Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Instructor Spotlight - Judy Coates-Perez

Our class schedule always includes perennially favorite repeat workshops, but every season we love to bring in new, talented artists who teach techniques we haven't offered before. Art quilter Judy Coates-Perez is just such an instructor, so were were delighted when she agreed to teach these two classes this spring:

April 21 - Heavy Metal Play Day, in which students will learn to texture and incorporate aluminum and copper metal into mixed media projects, and

April 22 - 10 Textile Techniques with Acrylic Inks, exploring a variety of painting techniques. Update 3/24/12: see Judy's blog post for samples of what students will be doing in the class.

Judy is an international award winning textile artist from Chicago, well known for her highly detailed, colorfully painted whole cloth quilts. She teaches at guilds and quilt festivals nationwide, has written numerous articles for Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines, produced 3 instructional DVD’s with Interweave publications, and has been a guest multiple times on the Quilting Arts television program.

Recently Judy graciously took time from her busy schedule to answer some questions for our blog:

How long have you been doing fiber mixed media?
I have been making art quilts for 25 years. I began incorporating paint and other mixed media with my textile work about 15 years ago.

How did you choose fiber as your medium for artistic expression?
I love how limitless the options are working with surface design techniques on textiles.

I don’t think I’ve ever met an art medium I didn’t like, lol. In highschool my time was always divided between the art room and home ec. When I went to art school, I got a BFA in graphic design and worked for a number of years in that field. In my spare time I began making art quilts, incorporating the two things I loved most, creating imagery and working with fabric.

While living in Austin, Texas I also worked with clay; hand building and throwing on the wheel. I especially loved carving texture into the surface of my pottery, which paralleled my interest in creating stitched texture in the quilted surface. I loved working with clay, but I determined being a full time potter and investing in the equipment and space to work in that medium was not realistic for me and I refocused on textiles. I find that when ever I work in other media it gives me knew ideas to carry over into my textile work.

Black and Bloom All Over by Judy Coates-Perez

Where do you draw inspiration for the images in your work?
Everywhere! but to be more precise, my life experiences; my childhood, my kids interests while they were growing up, travels, nature, science, mythology and folklore.

What advice do you have for people starting out?
Try new things, take a few classes to get the groundwork, experiment and have fun! If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing.

Thanks, Judy, for some great advice! We're looking forward to your April classes!

If you would like to see more of Judy's work and learn more about her processes, visit her wonderful and much-read website/blog,

And, Judy has a second blog,, where she has posted tutorials. You can find a step-by-step tutorial on how Judy created the Black and Bloom All Over quilt shown above at this post on Judy's tutorial blog. 

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