The Source for Contemporary Art Quilts, Exhibitions & Appraisals

Marilyn is a lifelong New Yorker who lives and works in Greenwich Village, not far from Washington Square Park. She has been active in the New York art scene since the early 195os and interacted with such art world luminaries as Joseph Cornell, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselman, the Abstract Expressionists, and the Beat Poets.
Her wide ranging fiber art, which includes pieced quilts, is represented in the collections of the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz, Poland, the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Museum of Arts & Design in New York, the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, the Newark Museum, and the Racine Art Museum as well as in numerous corporate and private collections. Click on any of the quilts below to see more of her work.

Disturbances 6 by Marilyn Henrion
Disturbances 6
Night Thoughts 3 by Marilyn Henrion
Night Thoughts 3
Innerspaces 9 by Marilyn Henrion
Innerspaces 9
Tee Time by Marilyn Henrion
Tee Time


On view through April 10, 2016 at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, United Kingdom

An exhibition of stunning new work, some of which I am offering for sale.

Click here to read an article about the exhibition on the Wall Street International web site.

Pauline Burbidge Quiltscpaes & Quiltline exhibition at the Bowes Museum

Exhibition photo by Jason Hynes, The Bowes Museum.

I am pleased to offer SOUND AND FURY, a rare and unusual 1996 wool quilt by Michael James.

The work, which measures 55 x 84 inches (h x w) is made almost entirely of wool, which makes it quite rare in Michael James's oeuvre. In an email to me, Michael explained that "one of those interior yellow forms MAY be cotton, just can’t recall. But I can confirm for sure that the turquoise and the mud colors are wool. It is related to another quilt [YELLOW BRICK ROAD] that's now in the International Quilt Study Center Museum, which is gold and black. It is machine pieced and machine embroidered. All those gold 'sticks' are separately machine embroidered (zigzagged) and so that constitutes the 'quilting.' I was thinking a lot about Amish quilts at the time, hence the use of wool gabardine."

As pointed out in the book Michael James: Art and Inspiration, SOUND AND FURY "has many of the hallmarks of a landscape painting—in this case suggested by the raised horizon line where the orange patches interact.The olive and blue forms suggest a foreground receding to background."

Sound and Fury by Michael James

NEW ARRIVALS: ART QUILTS is now on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art

This special exhibition includes three quilts obtained from or with the help of The Art of the Quilt.

#76 by Pamela Studstill

Pamela Studstill
Metamorphosis by Michael James
Michael James

Marsh Island by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade

Marsh Island
Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade

SAQA articles

Four articles I wrote about art quilts for the SAQA Journal are now available together in pdf form. Click here to read them.

Jane Cochran, Jude Larzelere and Joe Cunnningham in Finland

Three artists represented by The Art of the Quilt—Jane Burch Cochran,Judith Larzelere, and Joe Cunningham—were invited to participate in an exhibition in Finland, and traveled there for the opening on June 5.

The exhibition, whichwas titled "Quilt Visions: American Modern Quilt Art" and includes work by only eight artists, were on display at the Oulu Museum of Art through August 30, 2015. The Museum says this was "the most comprehensive exhibition focusing on quilt art in Northern Europe to date." Congrats to all three artists!

Joe Cunningham
Joe Cunningham with his quilt Luke Haynes in His American Context.
2012, cotton, batting, bias tape, 6.2 x 6.2 ft.; Photo: Mark Tuschman for American Craft.

Here are two wonderful and timely new quilts by Katherine Knauer.

Security by Katherine Knauer
What's In Your Go-Bag? by Katherine Knauer
What's In Your Go-Bag?

The only truly comprehensive book on American quilts and quiltmaking.
384 pages, more than 350 stunning photographs of quilts from 1780 to 2017.

 American Quilts: The Democratic Art by Robert Shaw

"An enduring work."
—Bernard L. Herman, George B. Tindall Professor of American Studies, University of North Carolina, CHOICE, May 2010.

