My style of quilted illustrations arose from my interest in historic pictorial quilts. I had attempted, over the years, to recreate various styles of antique quilting from redwork embroidery to appliqué. But my true inspiration came when I stumbled on a photograph of a Storybook quilt worked by a woman for her grandchild at the end of the nineteenth century. Studying this beautifully executed crazy quilt motivated me to create a quilt for my daughter that told stories of her ancestry. I used the crazy quilt as a model, incorporating scraps of fabric from family heirlooms as well as embroidery, ribbons, beads and other decorative elements. But the main focus of the quilt was the small vignettes illustrating scenes from the lives of women in the family.
I never made another crazy quilt, or any other full-size quilt. Instead, I have focused on the creation of individual vignettes. At first, I illustrated nursery rhymes and fairy tales, but soon I began to create my own stories with the quilts. I have always used a combination of stuffed and sculpted appliqué, embroidery, and overlapping fabrics to create texture and depth. I use fabrics from many sources – old, new, hand-painted, hand-knit or crocheted – and I have occasionally pulled pieces from my own wardrobe to achieve just the right color or texture.
I recently wrote and illustrated the children’s book, “Gaia and the Golden Toad: A Tale of Climate Change.” This fact-based fantasy tells the story of Earth’s child, Gaia, who discovers that many of Earth’s creatures are suffering from the effects of climate change, and that Earth’s children offer hope for their survival.