Monday, October 4, 2010

Quilt Artist: Val Schultz

When I returned to quilting about seven years ago, one of the first people I met was Val Schultz. Someone suggested that she might be willing to quilt some of the quilt tops that I was then creating. It was the perfect suggestion. We both seem to like similar fabrics and designs and I can give Val a top that I want a really superior job done on and know that I will be totally pleased with her work. It was Val who observed to me a number of years ago that I seem to be getting drawn to the world of art quilts. So, as I begin this series of interviews with art quilters, it seemed natural that I begin with the first art quilter that I met.

Val has been quilting since she was 16 when she spent a summer taking lessons from her great aunt. She stopped while life happened and then resumed about 15 years ago.She has always been drawn to art quilts.

“I like color and I like curves more than straight lines. So, doing free form stuff was more fun and so much easier.”

Val has a very successful long arm quilting business that she runs out of her home on Honeoye Lake in upstate New York, near Rochester. I asked her about how much time she gets to spend on her own work.

“My business takes a lot of time. Some weeks I have very little free time for my own work. But recently that has been changing. Thursdays are my day off from my business. I belong to three groups that meet on Thursdays but that still leaves one or two Thursdays a month for my own art.  This summer I also started taking time on weekends for my own things. I am probably spending 10-14 hours a week on my art. That is a big difference from five years ago.”

I asked Val what she currently enjoys creating.

“I gravitate to hand-dyed fabric and then quilting the dyed fabric. I like to see what occurred when I dyed the fabric and what can I bring out of that with thread. I am not really doing whole cloth quilts -more the center is heavily quilted and then I add a border – sort of  piecing around a theme. I also enjoy working from photographs, particularly on organic themes – trees, rocks, water.

"I enjoy working with dyed fabrics as I see fabric as a tool. Many of the printed fabrics seem to take possession of a piece and dictate what you are going to do. I still use batiks because I like them. I still like to piece and I don’t mind appliqué if it is required to get where I want to go."

I asked Val if she has been in many shows.

“In the last few years, a few local years. I am not competitive – that is I don’t have a competitive personality.  So, I don’t have much interest in winning shows. I decided recently that I am going to enter more shows but more from a personal point of view. I would just like to show my work.” She smiles broadly, “After a while, what else are you going to do with everything?”

That lead me to ask Val what she does with her many art pieces.

“I have a nice little commission business in Europe. I stumbled on it by accident. A friend who was an interior designer asked me to do something for a house in Europe. Members of that family liked it and continue to ask me to do things – they tell me the size and color for odd shapes pieces to go in their homes and then I am free to create as I please.

Her favorite quilt is one that she made for her son, a Marine with several tours of duty in the Middle East. Each time he went over, she would get anxious and start quilting. Her favorite piece was for her son’s second tour in Iraq. No, we don’t have a photo of it as he loved it and has it in his home. She tells me it was primarily red white and blue and heavily quilted.

Val is the sort of person who is always willing to pitch in and lend a hand. She is active in local quilting organizations in Rochester NY and the Finger Lakes area. She recently completed a term as President of the 400 plus member Genesee Valley Quilt Organization. Now she is Vice President of another smaller guild, Lake to Lake. She also does volunteer work with the Quilt Consortium for the Finger Lakes area both as secretary and collecting info for their news letter.

I asked Val what she saw herself doing in five years.

“I fully expect to be doing art quilting and enjoying it.”

I hope she will too. Val doesn't have a web page as of now, but you can email her at if you would like to know about her work.

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