"Surely the most important quilt book ever."
—Laura Fisher, author of Quilts of Illusion and Home Sweet Home: The House in American Folk Art

"So outstanding that words practically fail me."
—Mary Leman Austin, former Executive Editor, Quilter's Newsletter

"The story of American quiltmaking is eloquently told here."
—Library Journal

"Everyone interested in quilts should have this."
—Joe Cunningham

Ros Cross is an English-born artist who moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, where she encountered American quilts for the first time. Her work with quilts was a journey of discovery and exploration into unknown territory, testing the formal and conceptual boundaries of quiltmaking practice, with almost no reference to the conventional forms, methods, and history of the traditional American quilt movement. It was almost as if she was looking to connect the worlds of contemporary art practice to the the more traditional world of quilts, with results that in hindsight can be seen to be not only a successful and innovative merging of these hitherto different worlds, but that also point to the beginning of what has come to be known as the Art Quilt movement.

Although Cross only worked in the medium for a few years and has made no quilts since 1976, the significance of the works made during this brief period attest to the perspicacity and innovation of her approach, and her work holds a significant and influential position in the early history of the Art Quilt movement.

Ice Cream Sandwich by Ros Cross
Ice Cream Sandwich Quilt

Peeling Quilt

Broken Quilt
Broken Quilt
Pancakes, Butter & Syrup Quilt with Bacon Rug
Pancakes, Butter & Syrup Quilt
with Bacon Rug

Cottons Quilt
Flags Quilt
Yellow Piping
Yellow Piping Quilt

Joe Cunningham featured in Craft in America episode on PBS

Craft in America


INDUSTRY - Handmade in the Creative Economy

INDUSTRY features Gee's Bend quilters Lucy Mingo & Mary Ann Pettway, quilter Joe Cunningham, boat builder Graham McKay & Lowell's Boat Shop, and others.

Watch it here.

Extraordinary New Quilts by Susan Shie and Robin Schwalb

Mandela by Susan Shie
Mandela: 3 of Paring Knives in the Kitchen Tarot

Susan Shie

La Leona of Girona by Susan Shie
La Leone of Girona

Susan Shie

SPQR by Robin Schwalb

Robin Schwalb

Detail of Foxglove by Velda Newman
Detail of Foxglove

I am thrilled to welcome Velda Newman to The Art of the Quilt!

Velda is rightfully renowned for her vastly oversized, painterly, close-up images of flowers, fruit, birds, butterflies, fish, and sea shells. Several of her quilts are more than 10 feet wide, and one of her most recent quilts, Zinnia, tops 17.5 feet! Velda explains that: "Many classic works of art depict nature on a scale smaller than real life. A landscape places you in a relatively distant position, and even a still life may portray the subject at less than its actual size. I do just the opposite: I take life and amplify it.”

Click here to see Velda's available quilts.

Velda Newman
American White Pelcans by Velda NewmanAmerican White Pelicans SOLD Zinnia by Velda Newman
Bass: In Your Dreams by Velda NewmanBass: In Your Dreams

I am delighted to welcome John Lefelhocz, Joy Saville, and Robin Schwalb to The Art of the Quilt.

The Awesome Face Painting of North Coast Mona by John Lefelhocz
John Lefelhocz is a conceptual artist whose constructions challenge traditional notions of what materials a quilt can be made from and what it can mean.
Halfway Brook, Morining by Joy Saville
Joy Saville
is a renowned colorist who creates uniquely constructed, impressionistic pieced quilts.
Your Name Here by Robin Schwalb
Robin Schwalb
explores the rich variety of the written word in her graphically compelling quilts and fabric collages.

Please visit each artist's home page and explore the rich bodies of work we are now offering.

Pushing Buttons, book by Jane Burch Cochran

Jane Burch Cochran has just published a wonderful little book on her quilts, which is appropriately titled Pushing Buttons. You can read about it and flip thru the entire book here. Please also be sure to visit Jane's artist's page for more info and photos of currently available quilts.

Pushing Buttons inside spread

Pause by Nancy Erickson
Pause, Nancy Erickson

I am delighted to be able to offer a number of recent quilts by Nancy Erickson, all of which depict wild animals and comment on their relationships with us humans. All of Nancy's recent "quilteds," as she calls them, are free-form wholecloth works which take the shapes of the animals, humans, and objects she portrays.Many of them, including Pause, shown at left, are made up of two or more pieces, and one of them has eight separate pieces. Visit Nancy's artist's page for more info and photos.

