefit to artists like me.  The diversity of these groups creates inspiration on many levels and keeps me in touch with other artists who enjoy working with textiles.

Creating with fabric, paint, dyes, found objects, and a variety of techniques, touches my soul and makes for a wonderful retirement!

Here's a link to Mary's blog

Monday, June 8, 2015

News from our regional meeting

L to R, Pan Dowen, Mary Ritter, Kathleen Gruer, Jane Hall, Annette Rogers, Lois Underwood, Kristin LaFlamme, Christine Hager-Braun, Eileen Williams, Nanette Zeller, Tricia Tillett, Cindy Pryor, Joni Beach
Members of our NC/SC SAQA region met on Saturday, June 6th at the Campbell House in Southern Pines, NC.  We were treated to a private viewing of the exhibit "Homefront & Downrange, Witness the Art in Military Life" in the beautiful Campbell House gallery.  SAQA member Kristin LaFlamme treated everyone to a discussion and tour of her fiber artwork; "Thank you Kristin!"  It was very moving to all who saw the works and understood the meaning of the pieces on display about the sacrifices made by our Country's military members and their families.  Another thank you goes out to Nanette Zeller who is the exhibit chair for this exhibition at the Campbell House  and made arrangements for us to meet at this lovely gallery.
The Campbell House
Kristen LaFlamme and SAQA members view the exhibit
We also met for social get together time, introductions, and show and tell.  It was nice to get to know each other better and see the diversity and creativity of our group of artists.  The SAQA trunk show was available for viewing and discussion and afterwards, the group headed out for lunch and some shopping.  What a great day!                                                                                                               

Combat Paper Project
If you were unable to attend but would like to see the exhibit,  Homefront & Downrange  will be on display until July 10, 2015.  For more information, visit