I come from a long line of women who have expressed themselves using a needle and thread. Creating with various forms of fabric and thread have been part of my life since I was a child and my mother and great aunt taught me to sew, embroider and crochet. Once I discovered quilting about 25 years ago, it became my passion.
For a number of years, I used traditional methods and patterns and made many quilts by hand to decorate my home and to give as gifts. My first quilt was a queen sized bed quilt which I hand quilted to give to my husband as a wedding gift. While I continue to appreciate the beauty of traditional quilts, several years ago I began to feel the need to create my own designs so the quilts I made would be truly mine. Using the sewing machine freed me to pursue more of the design ideas in my head, while giving me the opportunity to add more creative lines to the surface of my designs than was previously possible. Many of my creations draw on the traditions of the past, but reinterpret them in a contemporary way. I am also inspired by the work of abstract painters like Matisse, Morris Louis and Mark Rothko, as a result of studying art history in college.
Creating art quilts is thrilling because I never know what the design is going to look like until the piece is finished. Typically I start with a fabric that speaks to me or a design idea, like freeform circles or diagonal bands of color. Then I decide on a color scheme and pull many different fabrics together to begin cutting and auditioning pieces on the design wall in my studio. Usually I put all of the pieces on the wall and rearrange them until I’m satisfied before I start sewing. Because there’s no pattern to follow, seeing the interplay of color and design on the wall is integral to my creative process. Often the initial design idea is only faintly recognizable at the end because the choices of fabric, color and design interact in unexpected ways as the piece emerges.
I have a BA in art history from William and Mary and an MBA from George Washington University. I used quiltmaking as a creative outlet for many years as I pursued a career in financial journalism. My work has been shown in local and regional shows in the Washington, DC area, as well as nationally in venues from New York to California. My work is represented in a number of private collections, including a recent work commissioned by a collector for a contemporary home in Hollywood Hills, CA. I am now represented by Chasen Galleries in Richmond, VA, – Cindy Grisdela
The Cindy Grisdela Gallery: