Creative exploration develops in Valerie Flanagan's art quilts. While she began as a traditional quilter, her transition to art quilt design goes back to 2009. The abstract work is linear, cut without the use of rulers and an intuitive piecing process. During the last five years, she dyes much of her own fabric herself. Usually working in a series, she says,
"I find this helpful because this pushes me to go deeper into the work and explore areas that may not have occurred to me initially."
Valerie enjoys the voyage of the entire art quilt process.
"I love to walk and may see something that interests me and then think about expressing it in an abstract manner. But mostly, I work on a design and in the end it takes on a more specific meaning."
"I dye my own fabric and while it is mostly solid, some have a slightly mottled look. I select three primary MX dyes and mix colors from these three primaries. There is something very seductive about putting plain white fabric in a dyebath and watching the color emerge.
My work involves intricate piecing. Lines and shapes are freely cut without the use of a ruler and assembled on the design wall."
"Strip-piecing is one of my favorite techniques. Each fabric creation is a composition of its own--and then it is sliced up and recombined with other fabric compositions to create a new composition with surprising configurations .
Do you have a favorite color palette:
I love all colors, but if I you look at my work, I tend to gravitate towards warmer hues and neutrals."
"I begin with a general idea and a palette of colors. While I have a form in mind, most of the design happens on the wall. I cut lines and shapes without a ruler and either assemble the large pieces on the design wall or create smaller units that are then arranged on the design wall. If possible, I lay everything out on the design wall before I sew it together. This works well with a linear construction. When I am working with curved shapes, I sew as I add each element... My titles usually do not come until I am quilting the piece and reflecting on the experience and process."
Opening her studio door and entering with judgment free creation inspires Valerie.
"My studio is in my home.I have a cozy room with a large design wall. All of my fabric is in the studio and I have a large table that my husband made to support my machine and provide a large surface for machine quilting. This works for me. I don't have to think about going to my studio--it is the place I head to as soon as I wake up. My windows overlook flower gardens and the bird feeders. It is a lovely environment to work in."
What a joy to find Valerie's inspiration expressed in her art.