The Artist

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


Vintage photographs, family albums , snapshots and digital collages 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


cover portrait

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

Apply and Adapt

In my May post I described the wonderful week I had at the “Empty Spools Retreat”. In this post,  I am going to share with you how I applied what I learned and adapted that leaning to my own work.

Sometimes people  are so impressed with a teacher or a quilt; they too fully embrace everything they learned in the workshop and make  a “duplicate” or at least a quilt that can easily identified with a specific artist. 

Although this often a necessary step on the road to creating your own unique style, it is best to apply what you learned and adapt that learning to fit your needs.


The class was given by Valerie Goodwin. One of the reasons I was drawn to the class was that her desired learning outcome for participants open ended.  

She described a process of using design thinking.


 

Map of a road through pebble beach. This was my final project which has an ocean waves, a road and homes under construction Map of a road through pebble beach. This was my final project which has an ocean waves, a road and homes under construction

“An art quilter’s most valuable asset is his or her creativity — and it needs to be reinforced through an understanding of design thinking. In this workshop you’ll find creative thinking exercises. Beginning with an exercise related to the seven principles of design –work instinctively with color – explore creativity through experimentation.”          course description

The products created in the workshop would  combine several techniques. The product was related to maps, but it was clear that the opportunity for creating your own spin on the idea was supported:

You will create paper map-like collage compositions through a series of quick “hands-on” exercises and subsequently make fabric constructions. The goal of this class is to allow you to create little spontaneous works that can become the basis for a final small quilted art map. You will develop these pieces using freehand scissor cutting, layering of varied fabrics, and other techniques to create an interesting work of art.

We started with simple paper compositions that would be an example of the each element and principle of design. Next we created postcard size compositions.These sketches required participants to build a composition on a woven substrate using a technique not unlike quilt as you go. Next we painted some areas, fused organza and finished with both hand and machine stitching. The compositions were loosely based on a map.

Post card sized maps.

In the final project we had a larger substrate. My final composition ended up being 22 x 16. We used the same process but that process to our own “maps”. Most participants created projects in the style of their instructor. Mine was a more abstract composition.

Valerie supported my decision to cut holes through the layers and to create three distinct zones which stretched the length of the composition. I think it came out pretty well.

More importantly when I approached my next quilt, I had an increased awareness of the power of design thinking.

“Sky Lanterns” is the result of apply and adapt. I used fused organza on the lanterns which lets some of the background color show through. When I created the image I focused on design concepts like movement, contrast and balance. I have no interest in creating maps but I do have a passion for creating art.


 

Until next time…..
Margaret

Invest in your Art: Empty Spools Retreat

I spent last week at “Empty Spools”, a quilt retreat located in Asilomar. Asilomar is a California State Park located just north of Pebble Beach. It is stunningly beautiful. The retreat lasts for five weeks and offers workshops in traditional and art quilting. Participants often return year after year with friends who make this more […]

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A Professional Tribe

At a recent quilt guild show, a fellow quilt artist mentioned they did not join SAQA because there were “no meetings.” Her expectations centered around a perception of SAQA as organization just like her local quilt guild would be if it was only made up of art quilters. This conversation made me think more deeply […]

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Not All Art Quilts Are Flat!

As I write this post, I looked  down at the calendar I almost missed the fact that this is the first day of March! Another year sailing by too quickly. My life since retirement has increasingly been focused on creating work for entry into art quilt exhibitions. The first three months of this year contain […]

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After the “Road to California”

 Last year I wrote a post about my experience entering my first art quilt in a traditional quilt show in Ontario California. “ By the end of two days at the show I learned that I needed to improve my technical skills and rethink what might be a better fit using my current technique. I […]

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