Monday, May 13, 2013

Patty Hawkins' words of wisdom

Patty Hawkins' session on her artistic path was one of the break out sessions at the SAQA conference. Patty was full of energy and enthusiasm as she spoke about her "Art Odyssey". She gave some very good information as well as making us laugh, ooh and ahh.

Patty is a kind and generous woman. She gave us lots of information about how she worked. She emphasized that welcoming any newcomer to the art quilt community was important. Although she had been working in water color for 15 years, when she found art quilts, she knew that was how she wanted to work in the future. Patty said that when her work was first accepted to Quilt National and the American Craft Museum, it gave her a lot of confidence in her work.

Patty's work has been accepted into Quilt National seven times, and three times into Quilt Visions. Anyone who is that successful is full of experience and good methods!

The first thing she recommended for advice on design was to "Simplify, Exaggerate and Repeat". If you look at her work you can see exactly how she does that to make work rich in depth and feeling. She creates her fabrics using screenprinting, dye and shibori methods. Her aspen trees are repeated in different sizes, and the leaves and other elements are also simple, but repeated to great affect. The Red Tori Gates piece uses the red gate, repeated over and over in a simple, but striking composition.  Patty was inspired to make a series of quilts after her visit to Japan. She was awarded the trip when she won the Quilts Japan prize in 2006 from Quilt Visions.

Patty recommended that the artist play to a theme that you are passionate about, and listen to others suggestions. We've all heard suggestions from others and thought they weren't useful. Patty said she might not like what she hears, but she tries them out anyway, and finds her friends are often right, and the piece is improved through their feedback.

Putting lights and darks next to each other was another tip she gave, as well as adding a tiny bit of complementary color to lead the eye around the composition. Patty does fused collages, and often uses tulle over parts of them. Sometimes she sews shapes on the tulle, and then cuts some of them out, creating a negative shape.

After having an hour with Patty, I would love to take a workshop with her. She is so talented, friendly and giving. Please visit her website and enjoy her work!


  1. Very helpful write-up, Jeanne. I enjoyed going and viewing her works - I can see the points you were emphasizing from the lecture.

    1. She is so talented! It would be wonderful to learn from her someday.

  2. Jeanne, I agree that Patty's lecture was exciting and inspirational. Her Red Tori Gates has been one of my favorite quilts ever since I saw it on the cover of a SAQA journal. Yes, wouldn't it be neat to sit at her feet for a few days??!!

  3. Yes! Maybe we could do that sometime in the future!