Interview with Hilde Morin, Fiber Artist: Drama, Dimension and Improvisation

Hilde Morin, a fiber artist, looks for drama in the creation of her art quilts. Drama in the form of color, texture and pattern. 

Hilde finds inspiration in both natural and in architectural scenes, having a particular interest in cities, towns, buildings and weathered structures. In natural scenes, she represents reality by simplifying or suggesting it through either abstract or primitive designs. Her technique includes the creation of a first layer of improvised pieced fabric with the addition of a second layer of texture through extensive thread work and surface design. 


Hilde’s creations are influenced by her multi-cultural background and travels.


We are pleased to welcome Hilde to the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops this year. She will teach a five-day Fiber Arts class, In and Around Town, October 9 to 15, 2016.

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How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?

I have been teaching for 15 years.  After quitting my corporate job to be more involved with my kids, I joined an open-sew group at a local quilt shop.  We shared projects, discussed works in progress and gave each other ideas and advice.  After a few months I was asked by the storeowner to teach a workshop.  I have enjoyed teaching since then!

What is your favorite part about teaching?

Guide each of my students in translating their ideas into a design that is pleasing to them and also doable.  Demonstrate sewing tips and techniques to use during the construction process.

Challenge my students to do more than what they think they can do. 

What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?

You will work in a very freeing environment where my guidance, tips and techniques will help you produce work that has your marks and is unique.

I will gently challenge you to do things outside of your comfort zone.

Every piece has its own design and construction challenges.  Sharing how to resolve these in a class setting is very valuable for everyone and we all learn.

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What are you currently working on in your own art?

I am waiting for inspiration to quilt El Vecindario (The neighborhood) which I just finished piecing.  In the meantime I started working on a new piece inspired by a market with food carts in Portland, OR.  So far I have chosen the colors and made a few lines on my design wall.

Where is your art currently being exhibited?

Two pieces (Where To Stay/Where To Go) are currently being shown at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, OR as part of a group exhibit “A Sense of Place: The Allison Inn.”  My latest piece, Between Light and Shadow just came back from a 2-month long exhibit at the Visions Art Museum in San Diego, CA.

Is your work represented in galleries, and if so, what hints would you give to artists looking for gallery representation?

My work has been represented in two galleries, Maria Elena Kravetz Gallery in Argentina, and Studio 503 in Hood River, Oregon.  In my opinion, showing professionalism is the most important requirement when dealing with a gallery.  Professionalism in every step: communication, portfolio presentation, work quality, pricing scheme.  Also, making yourself available and having current work to show are very important.

Do you sell your work in any online gallery? 

Not really, but I have sold much work through my website.

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What is your favorite art quote?

I am not sure I have a favorite art quote but instead I will tell you what my favorite principle is: Start by doing small things right.

Describe your studio.

After “surfing” spare rooms and guest rooms for 10 years, I now have a beautiful dedicated studio…my favorite part of the house!  It is divided in two sections, my sewing studio and my teaching studio.  My sewing studio is where everything happens and it is usually quite busy.  My teaching studio is where I teach groups of 6 people and where I keep a gallery of quilts on display for inspiration.  Of course, I spread out through both sections when I don’t have classes scheduled!

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Name five of your “can’t do without” tools/products.

I am a minimalist and can work with very little.  Other than sewing machine, fabric and thread, these are musts: 

