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

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment