Utah quilter leads ‘most interesting’ life
A popular beer commercial airing on television these days touts the exploits of the “world’s most interesting man.”
Well, I have a nominee for the world’s most interesting woman.
She’s someone who comes pretty close to knowing it all when it comes to quilting. You might say she’s a Renaissance woman of the genre.
Charlotte Warr Andersen of Salt Lake City creates prize-winning quilts, specializing in fabric portraits, and teaches a multitude of techniques nationally and internationally — from Seminole piecing to layered landscapes to free-formed flowers to fusible thread applique.
Her wearable art often wins top awards in annual fashion shows dating since 1987.
A garment she made titled “Josephine’s Amazing Neutral Colored Dreamcoat” was selected the Crème de la Crème winner in a 2003 Bernina Fashion Show.
Andersen is past president of the International Quilt Association, based in Houston, having finished her second term last October. She remains involved with the association and is helping plan a benefit party for this fall’s International Quilt Festival.
At this time, Andersen is scrambling to meet publishing deadlines on a book about quilting (her fourth), a sequel to her 2009 “One Line At a Time,” which features 24 geometric machine-quilting designs made easy.
Are you impressed yet?
A trip to Grand Junction is on Anderson’s schedule this week, where she’ll be lecturing and teaching Wednesday through Friday.
Her reputation quickly filled a daylong class with eager participants. Because of the demand, she has agreed to repeat that class on her machine quilting methods for a second day.
Lectures at two quilt guilds also are on her schedule Wednesday, and she‘ll have plenty of quilts so her audiences can get a close-up look at her work.
At the morning meeting of Sunset Slope Quilters, Andersen will present “It’s Got the Look,” in which she’ll show how fabrics are used to enhance a quilter’s subject matter — traditional, contemporary or pictorial. Her aim is to give quilters new approaches and attitudes toward purchasing fabric.
“Stitching the Human Form” will be Andersen’s topic at the evening meeting of Colorado West Quilters’ Guild. This is a look at how humanity has been portrayed in the fiber medium, exploring representative and abstract work through the methods, manipulations and manifestations of fabric and thread as paint.
Andersen’s one-of-kind pictorial quilts can require hours of work with meticulous hand applique. She first creates her designs independently in layers, then attaches these forms to the quilt background. She‘s been perfecting her techniques since 1983.
For fabric piecing, Andersen has developed a set-in corner method that eliminates unnecessary seams and makes the process smoother and more flexible.
She says her style and techniques are always evolving, often in the interest of time.
“I am using fusible thread and other fusibles more lately as I seem to be under the gun to get things done,” Andersen says. “But I still love handwork the best.”
The future of quilting hinges on the generations who follow us, so Andersen is encouraged by the enthusiasm of today’s 20- and 30-year-olds who have rediscovered clothing construction and are making it popular again.
“I think sewing can become a bridge into quilting, and sewing may help bring younger people into the craft,” she says.
Andersen herself has taken garment sewing into the quilting realm with her wearable art pieces, a direction that both novices and experienced seamstresses may follow.
Whatever path they choose, we can be grateful to Andersen for blazing the trail.
She’s a quilter who demonstrates a wide range of accomplishments and intellectual interests.
That’s why she’s my nominee for “most interesting woman” in the quilting world.
E-mail Sherida.Warner @gjsentinel.com.