A design wall

A good lamp


A camera 

My computer

Hand-Applique with Sandra Leichner

Oregon appliqué artist, Sandra Leichner, returned to us again this year to teach her 3-day hand-applique workshop. Her demos were full of hints and tips to make each person successful and having fun! IMG 1712 These are some close-ups of some of the magnificent works that Sandra brought with her. Such amazing detail! IMG 1711
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IMG 1713 Some example projects that the students had to choose from for the process of learning the specific techniques that Sandra uses. IMG 1714
IMG 1715 We also had a winner of our Early Bird Drawing in Sandra’s workshop. We had a drawing every year from the pool of students who sign up for a workshop before our workshop season begins. There are 3 possible prizes and Katherine Stevenson won 3rd prize for the year. For the fiber art workshops, the 3rd prize is a $100 gift certificate to Hudson River Valley Art Workshops. The gift certificate can be used to put towards another workshop or for shopping in our supply shop, or it can even be using the buy chocolate from our organic chocolates shop, Life By Chocolate! Such a deal. IMG 1717 Sandra also bought along a good selection of her kits for other appliqué projects for further practice before venturing forth with your own designs. IMG 1720 Outside the studio the Spring flowers are finally starting to put in a show. This tulip is obviously an overachiever! IMG 1721 The next fiber art workshops coming up in our 2016 schedule are with Susan Brubaker Knapp, Rayna Gillman, and Esterita Austin.

An Interview with Rayna Gillman: Mixed Media / Fiber Artist, Author, and Teacher

Rayna Gillman is an internationally known artist and teacher whose work has appeared in galleries and museums across the US. She works spontaneously in mixed media, often using collage and printmaking techniques to add texture to her work.


Rayna brings her intuitive sense of color and design into her work and her classes, infusing her students with a sense of play and encouraging them to use the words “what if?” as they experiment in their own work. She was nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award in 2010 by Professional Quilter Magazine.


Rayna returns to the Hudson River Valley Fiber Arts Workshops to teach the creatively liberating Free-form Design Spa Workshop, August 21 to 27, 2016.


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How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?

I’ve been teaching for 15 years.  I started teaching after I appeared on Alex Anderson’s Simply Quilts program. After the program ran, I got tons of emails asking “do you teach what you do?”  So, I put together some classes and asked my local quilt shop if I could do a beta test for Jump Starting the Art Quilt.  There was a waiting list, so I taught it twice — and the rest is history. I’ve been fortunate to have taught in Canada, the U.K., in South Africa, and coming up – in Switzerland. This past summer I taught in Alaska, invited by a student from my 2013 class here. How lucky I am!

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What is your favorite part about teaching?

Seeing people’s eyes light up when they realize they have created original work and had fun doing it. I also love the energy in a classroom that you can’t get when you work alone.

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My best reward is when students send me photos of quilts they have started in class and I can see the results of what they learned. What a joy! I just received an email from a student who entered a quilt she made after she took my class. It won a ribbon in the art quilt category.  She was thrilled and so was I. Here are a couple of student pieces in-process from my last Hudson River Valley class.

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What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?

They give me me their own reasons because the first thing I ask them is why they are here and what they’d like to walk away with.  In no particular order, the most frequent answers are:

   1) I want to be freed up and learn to relax and have fun while I’m working. 

   2) I want to make my own work, not something based on a pattern.

   3) I love your work and just wanted to take a class with you.


I can’t speak for why anyone wants to take a workshop in general because every teacher is different.  But I could add to the reasons above…

   4) To experiment and learn something new you can take home and apply to your own work.

   5) To absorb the energy of working with other people, to share ideas, and to learn from seeing what others are doing.

   6) To have fun, because if you can’t have fun while you’re working, what’s the point?


What are you currently working on in your own art?

Asking myself “what if?” and playing around with some new ideas.  Right now, too many ideas and not enough time!


Where is your art currently being exhibited?

It just came down from a three-person exhibit in NJ and prior to that, a solo exhibit at Brassworks Gallery, also in NJ.  At the moment, I am in Florida and my work is still in New Jersey.


Is your work represented in galleries, and if so, what hints would you give to artists looking for gallery representation?

I don’t have gallery representation. The NY metro area is not hospitable to art quilts; they still don’t take us seriously as artists.  There was a dedicated Art Quilt Gallery in Manhattan but unfortunately, it is now closed.


Do you sell your work in any online gallery?

Yes, I sell work from my website.


What is your favorite art quote?

