I grew up on a farm in eastern South Dakota and was greatly influenced by my mother, Florence Renli, who was an exceptional quilter and seamstress. While she didn’t teach me to quilt, I’ve always been inspired by her passion for excellence.
I began quilting 30 years ago. I was completely unaware, and so fortunate, that my first class — a six-week intensive on drafting quilt designs — was being taught by quilting legend, Lucy Hilty. She not only gave me excellent skills but she lit a fire within me that will never go out.
I ask myself, “Why do I make art?” Because a beautiful curve moves me. Because I see two fabrics speaking to each other. I find inspiration in the minutiae of the world around me — the juxtaposition of old and new, an unusual perspective, the color of sunlight after a rain. All these bits of life fill me and make me want to create.
All my work is original. I do both representational and abstract designs. My medium is fabric, any fabric — traditional and nontraditional. I often use a toned or neutral color palette. Frequently my work is abstract but just as often it looks at reality from a different perspective. I use a number of machine piecing techniques. I hand or machine appliqué and hand or machine quilt; whatever the piece asks for. I use various painting and inking techniques to enhance my work.
I am on a continuous journey of exploration and am excited to see where it takes me.