Meet the Quilt Divas

Susan Andrews, of Moravia, NY & Gulfport, FL. is half of the talented Oiseaux (French for bird) Sisters, so self-styled because they migrate seasonally, upstate New York in summer, and Florida in winter. Her work incorporates humor, movement and metaphor. Materials include mixed media use of paper, tin, clay, cloth, carved and painted wood and found objects. She has created a series of figurative, often biographical or mythological figures and cupboards which range from small to larger than life size as well as many other figurative pieces and books which tell stories.

Eugenia (Genie) Barnes, of Marcellus, NY, is a strong advocate of quilt art and has been the catalyst to many a quilter to get her work out to the public. Genie quilts and teaches quilting, internationally. She is also a lecturer, judge and quilt appraiser certified by the American Quilter's Society and is listed in "Who's Who in American Quilting". Genie is a consultant for the Auburn Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center during its annual "Quilts = Art = Quilts" exhibit each winter.


Lorraine Benjamin, of Willseyville, NY, has been creating with fiber for as long as she can remember. She began quilting in 1997, and immediately was intrigued with the design elements of the quilt. Her creative “roots” are firmly embedded in the traditional quilt, but she began to explore a more contemporary approach to her quilting in the year 2000. Her art has always been a tangible “out-pouring” of her spiritual journey. Each of her pieces is a physical memorial that chronicles her growth as a mortal being.

Carol Boyer,  of Syracuse, NY, taught middle school for 32 years in central NY. She is an artist who has been working with fiber art for the past thirty years and likes to explore new avenues and challenge herself on a regular basis. The ideas for her challenges come from nature, magazines, fabric, textures, colors and even words themselves. She is forever picking up one thing and searching for the possibility of it becoming something else with her manipulations. Carol loves texture and adds all sorts of objects to the surface of her work. She enjoys working with fabric and although she ventures into bead-work and doll making, she finds that she always returns to the quilting surface for a venturesome and fulfilling means of artistic expresson.

Liese Bronfenbrenner, of Ithaca, NY. Art and needlework have been part of Liese's life since childhood, beginning with sewing doll clothes and drawing on butcher paper. She received her art and fabric art training at the University of Michigan, Cornell evening classes, and summer craft schools. She began exhibiting pictorial wall quilts, fabric based books, and soft sculptures at the New York State Craft Fair (later Upstate Craft Fair) in 1974 and continued exhibiting in the United States, including nine major Schweinfurth exhibits, as well as in Canada and Europe. Liese received numerous awards including the Popular Choice Merit Award at the Stitchery '81 International in Pittsburgh.

Elsie Dentes, originally of Ithaca, NY, now resides in Frederick, MD. Earlier in her career Elsie worked in graphic design for Cornell and then moved to NYC where she worked at the American Folk Art Museum and freelanced in design and illustration for clients including Children's Television Workshop. Elsie is a maverick of quilt design and hand appliqué. She is a sought-after teacher, often found at quilting shops giving lessons and her patterns are for sale at the register. A big part of Elsie's inspiration is her visits to the Adirondacks to soak in nature at its best. Many of her quilts are born from this period of reflection.

Joan Lockburner Deuel, of Richford, NY, attained her degree in art from SUNY at Plattsburgh and now pursues her Masters of Art at Syracuse U. Joan has participated in the Ithaca Art Trail and has had a number of solo art exhibits in galleries of Corning, Binghamton and Ithaca. Her pieces, some three dimensional, demonstrate her urge to work "outside the box". Joan is engaged by intersecting layers and textures that build a space or form and she uses new materials, her hand-dyed and painted materials, as well as used clothing. Layers are sewn down, cut apart and sewn together again. She senses that by using various types of cloth the assembled piece sparks individual assumptions and memories. Combining these energies, Joan works them into something new yet familiar. The last part of her process is the functional stitching that holds everything together and adds the last layer of color and images which define separation and connections.