Ask yourself “what if?” and then try it. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t — but you will always learn from it. (I’m quoting myself – LOL).

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Describe your studio.

Hahahahahaha.  I have two studios – my wet studio away from the house and my sewing room at home in New Jersey. They are both a mess. In Florida, my studio is my dining room table. Here it is, as we speak.

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Name five of your “can’t do without” tools/products.

My reading glasses.

My rotary cutter.

My iPad/ iPhone/digital camera (this counts as one)

My sewing machine, naturally.

My instincts.

** (notice that “ruler” is not on the list)

Kaleidoscopes with Paula Nadelstern

Paula Nadelstern just finished teaching her workshop on recreating the intricate wonder of kaleidoscopes with fabric. Paula brought the manuscript from her latest book, due out any day now, and she read a few excerpts from it and allowed the students to look over the wonderful photographs included in the book, including photos of quilts made by some of the students in this workshop. IMG 1649 This is one of Paula’s quilts that has so far not been published in any book. Mark and I saw Paula at the Houston International Quilt Festival a couple years ago when she was quilting this quilt in the APQS booth using one of their longarm machines. IMG 1651 This workshop had a nice mix of repeat students (some have come to everyone of the workshops that Paula has taught with us since 2006), repeat for our workshops students, but new to Paula, and just totally new to Paula and us. Their was great camaraderie among the whole group. IMG 1642
IMG 1647 As usual, Paula brought along a large selection of her latest fabric designs produced by Benartex. By the end of the workshop most of this was snapped up by the students. IMG 1648 Because Paula is within driving distance of us, she was able to bring lots of her amazing work to show to the class and inspire them. IMG 1655
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IMG 1676 These are some of the fantastic snowflake pieces made by Kaisa Mackie. IMG 1682 The workshop week started out with a bit of snow, but by the end of the week the snow had all melted away and Spring was back on the horizon. IMG 1673 Our next fiber art workshops coming up are with Sandra Leichner, Susan Brubaker Knapp, and Esterita Austin.

Interview with Susan Brubaker Knapp: fiber artist, designer, author, and teacher

Susan Brubaker Knapp started quilting as a hobby which turned into a passion and a business. Susan teaches nationally and internationally, hosts “Quilting Arts TV,” and has produced numerous patterns, two books, and five video workshops.


Susan began with traditional hand quilting and needle turn appliqué, but embraced innovative machine techniques and started making art quilts in 2005. Her quilts have won national as well as local awards, and have been exhibited at national and international venues. Susan has won seven Best of Show awards at three different quilting guilds, with six different quilts.


Her work has been featured in several national magazines, and in the 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 Quilting Arts Calendars and the 2012 Quilt Art Engagement Calendar. It has graced the covers of four issues of Quilting Arts magazine.


Susan returns to the Hudson River Valley Fiber Arts Workshops to teach an exciting five day Workshop, Paint, Fuse, Stitch!, August 14 to 20, 2016.




How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?

I started teaching about 2005, at a local quilt shop. At the time, I was making mostly traditional quilts, both pieced and needle turn appliquéd. I had left my full time job as a page designer at The Charlotte Observer in 1999 to be at home with my first child, and was working as a freelance graphic designer. I was also designing quilts, and people started asking me to share the patterns. I have experience as a writer, editor, and graphic designer, so I thought, “Why not?” Then shops and guilds started asking me to teach from my patterns. I found that I loved teaching, and before long I was teaching nationally and internationally.


What is your favorite part about teaching? 

It’s a thrill when I can help students find a new technique or skill that they love, and that they can adapt to use in their own work. I have come to realize that a large part of teaching, or of being a good teacher, is helping students get over their artistic or psychological “hangups.”


Many people have little demons in their heads (often echoes of old home economic teachers, art teachers, mothers or grandmothers) telling them that they aren’t doing it right. When they stop listening to those demons and start listening to their own instincts, desires and ideas, they can tap into their innate creativity and make art that comes from the heart.


