about the artist

Bethany GarnerMy creative nature grasped the quilt as a means of artistic expression above all of the other arts and crafts I have practiced. Quilt making, and in particular Art Quilts, involves a great variety of techniques, styles and materials which I see as endless combinations of colour and texture. The art form is appreciated as geometric, pictorial, abstract and both traditional and innovative - all of which inspire me to continually explore new designs and methods.

Overall design and colour get me going. Then focusing in on fine details keeps me exploring for MORE. This is how I imagine a viewer sees an Art Quilt. It is important to me to have each piece of work appreciated both far and near in the various aspects of the design and construction. I strive for a pleasing combination of balance and form so the eye roams over the entire surface. Upon close inspection, the viewer is treated to more detail. Quality in both materials and construction are necessary to me for creating a lasting piece of art. I expect my work to pass the test of time, and therefore, colour should not change as the quilt ages. Nothing should ever fall off...my stitching is often reinforced so quilting and embellishments remain secure, NO quilt will get it's chance on a wall unless it hangs flat.

I do not limit myself to any specific type, technique or style of quilt - yet. I have a traditional background in the quiltmaking process, yet I use innovative methods as I see fit. I restrict myself to what I feel is the definition of a quilt - three layers held together with stitches. My goal is to make quilts that will be appreciated as art for the wall, inspiring the imagination of the viewer and a sense of wonderment - perhaps even serenity or humour if that is the intent I am after.

Unlike most utilitarian bed quilts, my art quilts often include surface embellishments such as thread painting, couching of specialty threads and fibres, cording, beads, embroidery and fabric manipulation. The design calls the embellishment into play, and should always complement the design and surface of the quilt as opposed to the quilt top merely being background for the surface embellishment. Every element works together to one purpose - the quilt.

Over the past five years, and with the inspiration, education and involvement I have had with both FIBREWORKS KINGSTON and the Kingston Fibre Artists' Group, my work has moved in a new direction. I create for my personal satisfaction, and find that for me, meeting deadlines inhibits the creative process, but also spurs me on to new and diverse design exploration. My work is sometimes simple and often very detailed and time consuming, traditional or contemporary in nature. Each piece is designed to stand on it's own, making a statement - perhaps about me, and perhaps about an issue or current event in the world. The actual quilting process is just as important to me as the construction of the top layer, so I take the time to plan and enjoy the stitching along with the overall design. This link to my quilting heritage remains an important aspect of my work.

Overall, the art of quiltmaking is vital to my personal existence, and teaching is a huge part of who I am and what I do. Learning techniques is not as important as what I take from the lesson that can be shared with others. The comfort that I pull from watching a room full of women all stitching on a new project, each having learned a new skill or taken from my demonstrations and watchful care as they execute a new technique is monumental. Being a small part off taking the quilting movement forward in this new century is an important commitment, and I am surely defined as the success of the courses and work I present to my students is taken forward in THEIR work. Being a part of the women's movement to sustain the Needle Arts is an awesome responsibility and a true honour. I hope that when you look at my body of work, you see me as an author, a teacher and a creative being...all a part of a greater destiny to which I commit my life.