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

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Introducing Barb Boatman

 Introducing Barb Boatman from Annandale, VA

I create art because it makes me happy.  Some people paint, I see fabric and my sewing machine as my paint and brushes.  I've been working for the past few years to create a body of work so I can do art festivals and fairs.  The ultimate goal is to make Cut Sew Create Studio my retirement business when I retire in 4 years.

Question:  Do you have your own studio or do you work wherever you can find a spot?
Answer:  I have a spare room dedicated as a studio, but I work in my dining room a lot because the view outside is a lot better.

Question:  What is the most unusual surface design/technique you have ever used?
Answer:  The most unusual technique I use is the one I'm best know for; I deconstruct aluminum soda cans, which I had weave with torn fabric.  After I create the new woven fabric, I quilt  it on my Bernina 1001.  Even when I'm not making a woven piece of art, I try to incorporate recycled aluminum in all my work in some manner......large or small.
From an artistic perspective, I want to push people to think about recycling and re-purposing materials in very different ways.  I want people to notice mly colors and textures.  But then I want them to lean in close to try to figure out what I'm using and how I'm "doing it".  I want them to see how a very old, very traditional method of sewing and creating can be used in a totally new way.  Once they see my art, I know they will never think about discarded soda cans in the same way ever again.
Ice Tea Tree III
Question:  Do you offer any professional services?
Answer:  I do take custom orders.

Question:  What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you at an exhibit or quilt show?
Answer:  The funniest things that happens to me is that I get the same questions every time I show my work.  
..............Don't you get cut by the cans?  No, the metal is too soft and after cutting thousands of cans, I've developed a technique to that doesn't happen.   
..............Do you use something special to cut the cans?  No.  I choose to use spring loaded Fiscar shears because they are easier on my elbow.  But I could use any scissor because the metal is so thin.  To cut the cans into 1/4" and 1/2' strips I use a cheap plastic paper cutter.
..............Do you use a special machine or special thread or a special needle?  No, No, and No.  I use a small Bernina 1001.  I typically use a medium weight thread, but I really don't pay any attention to that.  I only use rayon or metallic threads as top stitching because they do break easier.  When the thread does start to break, then the needle needs to be changed.  I never pay any attention to needle size.  In the spirit of total recycling, I use needles discarded by other quilters who stick to "time limits".  They give them to me in old pill bottles, so I never know the size.  Again, when the thread breaks, the needle is shot.

Question:  What inspires you to make art quilts and where do you draw inspiration for your individual works?
Answer: Continuing my family legacy of quilting was my original inspiration.  I'm a fifth generation quilt maker, so I grew up watching my maternal grandmother making quilts.  In the early 70's I was influenced to start making quilts during the bicentennial.  Specifically I was inspired by Sharon Rockefeller and the Cabin Creek Quilters.  The work she helped them sell in NYC was extremely contemporary in color and design.  So I made a few quilts and a lot of "patchwork" table cloths,, pocketbooks, and skirts.  Like so many others, I learned about art quilting when I discovered Quilting Arts Magazine.  But I didn't try to make an art quilt until I met Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts (about 2009).  She hosts a monthly gathering of artists, and many are art quilters who belong to local guilds.  Because of this group I created 3 art quilts which went on national tours as part of the Power Art Challenge and the Art and Old Lace Challenge.  I also entered and was accepted into the 2013 Sacred Threads show here in Reston, Va.

Koi Pond II

Question: Do you engage in any other artistic endeavors?
Answer:  I love to create 3D assemblages.  I take salvaged materials and create original art.  Several of my pieces incorporate working clocks.  I show and sell my art at the Del Ray Artisan Gallery near Alexandria and other commercial sights.  I also am an art vendor at different shows and festivals.  In 2014 I received 1st place for best exhibitor in Mixed Media at the Havre de Grace Art Festival in Maryland.

Thanks Barb for sharing your very interesting art  with us.  To find out more about her artwork, visit her on the web at:

or her blog:

If anyone else is interested in sharing your work with other members of our region, please contact me.

And finally, let's look at a few other works by Barb Boatman
Fresca with Gold

Purse;  3D Dogwood 

Dew on Mountains

Monday, April 6, 2015

Introducing Jenny Williams

Getting to Know Jenny Williams

I live in Lexington in central North Carolina; the self-acclaimed "Barbecue Capital of the World".  Unfortunately, I don't like barbecue, so I rarely go out to eat locally because that's just about the only kind of restaurant we have here.
As an artist, I originally painted with watercolor until 10 or 12 years ago when I saw someone painting on silk.  I fell in love with the sensuous tactileness (tactility? tactilability?) of seeing how silk paints flowed so easily, yet you could control the flow with a resist.  From silks I moved into the full fabric world of creating art quilts.  Eventually I moved into free motion machine embroidery - or painting solid pictures with layers of thread that are not computerized.  Now that I am retired, I can honestly say that I am a full-time professional art quilter.