Mary Diamond, of Interlaken, NY, claims her artistic talents were first nurtured by growing up on a dairy farm, exploring her surroundings. Her subjects and palette reflect her love affair with nature. She briefly resided in Kenya and the use of brightly patterned fabrics of East Africa often is seen in her quilt art. Since Mary's career has been in education, her fabric portraits reflect many observations of children. She has created a series of art quilts featuring her grandchildren, each child enjoying a favorite pastime such as ice skating, ball playing, dancing, and spending a day at the beach. Mary delights in including a bit of serendipity or whimsy in each piece. Some of her work has had the distinction of touring internationally.

Sally Dutko, of Fort Myers, FL, is recently retired from the position of Director of Publications and Marketing at Cornell University. As an original member of the Quilt Divas, she helped guide the Divas in its formative stages into an independent, dynamic fiber arts group. Her artwork has been influenced by a background in fine arts and graphic design. She dyes and paints fabrics, combining textures, patterns, and mixed-media elements to create collages, art quilts, and soft sculptures. She has been filmed in her studio for the TV program, "Simply Quilts" and was featured in the online subscription program "The Quilt Show". Sally moved recently to Fort Myers, FL and is a member of Art Quilters Unlimited.

Donna Faivre-Roberts, of Lansing, NY (with summers in Newfoundland), has studied and explored art all her life, earlier working in jewelry and landscape painting and now in figurative art. She recently switched from sculpting realistic figures to a more organic abstract style and has found that wood is her medium of choice, as it has a "voice of its own". Donna explores such elements as vines, pods, twigs, stones, and seashells, joining them together to meld the beauty of nature and the gracefulness of the human form. Donna also sculpts small personal components - a face, a hand - which adds an anthropomorphic element of surprise to her pieces as they tease the spirits of nature to peek out of her art.

Alice Gant, of Trumansburg, NY, has had a career as an art teacher in the Trumansburg and then Alaskan school systems. She has come home to roost and make wonderful banners of birds and animals and fables from far and wide. Alice was first a printmaker and then her artistic endeavors focused on banner work. She often creates banners that are huge and usually not seen in their entirety nor fully appreciated by her until she sees them installed on large walls in schools or churches or public buildings. In order to create her curvilinear banners she has developed a way to get that effect and names it "neo-reverse appliqué". Her sewing machine is a 35-year old Singer. Alice is a participant in the Ithaca Art Trail and exhibits her smaller pieces for eager patrons.


Anne Garretson, of Spencer, NY is a self-taught artist who has been exhibiting her work since the early 1980's. Art often took a backseat as her career meandered from environmental education to higher education administration and beyond. In 1993, after a very, very long hike, she decided to shift away from her 'real' work to find more time for her true work, as an artist. Her art quilts are inspired by nature, particularly natural cycles. Pieces often feature various types of photographic techniques such as transfers, cyanotypes and digital prints. Black and white landscape photography was initially the medium she chose; an addiction to quilting came later. Her photographic images often find their way into recent art quilts.


Cindy Henry, of Candor, NY, is an art educator in the Union-Endicott HS and the art instructional leader of grades K-12. She has been teaching for 15 years, first in Ohio and for the last 8 years at her present position. Her HS students have won numerous awards, attesting to Cindy's skill and inspiration, and she herself has won the NYS Region 4 Art Educator of the Year Award. She is also the President of the NYS Art Teachers Association. Cindy's background in graphic design is apparent in the simplicity and strength of her designs.

Sandra Holland, of Cortland, NY, is a practicing physician.  Throughout her career, she has worked in private practice as well as in the emergency room. Sandi has always pursued a creative activity to balance her medical dedication and has found that diversion in pottery and watercolors before becoming an advocate of working with fabric. She created her first quilt in 2002 and fell in love with the visual and tactile character of the fiber. Each new project is used to explore different techniques and materials, although she frequently comes back to the texture and design that can be created with simple stitching. Her processes invariably involve much thought, sketching and testing of her ideas before committing them to the work in progress.