Learning the skills and techniques is actually a pretty small part of making art. Learning how to tap into your creativity – and facing your fears about doing that – is the most important part. 




What would you tell your prospective students are the best reasons for taking a workshop?

It might change your life in a big way. In 2006, I took a class with Bonnie McCaffery. To be honest, I took the class primarily as a 6-hour break from my young children! Going in, I had no interest in the subject or technique, but ended up loving the class, and it led to my first major art quilt, which was accepted into a exhibition shown at International Quilt Festival. The last art classes I took were in high school; I have an English undergraduate degree and a journalism masters degree. If you take a workshop with your mind open to the possibilities, you will always learn something, and you will grow artistically. And you never know just where it will take you! 


I take classes whenever I can. I think it is really healthy for your brain to try new things, step out of your comfort zone, and challenge yourself. 




What are you currently working on in your own art?

For the past three years, I’ve been working (off and on, between other pieces) on a large piece (it will probably be 80-90” square) that features all sorts of fish. It is called “We All Swim Together,” and is a wholecloth painted piece, and I think I have about 20 realistic fish painted on it so far. It documents mostly endangered fish species – those that are overfished, or at risk due to climate change or pollution. I have at least six other art quilts in progress and at least that many more in my head. My major techniques right now are wholecloth painting, fusible applique, and thread sketching. I’m also doing a lot of sketching, water color painting, and photography. Photos are the basis of nearly all of my work. 




Where is your art currently being exhibited?  I have work coming back from the “Insects to Elephants” exhibition at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts. And I’ll have two pieces going out to the exhibition “The Art of Native Plants” at The Blowing Rock (NC) Art & History Museum this spring.


What is your favorite art quote?

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” – Francis Bacon

The art I create is my way of celebrating and documenting the deep mysteries of the world that are to be experienced only by close inspection of the miraculous details of nature.




Describe your studio. 

My studio is a 14×14 foot guest room in my 100-year-old home. It houses all my fabric and supplies, plus all my teaching supplies. I’ve outgrown it, and I would love to have a larger studio where I could do messier stuff, and store all my supplies. But it is a dedicated space, and I’m really grateful for that.






Name some of your “can’t do without” tools/products.

My Bernina sewing machines

Aurifil 50-weight cotton thread

ProChemical & Dyes transparent acrylic textile paints

Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 (for fusible appliqué).

My website:

Amazing Quilts with Grace Errea

The 2016 workshop season has been begun! We started last week getting the last things squared away and set up for the workshop. The art supply shop was stocked and organized. IMG 1601 Log Cabin Fabrics brought over a tempting array of fabric and notions. IMG 1602
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IMG 1604 Baked a new supply of pumpkin parsley dog biscuits for when we get canine guests. IMG 1592 Then Grace Errea’s class checked in on Wednesday to begin their 4 night / 3 day class retreat!

Everything was wonderful. I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was my first visit. Grace was an excellent instructor. I was able to finish my project, too!” – Joan s.

This is Grace’s latest book. IMG 1612 Everyone eagerly got right to work. Grace provided plenty of demonstrations on her “heat-set” appliqué technique. IMG 1606
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IMG 1616 Outside the studio we had beautiful Spring weather. IMG 1618 Inside we had frogs! These are some of Grace’s pieces that she brought to show to the class. IMG 1622
More of Grace’s. IMG 1625 The cat is taking shape. The clear plastic overlay is used to aid in positioning the pieces. IMG 1626 An orchid coming together. IMG 1627 Hibiscus, too. IMG 1628
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The orchid is finished, ready for placing on a background and stitching. IMG 1632 Class mascot, fast asleep. IMG 1634 Then on the last day, this happened! Winter seemed to finally arrive. It only looked this way first thing in the morning. A couple hours later it was completely gone. But we enjoyed the beautiful serenity of the snow-covered landscape while it was there. IMG 3789
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