The Influence of Irene Roderick

We’ve long been fans of the work of Irene Roderick. Her quilts have been featured in Curated Quilts multiple times, and Christine Ricks, our co-founder and Creative Director of Curated Quilts, purchased Roderick’s quilt “She’s Lost Control Again” that hung at QuiltCon 2020 in Austin. 

She’s Lost Control Again - Irene Roderick

We couldn’t help but notice the influence Irene has had on the quilt community within the past couple of years, especially through the virtual workshops she’s conducted during the pandemic. Irene says about the quilts her students made and were accepted into QuiltCon Together, “I was bursting with pride the day that QuiltCon notices went out and I started getting emails or seeing Instagram posts from students that their quilts from my workshop had gotten into QuiltCon. Several of the makers had never entered a quilt into the exhibition and I had encouraged them to do so. I’ve been working alone here in Austin, teaching online, not realizing that I was having an impact.” We wanted to share with you Irene’s quilt as well as the quilts some of her students (begun while attending one of her virtual workshops) that hung at QuiltCon Together. 

Empty Speech Bubbles by Irene Roderick @hixonir

Empty Speech Bubbles by Irene Roderick @hixonir

"Empty Speech Bubbles" is an improv quilt designed in a fluid and intuitive process that Roderick calls "Dancing With the Wall." She starts in the center of her design wall with a single element and builds out to the edges of the quilt until she feels the design is done. Roderick says, “This quilt reflects the abundance of false information and empty news so prevalent in our daily media as we lead up to the Presidential election and make our way through the Covid Pandemic.” 

We love the movement of this quilt. It has the effect of making the space within the ‘empty speech bubbles’ seem to be growing. The quilt conveys that even when a lot is said it can be superficial and meaningless. This quilt is currently for sale.

Confetti Machine by Caroline Oneto @caroline_oneta

Confetti Machine by Caroline Oneto @caroline_oneta

In this response to the pandemic, Oneto wanted to create a quilt that conveyed the need for joy, games, color, and happiness, even in a difficult time. She used a posca pen to paint the confetti and the flower stem. This whimsical quilt is perfectly named. At one time or another, we all need a confetti machine in our lives to help brighten dreary days.  

Broken Clock by Annie H. Hudnut @anniehudnut

Broken Clock by Annie H. Hudnut

This quilt was inspired by Steampunk elements. While making it, Hudnut ran out of Kona Pepper fabric. Due to Covid19 shortages she had to fill in with Kona Black fabric. The result of using the two different black fabrics adds extra dimension to the quilt. It is a perfect example of how making-do often creates unexpected and delightful results.  

French Men Can Dance by Tania Tanti @colourcodedreams

French Men Can Dance by Tania Tanti @colourcodedreams

Inspired by "Mr. Bojangle's," Tanti decided she wanted to make her own dancing man. The negative space in this quilt certainly does make it dance. There is a musical, staccato feeling that emits from this quilt. Tanti describes Roderick’s process as being like a massive jigsaw puzzle that needs to be put together. This quilt is currently for sale. 

One Week in June Over Zoom by Natalie Skinner @natalieskinnerquilts

One Week in June Over Zoom by Natalie Skinner@natalieskinnerquilts

One of the things Skinner learned from Roderick during the virtual workshop she took was to make each design decision as it presented itself, and no sooner. This helped Skinner block out noise and ‘listen to the quilt’ guiding her to what needed to be done next rather than falling into preconceived ideas as she designed it. She says, “Irene’s process is very unique; improv in its purest form.” Her virtual experience helped her see how amazing the community of quilters is and allowed her to meet quilters from all over the world.

When we reached out to Irene regarding this article, she graciously shared with us one of her newest quilt designs in the same series asEmpty Speech Bubbles that is based on big sweeping curves.The quilt is calledThe Madonna of Willendorf.

The Madonna of Willendorf by Irene Roderick

The quilt got its name from the similarities it shares with the Venus of Willendorf sculpture that is estimated to have been created over 25,000 years ago. 

The Madonna of Willendorf

The relation the quilt has to the sculpture is subtle but distinct. We love the feminine curves and the wispy way they flow throughout the quilt. We feel grateful to have been able to feature Irene’s quilts in the journal in the past and hope to be able to do so in the future. Thank you Irene, for the beautiful contributions you have and undoubtedly will continue to make to the modern quilt world. 

Please visit us at our Instagram @curatedquilts to view the interviews we conducted with some of the incredible makers in our community over the week of QuiltCon. 

By Brittany Bowen Burton

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