Carbondale artist shows quilt in international fest
Quilting may still be seen as more of a craft than an art, but don’t tell that to Terry Lee.
The Carbondale woman has been creating fabric landscapes with Grand Junction’s Art Quilt Association (AQuA) for about a decade, and this weekend her piece “Secret Garden” is hanging in an AQuA exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California.
The exhibit, called “Doors,” consists of work by 24 members of AQuA and was juried by esteemed fiber artist Betty Busby of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Busby singled out five pieces for special recognition, and Lee’s was one of them.
“I was really excited,” Lee said. “When you put your heart and soul in a piece, you think your piece is great. But having that acknowledged from an independent outside person really feels good. There are many talented women in the Art Quilt Association, so to be picked is really cool.”
“Doors” may sound like a fairly concrete theme to represent visually at first, but the artists of AQuA thought deeply about how they could get creative with that one word. In Lee’s case, her quilt was inspired by a scene she saw with her husband on a trip to Melbourne, England. They were walking past a parish church when Lee noticed a door in an archway behind an area of shrubs.
“It piqued my interest — ‘What’s behind that door?’” she said. “I just had to render it in fabric.”
Lee has been working with fabric for most of her life. She started out sewing garments, but she always wanted to try quilting. Finally, in the early ’90s, she started taking quilting classes.
“When I started quilting, I started with the traditional quilt making,” she said. “You learn the basics and techniques, and I really enjoy working with fabric. So I started taking different kinds of classes.”
Eventually, she took a class that opened her eyes to a more artistic take on quilt making, and she’s been creating fabric landscapes ever since.
“Different artists pick their medium for different reasons,” she said. “I just really like the tactile feel of fabric.”
In 2006, Lee was encouraged by a friend to join AQuA, which has been around since 1996 and which focuses on “quilts as art rather than bed coverings,” according to its website.
“That was a way for me to get support from like-minded people,” Lee said.
Although Carbondale to Grand Junction is quite the commute, Lee said she tries to make it to as many monthly meetings as she can. AQuA is a place for her to elevate quilt making as an art form.
“When you go to art galleries, you see many other forms of art, but you don’t really see exhibits focused on fiber art,” she said. “It’s an exciting art form, and I think it’s developing an audience, but it has a little ways to go.”
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