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Joanne Fransen-Gilliam

Joanne Fransen-Gilliam

Kentucky Crafted Artist
  • Fiber


    I inherited an obsession with fabric, color and textures from my mother, a former tailor, who taught me to sew before I entered kindergarten. Throughout school I loved math and ended up with a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Accounting and Finance. An accountant by day, my strong attention to detail and love of geometric design carries over to my artistic passion for quilting, which I have been doing for over thirty years.

    I like to incorporate appliqué in my full-size quilts and wall hangings, and have won awards for my appliquéd work. But the smaller the pattern, the more difficult it is to hand appliqué. Flower pounding is great for miniature details (like fern leaves) and I use this technique for my flower quilts. This method also creates good color variation and a hand painted “watercolor” effect. To begin, I chemically treat muslin then pound the pigment from real flowers into the fabric, which is later sewn into wall hangings, pillows or other items. Once the top is assembled, I free motion machine quilt it.

    In 2000, I made a 50th Wedding Anniversary photo transfer quilt, which later won several awards. Thinking of ways to use similar techniques to sell a quilted wall hanging, I decided to combine traditional quilting with a contemporary technique of photo transfer by using digitally enhanced photographs of flowers. I take a digital photograph of a flower then enhance it using different photo manipulation effects. I transfer the enhanced photos to a chemically treated fabric, which makes them colorfast. The various photos are then designed into a quilted wall hanging. The quilt is assembled with the highest quality quilting materials, and free motion machined quilted.

    My quilts range in size from wall hangings to bed coverings. I also use my quilting techniques to construct pillows, purses, and book covers. My work often incorporates traditional blocks into contemporary designs.

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