Cindy Grisdela’s Quilts Are Stand-Alone Pieces

Cindy Grisdela creates contemporary wall quilts that exude color and comfort. With her creations largely abstract, Grisdela compares her process to improvisational jazz music, with each decision about color and shape influencing her next decision.

“Art quilts are unique because they don’t use patterns as traditional quilters understand them,” she further explained her creative process in an interview with String & Story. “Most are original, one of a kind works.”

According to Grisdela, as opposed to regular quilts, art quilts are meant to hang on the wall, so utilitarian considerations like washing or heavy use don’t come into play. “Many art quilters also use unusual fibers or embellishments that you wouldn’t want on a quilt that was meant to be slept under or wrapped around,” she explains.

The first step is choosing her colors. Putting colors together intuitively, Grisdela uses fabric the way a painter might use paint to create graphic compositions that engage the viewer from a distance, yet invite a closer look. Next comes texture, with the stitching lines providing contrast and dimension to the piece, integrating the different elements into a cohesive whole.

“I like to tell people that I’m an artist–period,” she stresses. “I paint with fabric and draw with thread and a sewing machine. I travel all over the country showing and selling my work at fine art and fine craft shows, so I meet a lot of people. It’s fun when someone stops in front of my booth and says ‘Wow!’ Artists are often attracted by the color and composition of my work, and are surprised that it’s created with fabric. Quilters are usually drawn to the dense free motion stitching that I put into each piece, because that takes a lot of practice to do well.”

Take a look at some of her unique art pieces in the gallery below: