Thursday, July 9, 2015

Member Profile: Dawn Allen

"Morning Glory" by Dawn Allen

When did you make your first art quilt?
The line between a quilt and an art quilt is not exactly clear to me. When I was a small child my mom would sew with me and I would make small art quilts for my stuffed animals. (I call them art because they were my own original designs.) In my 20s I made quilts using more traditional patterns and modern techniques such as “Strips that Sizzle”. When I was about 28 I branched out into more original designs and techniques sometime around 2003.

Describe the work that you make:

Currently I am focused on three dimensional quilted art. I create them as pieces intended for hanging on the wall (not as sculptures). My current series is called “Larger Than Life Flowers”, which accurately describes the pieces!

What are your favorite styles or techniques?
I like to use crooked seams, curves, and texture.

Do you have a favorite color palette?
Bright and rich. I like my colors to be vibrant and rarely use pastels. I use mostly commercial batiks.

Do you have a favorite theme that you like to work with?
Right now I am on flowers but I am always full of ideas. Sometimes I feel too full of ideas!

How do you work?  Give us some insight into your design process:
First I daydream about an idea for a few days or weeks. Then I start collecting fabrics and laying them out on my studio table to see how they look together. I research photos I have taken and photos on the internet of the subject I am interested in. (Such as a daisy.) Then I draw a very minimalistic outline of the shape and size I am planning. I never sketch anything with any details other than the outline, all of the other design and color pattern elements are held in my imagination.
After that I start cutting and sewing free form!

What are your sources of inspiration?
Almost always the texture and color of something I happen to see will be the inspiration. Occasionally I am inspired by an idea, story, or memory of an event.

Tell us about your studio, how you have it organized and how it works for you.
My studio is a smallish room in my finished basement. I like to have it in the basement so I don’t need to worry about sunlight damaging my fabric. My table is actually my husband’s foosball table with a top over it (I told him he could take the top off to play but let’s face it, that isn’t going to happen). It has a sticker with a picture of a can that reads “Whup-ass” from his bachelor days. I find it rather hilarious. My biggest issue is storing finished projects because I can’t simply pile up the three dimensional pieces. One whole wall is full of shelves with stacked fabric and I still can’t understand why I never have all the exact colors I need!

Do you have a website, blog, easy shop, etc?

My website/blog is

Dawn Allen with "Giant Sunflower"

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