March 8, 2017

We couldn’t be more excited to be hosting another workshop with contemporary quilt artist, fabric designer, author, and teacher Jane Sassaman. Her April 30-May 6 workshop is entitled “Abstracting from Nature” and will focus on abstraction of flora and fauna and translating those ideas into fabric.

With her workshop coming up at the tail end of next month (and yes, we still have spots available!), we asked Jane five questions about her approach to art.

Q: What do you want your work to do?
JS: Most of my quilts are symbolic statements about the cycles and spiritual forces of life. By using colorful fabrics cut into dramatic shapes, I try to express the energy and mystery of our amazing universe – from the miraculous beauty of a single blossom to the complicated powers of the soul. I want to snap us out of our mundane routine and remind us that we are part of the bigger “cosmic” picture.

Q: How has your style changed over the years?
JS: Appliquéd collage has continued to be my method of composition. I love to play with shapes and let them react to one another. I am always looking for shapes that “speak” my language. Once I find a good shape it is always available, it becomes part of my dictionary of design. At this point, I have a nice collection of motifs that rotate through my work. The motifs are personally symbolic. A spiral, for example, is the shape of growth and movement, it is self- perpetuating. A dandelion is naive, innocently tenacious, a powerful life force. 
And fine craftsmanship continues to be very important to me. Good craftsmanship adds credibility and enhances the makers intent.

Q: How do you come up with a profitable pricing structure for your pieces?
JS: I have a price per square inch and then I add an emotional value. I’m not sure it’s really profitable (even after all these years) considering how energy intensive they are. But we have to give every piece complete consideration, no matter the time involved. It is amazing that the love and attention invested in a quilt is recognized by the viewer, often subconsciously.

Q: Do you have a motto?
JS: This will sound corny, but I did a cross-stitch in 4th grade that said “Seems the harder I work, the luckier I get”. How’s that for a Midwestern work ethic? But it seems to be true for me. Good thing I LOVE to work… quilting and designing.

Q: Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?
JS: I am having a retrospective of my FreeSpirit fabric quilts at the AQS Shows in Lancaster, PA and Grand Rapids, MI this year. I have been designing Fabric for FreeSpirit for 16 years and it will be fun to share so many of the FreeSpirit quilts I’ve designer over the years. I am also having a show with the fabulous Betty Busby at the Visions Art Museum in January of 2018! Such an honor!

You can find more details about Jane’s work on her website and also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.