Question:  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?
Answer:  By the time I started working with fabric, both sons had moved out and I was rewarded with the use of their bedroom, although it was several years before my husband realized that the beds really had to go.  We do have another guest room so it wasn't that difficult a choice.  My studio walls host 3 large IKEA shelf units, which have dozens of individual "cubbies" and are totally filled.  Because my work consists mostly of thread I don't use a lot of fabric, so I am able to store a lot of other items that I use for beading and stenciling.

Question:  What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that every happened to you at an exhibit or quilt show or gallery opening for your work?
Answer:  My very first exhibit was at a mixed art show at the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts in Louisville, KY.  My husband and I drove 8 hours to get to Louisville for the opening artists' reception on Friday night.  Never having been exhibited in anything at all like that, I was extremely nervous.  When I turned the corner in the gallery and saw my art quilts hanging on the wall, I was so overwhelmed that tears just streamed down my cheeks.  At that moment the curator of the show came over and my husband put his arm around me and sweetly said, "Well, that was a given".  I was quite embarrassed, but he gave me a glass of champagne and a tissue and both were greatly appreciated.  I have to admit that I still become emotional when I first see one of my pieces hanging in an exhibit.
The Barn by Jenny Williams

Question:  What inspires you to make art quilts and from where do you draw inspiration for your individual works?
Answer:  Textures fascinate me, whether it's rusted hinges, paint peeling off an oil can, weathered old barn doors, or lichen growing on the side of a tree.  Any and all textures make me curious to try to figure out how to best represent them in fabric.  My go-to technique to attempt to do so is usually with thread.
The Bow by Jenny Williams
Question: Do you use any very non traditional materials in your quilts or have any unusual methods of working that you would like to share?
Answer:  The most unusual non-traditional item I have worked with is metal.  I still enjoy working with fabric and I love combining it with copper sheeting, brass screen mesh, and decorative color coated wire.  After discovering my joy of metals, I purchased a blow torch, which I use to elicit those gorgeous hues of blues and greens and purples.

Thanks Jenny for sharing with us.  It was fun getting to know a little about you.
To see more of Jenny's works, visit

And as always, if anyone has something they would like to share with members in our region or if you would like to be featured in the Getting to Know You segment, send me an e-mail (  and let me know.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Call for Entries

This just in from Patty Powers.  The Lynchburg Art Club is having a juried and judged show at the Club in April 2015, themed "Water Ways".  Cash prizes but the entry is coming up fast...March 10th.  Patty apologizes for the short notice but states that she would love to see more fiber and mixed media entries in the show and she just realized that she could have a notice sent out to our SAQA region.
 Here's the link for more information.

Thanks Patty!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Introducing Susanne Miller Jones

Good Monday Morning!  I hope everyone is thawing out from this very cold and snowy winter.  This month we are featuring Susanne Miller Jones on our "Getting to Know You" blog feature.  Enjoying reading about her and what she is up to these days.

SAQA:  VA/NC Regional Getting to Know Susanne Miller Jones

I am a retired elementary school teacher, living in Potomac Falls VA.  Retirement gives you time to explore many possibilities and I found that I love to create fiber art.  I use mixed media techniques and love the freedom involved in creating my own designs.  I work with bright colors and a variety of textures, pulling in fibers not usually found in traditional quilts: vinyl, fleece, crepe de chine, jute, raffia, and lace.  Frequently I use machine embroidery in my designs.  I enjoy adding beads, crystals, and buttons.  To add more texture, I often quilt with metallic or holographic thread.

Susanne's Birthday Dinner debuted in the What's for Dinner exhibit at the Houston International Quilt Festival in 2014.

My Summer Paradise will be in the Southern Accents exhibit at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL from May 16 - Aug 22, 2015


"Rain" was part of the Beatles exhibit which is currently traveling and can be found in Inspired by the Beatles:  An Art Quilt Challenge curated by Donna Marcinowski Desoto

Question:  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?
Answer:  My husband and I live in a two bedroom condo and I am fortunate enough to have the second bedroom as my studio.  I love my studio because we re-purposed the room; adding cabinets and a counter-top that we had removed from the kitchen during a remodel, a built in ironing board and track lighting aimed at the design wall.  My least favorite part of it is the temperature.  In the winter, it's the coldest room in our place and in the summer it's the hottest.

Question:  Do you offer a professional service such as long arm quilting, teaching, commission work, fabric dyeing and selling, coaching, repair and restoration, etc.  
Answer: Yes, I do commissions
.  One of them hangs in the sanctuary of my church and I have two in the process right now.  Anyone interested in commissioning a work can contact me at  My most exciting venture right now is a call for entries for a collection of fiber art pieces, Fly Me to the Moon, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk.  It is a multifaceted collection and will be traveling as several exhibits.  It will be published as a book in the fall of 2018.  Information about it can be found on the SAQA website,  It is also on my blog:
Question:  What inspires you to make art quilts and where do you draw inspiration for your individual works?
Answer:  I draw inspiration from memories:  a family meal; my grandmother's front porch; and old photographs.  I am finding that I enjoy the process of recreating scenes that look so realistic you can almost smell the food or feel the motion of the hammock.  I really enjoy challenges as a way of stretching myself.  It is such a blessing to watch my designs come to fruition in fabric.

