Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rose Hughes, Quilt & Fiber Artist, Tells Her Story

It was a warm day in August 1990 when the darkroom came down in my Long Beach, California apartment. The family knew that this ‘quilt thing’ had taken hold, for a sewing machine had entered our home. Little did any of us know just how life changing this would become.

I had stumbled quite innocently into quilting that summer – seeing quilts in different places where before I had seen none. The invasion took hold in bits and pieces; literally pieces of fabric came into the house in one state and were transformed by needle and thread.

Years one and two were spent learning the basics – taking projects on the road to be stitched at hotels around the country while I traveled for work. Then there was time spent just breaking enough rules set in place by my traditional guides to have them take long second glances at the quilts I shared. By 1994 I was in search of a way to add curves to my quilts, for I loved the curves found all around me in nature and traditional square construction methods no longer worked to express what I wanted.

By studying with some amazing teachers I soon was taking a little bit from here and a little bit from there to pull together a construction method that did not require the time (and ok, the discipline) of traditional applique in order to express the curves of the world around me.

Then, once I began dyeing, painting, printing, beading, embroidery and playing with other non-traditional quilting elements I soon left the quilt police behind without worry. My quilt art finally took on my voice – I could use fabric to tell the story of what it felt like to stand in a field of poppies, leave the beaten path to confront a Suaraguo cactus while it bloomed, or stand at the entrance to the chapel in Yosemite – under the weathered rock of Half Dome, ready to marry my sweetheart.

Art has always played a role in my life, but it took thread, needle and fabric to transform me into a working artist. Since 2003, I have travelled and taught my methods, I’ve written 4 books, magazine articles, appeared on television and newspapers; making a living, thanks to those simple tools; and the ideas keep pouring in – so I am forever grateful for those long ago quilters that left bits and pieces of themselves for me to find on those hot summer days. 

In 2012 my husband retired and we left our California life behind and headed to Paducah, Kentucky. This small town is known amongst stitchers as Quilt City USA. This move allowed us to be closer to my sweetie’s family while living alongside some amazing artists. There is always something happening here! Quilt Week 2015 just ended, and a long week of exhibits, demos, book signings has also ended. But, the new friends I’ve made this week and time spent with some old quilt artist friends will be remembered for a long, long time.

Currently, my latest book (#4) hit the streets this past January. My book titles include:

Fast Piece Applique, 2015
Design, Create, Quilt, 2012
Exploring Embellishments, 2010
Dream Landscape, 2008

My website provides information about me, my work and my offerings.

I teach on-line workshops throughout the year on Academy of Quilting. My favorite – Shaping-Up with Fast-Piece Applique is scheduled to start on May 1
, 2015.

To keep up with me, and have some fun along the way you may want to check out my Blog, Like my Facebook page and you can click here to get my monthly Newsletter.

If you happen to be in western Kentucky, Rose is part of the current exhibit Two Voices at Jefferson Street Studio  - Paducah, Kentucky, through May 1, 2015.

This is Week 16 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Rose’s story today!