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Inspiring Quilting: Elly's blog to boost your creative IQ

Do your quilts look like you?

It’s often said that people look like their dogs. Undoubtedly, when folks you look for a pet, on some level, mostly subconscious, they look for something that is a bit like them…in physical attributes or personalities.

At the opening reception of Sacred Threads art quilt exhibition on Saturday, I asked lots of the artists who attended to pose with their pieces.

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Susan Leonard with her “Silken Masks”

And in reviewing these photos two days later, I am struck by the similarities of the woman and her work. On some level, this is a well, duh! conclusion. Of course our art is a reflection of our essence, the depths of our emotion—from buoyant joy to the darkest depths of grief, our memories and dreams. Of course we choose the colors and patterns we love for making quilts for our walls as well as for clothing for our bodies.  I would go so far as to suggest that creative self-expression calls for an acceptance one’s self and a confidence to share: This is who I am.


Pollution in the Gulf, by Marianne R. Williamson

Marianne with her granddaughter, Sabina

Marianne with her granddaughter, Sabina

Karen S. Riggins and her piece, “The Feminine Embraces”


Linda K. Bell with “Life is Change”

















"Shabbat Blessings,"  Susan L. Robbins

“Shabbat Blessings,” Susan L. Robbins

"Welcoming Doors," with Deborah Sorem

“Welcoming Doors,” with Deborah Sorem


French Canadian Dominique Ehrmann was invited by the Sacred Threads organizers to share her very large and dimensional installation, “Come and Follow Me.” It’s easy for me to see this artist in the folk-art figure of the girl as seen from the back. There’s an upbeat, bright, positively Pollyanna attitude about every layer of this stage-set, with many backstories to tell. And it certainly matches my impression of Dominique.

"Come and Follow Me," with the artist, Dominique Ehrmann

“Come and Follow Me,” with the artist, Dominique Ehrmann


Detail, “Come and Follow Me”

I suppose it’s only fair to show my quilt and me (below), and ask if you see any similarities? That smokey gray aura around the pot and my face, the oval neckline and neck of the pot. A shape that’s currently more rounded and bulbous than I’d prefer, but at least good fortune has given me a richness of experiences, and filled me with ideas and inspiration.

Yours truly, Eleanor Levie, with"Vessel"

Yours truly, Eleanor Levie, with”Vessel”









What do you think? Do we look like our art quilts?

Does your creative expression reflect your physical as well as psychological attributes? As we are created in the divine image, do we—subconsciously or consciously—replicate aspects of our own image or ourselves?

12 Responses to “Do your quilts look like you?”

  1. Your examples show this quite well. I wonder how it would work to match Column A (photos of quilts) with Column B ( random photos of the quilters)?

    • Eleanor says:

      Sounds like fun! Reminds me: When Mark Lipinski was producing the Quilter’s Home magazine, I suggested he show celebrity quilters and ask readers to match up faces with shoes! Susan Shie wears different color Crocs, Jodie Davis is a fashionista in flats, Libby Lehman (continued wishes for a full recovery) works in her bedroom slippers, etc.

  2. Maybe it is because you know these people. but I actually don’t see a connection. Sorry,to me they are photos of ladies next to what I am told is their work. I am not even familiar with their names!
    I would be interested to know what in the works made that connection for you? I don’t even see you as rounded as you think you are. There are plenty of people who are rounded, but you sure don’t fit that category!
    Sandy in the UK

  3. Eleanor says:

    I actually didn’t know any of the artists before Saturday’s reception–except Susan Leonard. I’m willing to bet it was pure coincidence that Susan dressed in solids, with a circle shaped pendant, yet it echoed her wonderful piece, one of my all-time faves. The swirling colors and textures in Maggie’s and Linda’s blouses seemed to coordinate with their pieces, and I’m sure that was not their intention. Don’t you think Dominique has a perennial girlishness to her style, with her figure seeming to be a younger version of herself? Round shapes are often used as symbols of femininity, and vessels as motherhood, so Karen and I seemed to adopt these forms. Of course, one can’t take this literally: I doubt that (m)any of the pieces in Sacred Threads are meant to be self-portraits. All art is subject to personal interpretation, and all artists hope our works will resonate with the viewer rather than merely capture our souls.

  4. Lisa says:

    No. Not at all. My quilts don’t look like me at all. Take a look at my blog and you’ll see my Sacred Threads quilt and I included two photos of me……so you can make the comparison even though I wasn’t able to be at the show (and deeply regret it….I had planned on coming).


  5. Eleanor, I think you’re totally onto something with your theory!
    At the very least, quilters often wear fabrics that they also like to sew with. I know I do! I also buy interesting fabric shirts for my spouse!
    Now THAT would be a fun book: Portraits of quilters. their spouses, and their similar-looking quilts! (Throw in their pets, too, for a whole matching set!?)

  6. Debra S says:

    I certainly didn’t plan to look like my quilt but the minute I saw the photo my friend took of me with my quilt, I thought that it was hard to tell where the quilt ended and I began! LOL!

    You can see the photo on my website, http://www.debraspincic.com or on Facebook.

  7. Trisha says:

    Yes, there are definately similarities between the ladies and their work, even if it were just in the type of clothing they choose, but their appearances share characteristics as well. This is an exercise we did at art school, matching up students and then other artists with their work, it is an accepted thing. The artists of the Bauhaus in Germany before the war, mainly Itten, observed that students choose to do work with materials that looked like them. For instance – cool ash blondes tended to choose to work with metals or smooth fabrics and wavy haired golden girls or boys tended toward rugged wood or thick tweedy fabrics, etc, etc. We are phycologically programmed to look for what reflects our own personalities and looks, even if its totally subconcious, which is fascinating.

  8. Hi Eleanor,
    I remember the crafts that you made, you are so talented. I always was very fond of you, your artistic vision, and sweet demeanor. Just happen to see you here and wanted to say hi. This is Heather, who was your brother’s girlfriend back in 1994. Wow, that is a long time ago! I hope all is well.

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