Maureen Jakubson, of Ithaca, NY is a fiber artist and fabric designer. She produces fabrics using traditional Shibori techniques, as well as contemporary surface design techniques, such as screen printing. She hand dyes cottons, silks, linens, and upholstery weight fabric for sale and by consignment. She sells finished art pieces, garments and linens for the home that she hand prints and dyes in several venues and online. Customers can have her designs printed on a fabric of their choice through her SPoonflower online fabric shop. She is teaching Shibori dyeing classes at the Community School of Music and Arts. Check out her work on her website by clicking on her name.

Noel Keith
, of Manlius, NY considers herself primarily a quilter, a patch worker, an artist who puts small pieces of fabric together into pleasing and surprising patterns. Shc calls her current work Contemporary Quilting because, even though the patterns and techniques are based on traditional quilts, the focus is on secondary patterns and rhythms and abstract composition. Her sewing machine is an art tool to create the curves. She primarily uses silk, both commercially and hand dyed, sewn to a foundation. This technique is much like the traditional crazy quilt piecing which creates a whole quilt by sewing together small units. The pieces are backed with cotton and bound in the traditional quilt fashion.

Priscilla Kibbee, of Binghamton, NY. At the end of a successful career in the medical field, Priscilla turned to wearable art in her retirement. After a few years of teaching and exhibiting at national shows such as the Fairfield and Bernina shows, she found that her closets were overstuffed and turned to art quilting. Two of her first quilts were featured in several national shows, magazines, and a book, as well as having been exhibited in several European countries.

Cheri Sheridan, of Cortland, NY, is a fiber artist who lives and works in the beautiful Finger Lakes area of central New YOrk. For the past 35 years she has been interested in expressing her ideas be they cultural, politcal, or environmental using various forms of fabric manipulation. She especially likes using resist techniques like shibori stitching, dyeing, and batik wax resist. She often carves her own stamps for printing and uses beaded and stitched embellishments in her multi-layerd work. Cheri's art quilts can be seen locally at Center 4 the Arts in Homer, New York in the Rock Garden Art Group annual show in September and at the Community Arts Project in January.


Sharon Bottle Souva, of Syracuse, NY has been sewing since she was nine and began quilt making in 1976, putting her work on walls instead of beds. This allows her a greater freedom in exploring ways to manipulate the fabric. Several years ago she discovered the joys of unfinished edges and loose threads. These have become an important part of her current work. She finds herself looking at nature and man-made structures with the question: "How could that be interpreted in fabric? How can I incorporate those elements of texture and design into my work?"

Regina Sweet, of Millport, NY began her artistic adventures with a ceramics class in southern California at Riverside Community College. For the next twenty years she played in the "mud" until discovering the world of textiles. All the printing, dyeing, cutting apart then sewing back together has allowed her to express herself and hopefully make people smile. This is her daily journey that she looks forward to.


Kristin Thompson, of Ithaca, NY, is a self-taught knitter, sewer, quilter and lover of all things fiber. Kristin enjoys handwork the most, exploring the techniques of appliqué and embroidery. The embellishment of quilts with thread work and "all things beautiful and fun" is her passion. One can find Kristin on the sales staff of Quilters Corner in Ithaca, knowledgeably assisting others in their artistic pursuits. She describes herself as being on a fabric journey and although grounded in traditional quilts, Kristin actively pursues and creates contemporary, original designs.

Ruth A. White, of Varna, NY, has always dabbled in various artistic endeavors, though, for most of her adult life, science has been her profession, her passion and her primary art. In 1999 she discovered the fascination of quilting and now Ruth enjoys working with the different textures of silks and cottons and delights in the serendipity of creating her own hand-dyed fabric. Various sciences such as astronomy, biology and archaeology infuse her art, while at the same time she explores revealing the different layers of a quilt.


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