Spotlight: Marilyn Lone, Textile Artist
Marilyn Lone translates the world around her in her art quilts. Her work is brave and bold, making effective use of color and value to communicate her artistic vision. Marilyn learned to sew as a child and never stopped creating. She embraces a variety of techniques to share her imagery through textile art.
What inspires you to create?
Colors and their relationship to one another have a big part in inspiration for me.
When was the first time that you remember realizing that you are a creative person?
I have never not thought I’ve been creative.
What traits, if any, do you think that creative people have as compared to people who are not creative?
I believe creative people feel free to try different techniques, methods, media and experiences.
How did you learn to sew?
I learned to sew from Home Ec class in school and my Mom. And by looking at how other people made things, I thought “I can do that, too.” So I did.
How did you find yourself on an artist’s path? Always there? Lightbulb moment? Dragged kicking and screaming? Evolving?
I’ve always been involved one way or another in art. My mother was a painter, and I majored in art in college. I didn’t get into quilting, however, until 1995. I consider a piece of art “great” if I would hang it on the wall of my home so I could look at it as often as I want.
How has your work changed over time?
My quilting work has changed over the years by trying new techniques, and by creating my own designs instead of following other people’s patterns.
How often do you start a new project?
I start a new project when I have a new deadline, AND when I feel healthy and physically capable enough to work.
Are you the kind of quilter that plans everything out ahead of time, or do you just dive in and start playing with fabrics?
I just dive in and wallow in the color.
About how many UFOs do you think you have right now?
That I’m honestly going to finish? Just one.
When you are in your creative mood, do you listen to music, watch TV or do you prefer a quiet spot? If it is music, what types do you listen to? If watching TV, what kinds of shows?
Quiet suits me best. No music, no TV, no chatting friends.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
My studio is the rec room in my house. (All dimensions are width x height.) My husband built a 4′ x 8′ work table on wheels so I can move it around. My ironing surface is a 5′ x 30″ padded table on wheels. Design wall is 6′ x 8′ rigid foam insulation (so it easily takes pins) wall covered with flannel. Fabric storage is on four book shelves, each 30″ x 7′. Light table/drafting board 60″ x 38″. Multiple plastic bins/cubbies/drawers for thread, accessories, other materials. My computer and printer are in the studio, too. Laundry room is handy right next to the studio.
What is your favorite storage tip for your sewing supplies?
I use a florist’s glass frog by my sewing machine to keep tools handy – marking pencils, “purple thang”, hemostat, seam ripper, screwdriver, etc.
What is your favorite tip for quilting? Or do you have a favorite tool to help you succeed at your projects?
Elisa’s Backporch Design Sew Easy Tweezers. These are the best for grabbing that last tiny bit of curved fabric to guide under the presser foot.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Best piece of advice? If some part you love doesn’t look right then take it off and try something else. Maybe the part you love will work better on another piece.
What other types of hobbies do you do?
Gardening, reading, hand embroidery.
And here’s more bold fiber art from Marilyn!
Enjoy more of Marilyn’s art quilts and their stories.
Autumn Forest Walk was named because these colors say autumn to me and the black vertical stripes remind me of deep shadows of tall trees. What a pleasure to stroll in this forest!
The blocks on this quilt were made with a very freeing method of piecing, slashing and adding more fabric, and then trimming to the final size of the block. Nine blocks are larger, all using fabrics that blend well together, even though each one is a little different. They were machine pieced, then slashed to add the black for the trees.
I made the two smaller sizes of blocks in the same method, slashing and then adding black for the trees. The smallest of blocks are on the top of the quilt, so they depict the tops of the trees where the leaves and branches are smaller.
I sashed the blocks with solid fabrics in the gold and orange families — the colors of autumn! Then a few different colors were used in the sashing to add more visual interest to the quilt top.
I machine quilted Autumn Forest Walk with a leaf design on the outer border, a smaller leaf-like design in the blocks and then added some great filler machine quilting on the inner sashing.
As an art quilter, I love bright, bold color, so I created Sew It Boldly, this orange poppies art quilt using all Judy Robertson hand-dyed fabrics.
If you aren’t familiar with Judy Robertson hand-dyed fabrics, you will wish you were! Because Judy has the most amazing color range in her fabric line that create natural shadows and textures on art quilts. So here I used a few pieces of her yellow, orange and melon hand dyed fabric and appliquéd flowers on a gorgeous hand dyed black fabric (from Judy, too).
I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful shading and colors on the hand dyed fabric, so I cut the flower petals out ‘fussy cut’ style. Then I cut the leaves, stems and other foliage from one piece of beautiful texturized green fabric. The centers of the flowers used just a touch of the green, to help provide visual coherence in the piece, as well as some brown fabrics.
Fussy cut style of cutting is where you take your pattern piece and move it around on the piece of fabric until you get exactly the color or pattern you want in your quilt. The method is effective in quilts like this, as well as in quilts where you want a specific image or design to be the center of a quilt square.
Then I machine quilted the piece to add texture to the surface of the art quilt.
The Lights Are On Across The Street started out as a small improv design using scraps from my “to save” bin. Once I added the big pieces of the chartreuse and stepped back to look at it on my design wall, I thought that it could be a big green hedge outside my window. So that determined my quilting pattern – leaves! So take a look! The lights are on in that house across the street. So there must be a party going on!
I like to keep components left over from other art quilts in a bin — you never know when they might just be perfect in another project! The center was a wonky log cabin that was left over from a different project, and you can see the leftover half triangle squares – both green on green (my hedge) and orange and green. These add great elements to this finished piece, and the little slivers of color make it cohesive.
I made Seattle Steam when I worked in Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA. The area includes original buildings from Seattle’s early days, with beautiful architecture. You’ll find large pedestrian walkways between the buildings. So on nice summer days you’ll find people gathered to enjoy the perfect weather. And then, there will probably be a street musician (or two), to entertain the crowd.
Across the street from my sixth floor office was the Seattle Steam Company. When the sun shone on it in the afternoon, that stone building glowed orange and the detailed architecture enhanced with deep shadows. So I just had to make it into art for my wall at home.
I machine pieced Seattle Steam with a very basic color scheme, so it was impactful with the choice of colors for shading (a pale turquoise) and the lighter orange-gold color in the windows. Solid blacks and browns provide dramatic shadows, while pale turquoise highlights the building’s beautiful architecture.
Using hand dyed fabrics gives the piece texture and visual interest, like on the window ledge, under the windows. Then different sized window arches add dimension and movement. Like my other art quilts, I machine quilted Seattle Steam.
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