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

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