Question:  What is on your list of new things to try that you have never done before?
Answer:  I am a life long learner and can't wait to learn new techniques.  I'm looking forward to taking thread painting with Nancy Prince, a portrait class with Esterita Austin, a fusing class with Sue Bleiweiss and a series of classes from Vikki Pignatelli at Sacred Threads.  I've taken some dye classes and can't wait to dye some fabric at Focus on Fiber this March.  I'm also looking forward to learning about applying paint to my pieces.

Question: Are you a member of a traditional quilt guild?  If so, how involved are you with your guild?
Answer:  I am the president of Reston Quilters Unlimited, a chapter of a much larger guild in the Washington DC area.  I also am a member of Countryside Quilters, a much smaller guild near my home.  I enjoy the friendships made and the generous sharing spirits of the ladies in my guilds.  I think my favorite job in my guild was Program Chair.  I loved planning the programs and getting to know the quilters who came to share with us.

Question:  How do you usually come up with a name for your art quilts?
Answer: Usually the name of a quilt comes to me.  I rarely have to think hard.  Most of the time I just know what the title is during the process of making the quilt.  It's like the quilt tells me its name.  Often it is a play on words or a familiar phrase.  My current project is a zebra, called Black and White and Red All Over.
Question:  How many art quilt groups are you involved with?  Tell us a little about them and what you do.
Answer:  I am a member of a local group of friends, who make textile art.  We are called Playing Outside of the Block, Playgroup for short.  We meet every Monday and do hand work and chat and share and challenge each other.  Inspired by the Beatles, an Art Quilt Challenge was begun as a challenge in this group issued by Donna DeSoto.
I am a Quilt Alliance member and have participated in their yearly contest for the past two years.  I won a Judge's Choice the first year and a Members' Choice the second year.  I love going to their Quilters Take Manhattan event each September.
On the Sacred Threads Committee I am the liaison to the Artist in Residence, chairperson of the workshops, co-chair of the volunteers and I act as the facilities POC.  It is a thrill to be involved in such a special show of textile art focusing on the themes of joy, grief, inspiration,, healing, spirituality and peace/brotherhood.
For SAQA, I serve as chairman of the workshops, vendors and advertising for the upcoming Fiberlandia Conference in Portland, OR the May.

Question: Do you use any very non-traditional materials in your quilts or have any unusual methods of working that you would like to share?
Answer:  Texture is critically important in my pieces and I will use whatever I can find to simulated the texture that the piece calls for.  I have used vinyl, fleece, charmeuse, jute, raffia, window screen, and earring backs on pieces that I have made.  Searching for the right texture and shape is part of the fun.

Thanks for sharing with us Susanne!  It's been wonderful getting to know a little about you.  Eileen

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Introducing Christine Hager-Braun Ph.D.

Good Morning.  Well, we have a brave volunteer who is willing to go first in our new getting to know you blog segment.  So, I'd like to introduce Christine Hager-Braun.  (who, by the way, is SAQA's translation liason in charge of coordinating SAQA's calls for entry and membership information).
To start off, I asked her to tell us a little something about herself and then asked a few other questions so we could get to know something about her.  Here is what she said:

Christine Hagar-Braun 
Back in 1999, I moved to the US from Germany to work as a scientist in HIV research. I began art quilting as a hobby. Seven years later when my son started kindergarten I decided to give up my job in the laboratory and to start a career as a full time textile artist. I fulfilled my dream: my hobby became my profession.
Question:   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?  (We would love it if you could provide a photo of your work space.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be cleaned up!)


Like many hobby artists I started out at a small corner of the dining table but soon I took over the flat surface and we ate at a small corner of the table. As it became clear that I needed a dedicated larger workspace we built a small addition to our house with the studio on the first floor. What I love about the space is the natural light. I have a total of six windows on three sides of the studio! 

Question:  Do you offer a professional service such as long arm quilting, teaching, commission work, fabric dyeing and selling, coaching, repair and restoration, etc.  Tell us a little about it and be sure to include your web page address and/or blog page info and whatever else you use to get the word out.

Answer:  I teach quilting with a walking foot and free-motion quilting for beginners as well as project-based classes. In addition, I give presentations to quilt guilds, providing them with an overview of my art work and telling the story of my the life as a textile artist. I accept commissions for art quilts which are similar to my existing work but need different colors or sizes. My biggest commission so far is a series of three art quilts for the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.
More info is available on my website or via email at

Question:  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.

Answer:One of my early solo show was at a community building. I went back a few days after the opening to photograph the exhibition. A viewer, who apparently did not know who I was looked at my piece “Storm of Life” and commented: “I guess the artist had an egg sunny-side up for breakfast!”

Question:  In addition to art quilting, do you engage in any other artistic endeavors?

Answer:  The only other creative adventure I pursue is raising a teenage son (who I adore)!

Here are more of Christine's fabulous art quilts.........enjoy!