Kathy McNeil is an award-winning quilt artist. Her recent awards are the Directors choice, Viewers choice, 1st place in Naturescapes, 2nd place people at Road 2 California, the Largest international show on West Coast. She also won 2nd place in Innovative Art Quilt American Quilters Society Phoenix. Every time I showed our coming attractions show to last year’s classes, people would exclaim their astonishment that Kathy’s work was done in fabric and not paint because the images were so painterly.
We are very excited to finally meet Kathy and see her incredible work in person when she is teaches a 5-day workshop with us this April. There are still some spots available in this class!
Every creative act begins as a connection between the artist and their world. Exploration of that moment of inspiration fuels the process of telling a story and making art. Results are never predictable, as the discovery is different each time. A mastery of techniques and design will be noted and appreciated by others, but will the magic that inspired the artist, reach out and touch someone else? When it does…. something big is shared. – Kathy McNeil
These are Kathy’s responses to our interview questions.
How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?
After entering quilt competitions for 5 years and being featured in several magazines, guilds started contacting me about speaking to their groups. It is an incredible honor to be invited to share my work, my passion and my dreams with others who love fabric as much as I do. I have been teaching for 10 years. I was a critical care nurse for 35 years. I have to say that becoming a teacher and a public speaker was a big learning curve. Always driven to give my patients the best possible outcome, now I feel the same about my students.
What is your favorite part about teaching?
Being part of a community that is fueled by creativity, that respects each others personal journey. It’s wonderful to share everything I have learned over the last 17 years and watch someone takes bits and pieces of that and be off with his or her own ideas and interpretations.
What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?
Firstly we all have to set aside dedicated time for our art. Both for our own physical and mental health. Secondly to always challenge yourself to learn new techniques, approaches and styles of doing things. That is how we all get better. Thirdly my workshops are full of synergy. Myself and each student contributing and sharing with each other. Helping students find their own artistic voice is important to me.
What are you currently working on in your own art?
I am taking my own advice about embracing a challenge. My current project is making a Modern quilt. I teach a lot of design workshops and I judge national and international quilt shows. I need to discover more about this trend, to simplify design elements down to the basics of line, color/value and shapes. Right now I am so far out of my box that I feel like I am standing naked on Mars, (artistically). My usual quilts take between 400 and 800 hours of work with incredible detail. This is going very quickly and that is exciting.
Where is your art currently being exhibited?
My quilts are constantly traveling to all the major quilt shows in the country and aboard. Three were just accepted into the AQS Paducah show. My quilt “Jingle bells” won Directors Choice and Viewers Choice at Road to California among 30,000 visitors this January.” More than a Memory’ won Best of show at the LaConner textile Museum last year.
Do you sell your work in any online gallery?
My own web site has an on line gallery with the quilts I currently have for sale. I sell about 75% of my quilts to clients who see them at shows. Fine Art American is also a good resource but I have only sold prints of my work thru them. Selling my own quilts has saved me the normal 40% cut that most galleries take. I also have a tile company, Flekman Art Company, in New York who uses my images to make murals for peoples houses. Check Kathy’s website on the art quilts for sale page.
What is your favorite art quote?
I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.
– Albert Einstein
Describe your studio
Watch the free You Tube video on Kathy’s web site for tour of her studio.
Name five of your “can’t” do without tools/products.
- #10 English style hand applique needles
- 1/2 inch Sequin pins
- Kindergarten white glue stick
- Sizing spray
- Pap smear sticks (Got you on that one didn’t I? Don’t worry I will bring one for you too when you take a class with me!)
More Recent Instructor Interviews:
- Joe Weatherly – Animal Drawing and Oil Painting
- Kathyanne White – Digital Printing on Alternative Surfaces
- Paula Nadelstern – Kaleidoscope Quilts
- Laura Wasilowski – Fabric Collage with Stitched Embellishment
- Elizabeth St Hilaire Nelson – Paper Paintings
- Katie Pasquini Masopust – Painter and Art Quilter