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Scan the list of classes offered at any edition of Quilt Festival, and you’ll see that they’re presented by some of the biggest names in the quilting world. But behind each of those names is a fascinating, creative quilt artist and individual.

So, with this new recurring Friends@Festival feature, we’re giving you the opportunity to get acquainted with some of our beloved faculty members (each featured in this issue is teaching at this month’s fall Festival in Houston). For this edition, we asked them the question, “Where does your inspiration come from?” and have recorded their responses below. Readers, meet the faculty...

“Where does your inspiration come from?”

Patti Culea: “Color, nature, my surroundings. Often fabric. Being raised in an exceptionally artistic home also helped. I was taught early on to look at my surroundings for inspiration.”

Gyleen X. Fitzgerald: “Geometry. I have a dream list of shapes that I have always found fascinating. I combine that with my love for being practical as an engineer (Pineapple Tool and Trash to Treasure Quilts).

Katie Pasquini Masopust: “My inspirations come from many places. Sometimes I make quilts from photographs that I have taken. Rarely are these quilts just a replication of photograph. I will either distort it, abstract it, or fracture it to make it uniquely mine.

“Lately, I have been going back to my roots as a painter. I am painting on canvases with acrylic paint, and then cutting up the canvases and reconstructing them to make a new composition. Sometimes these new compositions inspire a quilt that looks like the painting, and then I will insert the painting onto the surface of the quilt and quilt the whole thing to have a different composition.”

Esterita Austin: “My inspiration comes from friends and family. Usually, when the sun is setting, and the light is orange and dramatic, I use the opportunity to snap photos for my future work.”

Noriko Endo: “My inspiration comes from nature. Whenever I go out to the woods, I take my camera with me and enjoy taking photos of nature. Trees are a recurring image in my quilts.”

Judith Baker Montano: “My inspiration comes from my surroundings and my passion for photography. Over the years, my love for Crazy quilting and embellishments has evolved into creating land and seascapes and underwater projects. My challenge is to take the photo and then interpret it into a painting using dyed fabrics, threads, and yarns.”

John Flynn: “My inspiration comes from everywhere. A big influence is Plains Indian Art, and my engineering background makes geometric designs very attractive to me.”

Karen Kay Buckley: "My inspiration can come from anywhere. Recently, I saw some great elements on a gift bag that inspired me to start a new quilt. Another recent inspiration was from a note card. I loved the color combination on the note card so much, I am using those colors on my current quilt. Sometimes wallpaper elements, copyright-free books, past experiences...I moved into my new studio space last summer and I have to say that it’s very inspiring.”

Lyric Montgomery Kinard: “Inspiration can be found everywhere you look if you are actively seeking it. A crack on the sidewalk might capture my attention, a painting in a museum will have a color scheme that I’m drawn to. I love architectural shapes, as well as textures found in the natural world. My iPhone camera and a little sketchbook are two of my favorite tools for recording these ubiquitous inspirations. Sometimes, a simple gathering of beautiful materials to work with is all I need to be inspired.”

Photo cutlines:

Class project photos

Photo 1—Painted, Stitched Canvas with Katie Pasquini Masopust

Photo 2—Impressionist of Japan—Confetti Landscapes with Noriko Endo

Photo 3—Abstract-a-Licious with Lyric Montgomery Kinard

Photo 4—LiMei, A Study in Silk Dyeing for Dolls and Beyond with Patti Medaris Culea

Photo 5—Pow-erful Portraits with Esterita Austin

Photo 6—Texas Star—Red, White, and Blue! with John Flynn

Photo 7—Fiesta Mexico—Block #9 with Karen Kay Buckley

Photo 8—Trash to Treasure Pineapple Quilts with Gyleen X. Fitzgerald

Photo 9—Anenomes, Jelly Fish, Seaweed, and Corals in Stitches with Judith Baker Montano