Premonition by Nancy Erickson

Leaving the Northern Light Behind by nancy Erickson
Leaving the Northern Lights Behind

Serendipity by Radka DonnellSerendipity
Radka Donnell
Private collection

I am deeply saddened to share the news that the pioneering quiltmaker Radka Donnell died peacefully on February 13 in Zurich, Switzerland, where she had lived for many years. She was 84. Radka was one of the most extraordinary people it has been my privilege to know, and I have been honored to represent her work to the public.

Radka, who started making quilts in 1965, was a trail blazer whose work and example influenced and encouraged many of today's leading quilt artists. Her quilts were utterly distinctive

Michael James, a longtime friend who greatly admired her work, wrote: "Radka Donnell's quilts break many of the rules that have governed how quilts were designed and made for much of the last two hundred years and longer. They pay little heed to grids or to symmetry. Their colors are riotously and impulsively juxtaposed. They eschew fine stitching in favor of the functional and the no-nonsense. They avoid the familiar small-scale, genteel prints normally associated with quilts in favor of large-scale, graphically assertive patterns. The bold surfaces of these fabrics compete with and against one another, in frenetic dances of exaggerated visual energy.”

To learn more about Radka Donnell and her quilts, click here.

Radka Donnell with her husband Dolf Voght
Radka Donnell with her husband, the
architectural historian Dolf Vogt, in 2003.
(Photo courtesy Michael James)

Peace at Last by Radka Donnell
Peace at Last from The Paradise Dozen
Radka Donnell
Private collection

SAQA Journel

The Winter 2013 SAQA Journal includes a cover story on Jane Burch Cochran. The cover quilt is Jane's Legacy, a portrait of her beloved dog Junior, who served as the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, where Jane and her husband Randy live, from 1995 until his death in 2008.

The article, which was based on interviews with Jane, offers many insights into her work and methods. She explains that she doesn't usually draw her ideas, "in part because texture is so much a part of my work. [Instead,] I start pinning pieces to [my design] board and look for strong images that can be focal points.” She also reveals that she does not always have an exact narrative in mind as she works on a piece. “The viewer puts the story together. I don’t start out thinking it’s the story of my life, but quilts are so personal and I use things from my life. When I finish apiece and look at it, sometimes I realize it’s a self-portrait.”

Jane trained as a painter and still works on lightweight artist canvas, which she prepares with gesso. She says she likes the canvas because it is "forgiving," it hangs well, and it can hold the many objects she adheres with paint.She also explains that she works "mostly with commercial fabrics and many different kinds of fibers.“I’ve never liked the texture of all flat cotton. One of my favorite stashes came from a friend of my mother-in-law. She altered fur coat sand gave me sample books of silks used for linings. I don’t have much of that left— just some scraps and slivers —but I use them when I can because I like their texture.”

The Winter 2013 SAQA Journal is currently available only to Studio Art Quilt Associates members but will probably be available as a free downloadable sample after the Spring issue is published.

Pauline Burbidge catalog

I now have copies of Pauline Burbidge's new catalog, Pauline Burbidge: Works Between 1975 & 2012. Designed to accompany her recent PB Retrospective exhibition in the UK, the 42-page booklet charts the stages of Pauline's artistic development over her 36-year career. The main essay was written by Dr. Sue Marks, with prologues by Dr. Jennifer Harris and yours truly (aka Robert Shaw). It is beautifully designed and lavishly illustrated in color throughout. A copy can be yours for $21.50 postpaid.

If you would like to order a copy, please contact me.

Pauline Burbidge

The January 2 edition of the Wall Street Journal includes a short article about art quilt collector Jack Walsh and Jack's Falling Water, a quilt he commissioned Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade to make for him. Be sure to look at the slide show, which offers pix of some of Jack's other treasures.

Jack Walsh with Jack's Falling Water by Fraas and SladeJack Walsh with Jack's Falling Water by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade
(Photo by Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal)

Jack's Falling Water by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade

I am delighted to welcome Jane Burch Cochran to The Art of the Quilt.

