The Artist

I am an art quilter exploring stories starting with a photograph.

Vintage images, family albums and camera phone snapshots documenting my life are my primary subject matter.  Every art quilt I make has a rich subtext - a hidden story.

Creating allows me, as an artist; to think deeply about my life and celebrate the joy I find everyday

jim

My process starts with a digital image. I use photo manipulation software to enhance or create a new composition. The digital file is sent to a commercial fabric printer. When the fabric arrives in my studio, I use a variety of  materials including dyes, pigment sticks and paints directly on the cloth.  As I quilt through the cloth, batting and backing; I am  drawing with thread to create a rich and visually exciting  work of art.

Margaret Abramshe was born in Honolulu Hawaii in 1959 to family of academics. She studied for her BFA at the University of Colorado at Boulder, received a degree in Art Education from Florida International University and a Master’s in Fine Art from the University of Northern Colorado. She spent her career as public school educator, a mentor teacher, wrote numerous grants and was part of district wide curriculum writing teams in Jefferson County Colorado.

Since retiring, Margaret has devoted her time to being studio artist working as an art quilter.  In the past three years Margaret’s art quilts have been included in numerous local, national and international shows.

Recent Posts

The Quilt Shows Rubric


“Critics have a job to do. They do not criticise you without reason.”

Abhishek Bachchan


This fall I entered two quilts at the state quilt festival. One of these quilts was selected by Nancy Prince and given the  shows’ National Teacher Award. I was surprised and grateful for Nancy’s kind words. 

As an art quilter I have many quilts in galleries and museums that feature fine arts. Those shows are juried by digital image and often judged by digital image or as the juror tours the show.

San Antonio

Quilt shows use a difference process. Although quilts may be accepted by viewing a digital image, they are juried using a specific set of predetermined qualities which are evaluated by close inspection. In teacher speak this is called a rubric.

A scoring rubric is an attempt to communicate expectations of quality around a task. In many cases,scoring rubrics are used to delineate consistent criteria for grading.

Luckily the judges included the completed rubric when my quilts were returned. It was valuable information. Their rubric  used two categories: “Appearance” and “Workmanship”. Each judge circled a grade from excellent to fair after looking at the specific attribute. There was also an option of not applicable. The rubric was used for all categories from patchwork to art quilts. 

The appearance category had six attributes: fabric choice, color/value, scale/composition ,border, quilting pattern and condition. Workmanship had seven categories and  eight subcategories: piecing, applique, quilting (even stitches, amount, visible marking or knots, tension) amount of quilting, borders, finishing (binding, corners, filled binding, stitch) and special techniques or embellishments.

My quilt San Antonio, which got the national teachers award ; received no exceptional marks in any category from any of the states judges.  The reason for this is because the judging process was very different. 

It was clear from the rubric that the judges area of expertise was traditional or functional quilts. Judges wrote a note asking if the quilt was a photo or was it painted. Because the judges were unable to read my artist statement to help them fill in the gaps in their knowledge they were at a disadvantage.

Many of the attributes could not be evaluated because art quilts are not bound by the limits of function or the deeply embedded craft tradition associated with the quilt. I did not have a border. The quilt is whole cloth so there were no fabric selections, no piecing or applique. The fabric itself was unique and created with recent technology. Teams of judges assembled to examine quilts had no frame of reference to look at a creative or non functional entry. 

The national judge was not bound by the rubric. She had experience viewing and making quilts that were decorative and not functional. She also was given the freedom to look at the selection of quilts and pick one that spoke her aesthetic sensibilities. She was selecting a quilt in the same way a judge at art quilt exhibition would select a quilt. Their selection is based on visual qualities and not held hostage by a the rubric.

Alamo Gate

When I explain the difference in the judging process  to an audience, I often hear people say, that’s why I don’t enter quilt shows. I don’t need to be judged. 

It’s important to remember that judges have a job to do. The are not judging without reason. I am going to use the rubric from the state show to help me select some areas of technique that I can improve.

I am also keenly aware that the selection process at an art venue  is different than quilt show. Finally I am confident in my current abilities and in my ability to constantly grow as an artist.


Until next time…
Margaret

Sharing what I know with others….

For many years I spent my creative time making projects for my students. I was continuously gathering inspiration at museums, galleries, in books, at classes, online and with other artists. Very little of my energy was devoted to my personal work. Like many of my fellow art  teachers, when I first retired I had zero […]

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Studio Redesign

My studio remodel is done. It took a little time, some elbow grease and a little under $1000 to create a wonderful dedicated work space. 1. Start with the surfaces. I needed light that filled the space evenly. I painted all the walls with a white with a little sheen (not a flat white). Next […]

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12 Little Secrets to Becoming an Art Quilter

I love Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen’s passion is the study of happiness and habit formation. On her webpage she has long list of “secrets to adulthood”  The secrets are little reminders that help make life more enjoyable and promote good habits. I began more than 10 years ago working exclusively on art quilts. For past four […]

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The Careful Snapshot

Like many people, I am on a summer road trip. My husband and I our heading back to our former home to see our son, visit friends, do a little sightseeing and attending the opening of “Art Quilt Legacies” in Ft. Collins Colorado. While on the road, like many people; I  take photographs to post […]

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