Denise Labadie – Meet the Artist

Denise Labadie’s art quilts feature either Celtic megalithic stones and monoliths – think Stonehenge – or monastic ruins and passageways.  They are known for their moodiness, emotion and surprisingly true-to-life realism. Each piece is created using appliqué and strip piecing and Denise’s unique hand-painted fabrics. Denise has won multiple awards at Quilt National (USA), and she’s had major exhibitions in the US and worldwide.

Join Denise as she shares her work inspired by her love of Ireland.

Denise Labadie: https://labadiefiberart.com/

Quilt by Denise Labadie
Quilt by Denise Labadie
Quilt by Denise Labadie
Quilt by Denise Labadie

Denise Labadie

“I use a wide variety of colours, fabrics, threads, and yarns in my work, and then construct the actual quilt the same way as a stone mason builds a wall – individually sizing and cutting out, piecing, and appliquéing each stone, one by one, working from the bottom up – each stone a foundation for the others that it supports or neighbours. In contrast to the realism of the stones, my skies and landscapes – which are central to the context of place and the timelessness of these sacred sites – are far more abstract. I hand paint almost all my fabric (from which – as described above – I then individually cut out each stone).

The realistic colour and texture of my stones is achieved by using multiple layers of sun-reactive transparent Seta color paints, plus various resists, in combination with (while wet) the aggressive folding, twisting, wrapping, bunching or pleating of the fabric, and (while drying) the application of sand, different types of salt crystals, sugar, dirt, and the like – basically, doing or using most anything that can influence or cause differential paint absorption, diffusion, blending, patterning, or mottling. Resulting fabrics can be remarkable.

I then use selective combinations of multiple appliqué techniques (reverse, turned edge, and raw edge), insetting, free-form strip piecing, couching, and “thread shadowing” (similar to thread painting) – plus an occasional very localised dab of paint – to achieve my trademark quilt top textures, lighting, depth of field, and shadowing and perspective. Throughout, full attention is given to proper craftsmanship, “sweating the details”, and technique precision.“ – Denise Labadie.

Quilt by Denise Labadie
Quilt by Denise Labadie

Filmed at the Festival of Quilts 2023.

For a more inspiration, please browse the ‘Meet the Artist’ collection on my YouTube Channel.

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