Jane Burch Cochran, who has been making quilts the mid 1980s, is a master of collage and embellishment whose work is represented in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery, the University of Kentucky Art Museum, the Kentucky History Center, and the National Quilt Museum as well as in numerous corporate and private collections. I am pleased to be offering a wide rang of her work, including a recent series of small abstract face quilts, two of which she is seen with below.

Jane Burch Cochran with two of her recent Face quilts

New! Quiltscapes by Pauline Burbidge: Inspired by Lindisfarne, England, and Puglia, Italy

English master Pauline Burbidge has created four major new studio quilts in the past three years, three of which The Art of the Quilt is now honored to offer for sale. All three will be included in Pauline's upcoming retrospective exhibition,"PB RETRO: Interpretations in Cloth." The exhibition will open at the Festival of Quilts in Manchester, England , from August 16–19, and travel to the Quilt Museum in York, England, where it will be on view from September 7–December 1, 2012.

The poet Alice Mitchell gave Pauline the name for her new series, which she calls "Quiltscapes": in Mitchell's words, "landscape sewn." Two of the new quilts were inspired by the tide-washed causeway that connects the island of Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, to the Northumberland coast in northeastern England, while another evokes Pauline's recent trips to Puglia, an unspoiled rural region on the heel of southern Italy's boot.

Lindisfarne Revisted by Pauline BurbidgeLindisfarne Revisited SOLD

Causeway III by Pauline BurbidgeCauseway III Horizons of Puglia by Pauline Burbidge
Horizons of Puglia

I am delighted to welcome Ludmila Uspenskaya to The Art of the Quilt.

Ludmila Uspenskaya a is a remarkable Russian-born textile artist who has been making distinctive quilts since the early 1990s. She did not encounter Western quilts until just before moving to the US in 1994, and she has developed unique working methods to create her visually stunning abstract designs.

Click here or on her photo below to read more about Ludmila and see a selection of her work.

July by Ludmila Uspenskaya
Ludmila Uspenskaya
Ludmila Uspenskaya

I am delighted to offer METAMORPHOSIS, a large and powerful early work by Michael James, arguably the most important quilt artist at work today.

The diamond-shaped quilt measures more than 9 1/2 feet between its top to bottom tips and hangs on a specially designed A-shaped frame.METAMORPHOSIS by Micahel James
Michael James has long been recognized as one of the world's leading quiltmakers. Examples of his work are included in numerous private and corporate collections
as well the collections of the Newark Museum, the Museum of Arts & Design in New York, the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian Institution) in Washington, D.C., the Mint Museum of Craft + Design in Charlotte, North Carolina, the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, and the
International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. Michael currently serves as Department Chair and Ardis James Professor of Textiles, Clothing
and Design in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska/Lincoln

METAMORPHOSIS, which Michael made in 1983, is 84 inches square and measures 115 inches between its top and bottom tips. It is mounted to hang diagonally on a
special A-shaped frame. The composition is a complex combination of curved and straight seams, all rendered with Michael's trademark precision and acute sense of color.

METAMORPHOSIS was originally commissioned for the headquarters of a major US corporation. After many years on exhibit, it was in need of some repair and has just been conserved by Michael's studio assistant, Leah Sorensen-Hayes, who worked under his close supervision. She repaired some tears and replaced some degraded fabric, in many cases using matching pieces of the original fabric that Michael still had in his studio stash. (Full documentation of the work done on the quilt is available.).The quilt is now effectively new and looks as fresh and crisp as it did when it first left Michael's studio nearly thirty years ago.

Michael' s early quilts are tightly held in public and private collections and very rarely come into the marketplace.This is a major early work by Michael and a truly rare opportunity for any serious collector of contemporary quilts.


I was saddened to learn that Ardis James died on July 7. No one has done more for quilts and quiltmakers than Ardis, who, with her husband Bob, collected more than a thousand antique and contemporary pieces and founded the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. The NY TImes printed a lovely obit, which tells her story far better han I can. She was a remarkable woman, and every quilt lover and maker owes her a debt of thanks for so generously sharing her passion.

