To be honored the 2013 Featured Quilter of the Year at the largest quilt show in the world is no small deal. For Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show honoree Kristin Shields, quilting has been a part of her life since childhood. Self-described as a liberated quilter and textile artist, Shields explains, “My mother was always making things, so I grew up learning all sorts of crafts, predominantly needlework.” However, it wasn’t until her 20s that she discovered quilting.
With over 1300 displayed quilts at the Sisters quilt show, Shields has entered her work every year since she and her husband Mark moved to Bend in 2004. Kristin has volunteered most of those years as well. Without hundreds of hours of volunteer work in addition to paid staff, the Sisters Quilt Show would not be the worldwide success that it is each year.
Shields attributes her growth as an artist to being a part of this exhibit, and it was at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show where she first learned of the idea of book quilts. “I love seeing what the other quilters are doing”, she explains.
When Kristin discovered the books of Gwen Marton, the mother of the liberated quilt making movement in the 90s, her craft evolved from, as she describes, “making very traditional quilts,” to “experimenting with some small liberated pieces”, and she just kept going from there. “I have been very lucky to have several classes with Gwen and she is truly amazing—one of the most supportive and happy teachers I’ve ever met.” Shields also attributes the blogging movement to much of her influence. She has her own blog,http://kristinshields.typepad.com, and appreciates that she has “met many wonderful people in the blog realm, both online and in person. Ideas are shared so freely and I’ve learned a lot by following other blogs.”
Always on the lookout for inspiring sayings and quotes, her signature pieces are inspired by novels, poetry, and lyrics. Shields is also a member of a quilting book club, the Undercover Quilters. Each year, they choose a favorite book from which to make a quilt, and these have resulted in some of her favorite pieces. The lyrics of Imagine by John Lennon are in one of Kristin’s quilts, and for the past three years, she has also made quilts inspired by the Library’s Novel Idea pick.
Born in Colorado and then living briefly on the East Coast, Shields then lived long enough in Massachusetts to consider it the place she grew up. After high school she moved to the West Coast, lived in Hawaii for a year, and then settled in Bend nine years ago.
In addition to quilting, you can also find Kristin’s hand dyed linens and greeting cards on ETSY. Often finding linens in antique shops, some of Shield’s favorite sources are Sage Antiques in Sisters, and Iron Horse, Trivia, and Glenroe Antiques in Bend. When employing natural dies in her linens, Kristin uses black walnut for brown, avocado peel, and seeds for pink. She has yet to try flower dying, but has some flowers in the freezer for future use. Although she loves the color result from natural dyes, Kristin explains that the result can be “fugitive”, resulting in color that fades quickly. Because synthetic dyes do not fade and wash well, she mainly utilizes synthetic dyes in her quilts and fabric packs.
Artists have used Kristin’s linens in many creative ways. A wire sculpture artist has used Shields’ fabric to make 3D flowers. Another uses it for appliqué pieces. Kristin has also started selling her hand spun yarn for sell, which she explains, “makes for a great embellishment when couched down” which, she adds, creates a “lot of texture to a piece.” In addition to selling her pieces on ETSY, she has also had demos and items for sale at the Fiber Art Stroll in Sisters, and is planning on selling some items at the Mt. Bachelor Quilters Guild quilt show in August.
Kristin and Mark have been married for 27 years, and the couple has two children. Their daughter Chloe is a student at Linfield College about to do a semester abroad in Ecuador, and their son Ryan just graduated from Summit High School and will be going to Transitions Co-op this fall in Bend.
When Kristin is taking a break from quilting, she enjoys knitting or spinning— anything to do with fiber arts. She is also exploring with other art media such as painting and art journaling, and her other passion is birds. She actually has a Masters in Avian Sciences. Exploring new places and traveling is also big for Shields and her husband, whether it’s by air or in their Airstream.
Congratulations, Kristin on being honored the 2013 Sisters Quilter of the Year!