Art quilts by Ann Baldwin May may be abstract, whimsical or impressionistic. Her inspiration comes from the natural world as well as from Mexican and Native American Influences. Her materials of choice are often redirected fabrics from the San Francisco Design Center and found objects. After creating over 300 bed quilts since the 1970’s, Ann turned her focus to art quilts.
It is very exciting to share my art with you. The definition of a quilt says that it is made with three layers, a top usually decorated, a middle part called a batt or batting, and the back. They are then joined together. Mine are joined by machine quilting. I am proud to join the ever growing group of art quilters.
My favorite artists since college have been the Mexican muralists and painters; Diego Rivera from Guanajuato, David Siquieros from Chihuahua, Jose Clemente Orozco from Guadalajara and Rufino Tamayo from Oaxaca. I have been lucky to view their works in Mexico and in California. What fun to visit the big blue house (it takes up a whole block) of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Coyoacan! It is now a neighborhood in Mexico City. Years later, while visiting La Quinta Resort outside of Palm Springs with my family, I discovered some sepia sketches on the wall that looked vaguely familiar. During a visit in the 1940s, Diego Rivera had exchanged his drawings for payment of his rent. Who knew? I had been there numerous times before. Namedropping aside, I am drawn to all of these artists’ cultural and historical themes and styles which they execute with bold, bright colors.
More locally, I owe some of my inspiration to two artists/teachers from Santa Cruz County, California. Interestingly enough they have both chosen Latin American themes at times; however, that is unrelated to their inspiration for me. Meri Vahl has been recognized nationally for her work. As my teacher of the fabric layering technique, she was patient and understanding of her students’ individual strengths, weaknesses and abilities, encouraging everyone to do their best. My knowledge of this technique has been invaluable in expanding my toolbox of skills. ellen edith, art quilter, fabric designer and artist extraordinaire made whimsical, colorful personal quilts. I had viewed her art several times; but when I viewed them altogether in 2009 at the Monterey Guild Quilt Show, something clicked. I said to myself, “I can do that!” Her quilts were busy with many things to see at once. I kept discovering new details the longer I looked. By trying that myself, I was able to take my first steps into the art world. Unfortunately, ellen passed much too soon, in 2011. Some of her fabric designs are like being at a party! I have great appreciation for these two local leaders of the art quilt world.
Nationally, one of my favorite art quilters is Kent Williams (rkentwilliams.com). I saw his work in San Diego at Quilt Visions Gallery in 2010. His blending of colors in geometric patterns is unsurpassed.