Here's a link to a wonderful lecture about quilts and two-dimensional design by the painter and art professor David Hornung.

Every quiltmaker and person interested in how quilts work and why they matter should watch this. The images are small and pixilate a little when blown up, but they are clear enough to understand, and what Hornung has to say is fascinating. Hornung knows quilts inside out: he made a few wonderful quilts in the 1980s, one of which, "Orange Construction," is in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, NE, where he gave this lecture.

David Hornung is also the author of a terrific book on color, which I also recommend highly.

The Art of the Quilt is now offering an expanded range of special exhibitions of both historic and contemporary quilts.

Our offerings include several wonderful shows curated by Julie SIlber, the curator of the legendary Esprit Quilt Collection and one of the world's leading experts on Amish and other historic quilts.

Please download the pdf below for detailed information about the exhibitions and how to bring one of them to your museum or venue.

Quilt exhibitions

I am delighted to welcome Judith Larzelere to The Art of the Quilt.

Judith studied painting at Rutgers, where she earned her MFA, and has been making distinctive abstract quilts full time since 1978. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, and in the corporate collections of Bristol Myers/Squibb, SAS, the First National Bank of Boston, and the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia.

For the past fourteen months, Judith has been working on a series of quilts that rely on chance placement of colors. These powerful new quilts, three of which are pictured below, do not emphasize the form and structure of traditional design principles. Judith explains, "For the past thirty years, I have been using cloth and color more or less as an expressionist, concerning myself with movement, color interaction, and the creation of mood. I now feel the need to move into new territory beyond my own familiar strategies. My newest quilts are contain the barest minimum of traditional elements of an art piece so that I can focus exclusively on creating a vibrating color field. Colors with varying ability to advance off the picture plane are chosen in order to create spatiality without form, composition, or subject.”

Luminosity-Primary Colors
Luminosity in Primary Colors by Judith Larzelere ,2010

Judith Larzelere

Judith Larzelere

Photons, 2010

Luminosity with Purple and Green, 2011 SOLD

Contact Bob for more information or to purchase.

I am pleased to offer THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE QUILT/SCREEN , a unique and remarkable quilted art work by Justine Nauman-Greif.

The Domestic Violence Quilt

Justine made this complex, multi-layered work of sadness, awareness, and hope in 1995, while she was writing a college thesis on domestic violence and the quilt as
metaphor. A quilted fabric Mobius strip stands at the center of the quilt as a metaphor for the social “fabric” of domestic violence. Dancing women, representing those who have escaped the continuous cycle of violence, dance in the black and blue universe outside the strip. Eight neat appearing house facades touching the strip hide the violence that takes place inside them; their window are black and their doors are closed.. However, each of the houses opens on a velcro hinge to reveal words and pictorial scenarios taken from stories told by abused women whom Justine interviewed. These include: “I was stalked from town to town,” ”They just thought it was our business, and they didn't want to get involved,” “I got all packed to leave and I realized I had nowhere to go,” and “he kicked the bathroom door .. the mirror shards were everywhere... my hand was bleeding.” A statement by The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is also hidden within one of the houses. Three narrative interviews are printed on fabric windows on the back of the quilt, and ghostly images of women are quilted over the printing on the window panes, representing all that is left of their sense of themselves.

The Domestic Violence Quilt/Screen is pictured and discussed in my 1997 book The Art Quilt.

Domestic Violence Quilt back

Cottons, velcro, and fabric paint, mounted with glue on a folding wooden ladder frame with fabric hinges. Hand and machine appliqué, hand and machine quilted, some figures hand painted, computer printed text.

72 x 66 inches (H X W) Each of the three panels is 20 inches wide.


Contact Bob for more information or to purchase.

I am very sad to learn of the passing of Jean Ray Laury, who died on Wednesday March 2.

Jean was the godmother of modern quiltmaking, a quiet and modest force of incalculable strength and influence. She was a friend to everyone who met her, and she will be sorely missed by everyone she touched with her remarkable spirit, her art, and her example.

Jean Ray Laury

Toward Barred Island by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade (detail)

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Toward Barred Island by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade (detail)

Bottom left and right: Toward Barred Island (detail) by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade