Pooling rains quilt by Briana Taylor
I’ve never really been one for quilts namely because the ones I typically saw were in my grandparents’ home and always looked so … old-fashioned. They’re comfy, yes. But a little too grandmotherly for my taste.
But enter Briana Taylor and her brilliant and nature-inspired lively style and creates artistic quilts, fabric bowls, pot holders, and more and I think I’ve changed my mind about quilts forever. Today, she’s sharing a bit about herself and what she enjoys about nature.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from Western Massachusetts and have been a New England girl my whole life. Since I was very little, art and art making has been a predominant endeavor. I finally went to art school at 27 years old and studied painting. I think being an older student helped me have a more grounded idea about what I wanted to do with my art and abilities. Anyone can go to art school, it’s just that they really don’t tell you how to “make it” as an artist after you leave … there’s no real road map, like being a lawyer or a dentist. You get out and look around and think “now what?” You can’t just hole up in your studio making art and hope that people find you.
I became interested in making quilts in an organic way. I’d been working hard to develop my painting and establish a way to exhibit and sell my work, at the same time I spent periods of time working full time jobs. I’ve always been interested in sewing and started making some quilts and selling them from my painting studio during Open Studio events … then I found Etsy. I was making mostly small stuff, like pot holders and coasters and found that I could make some extra money that way. Whenever I listed a quilt it would usually sell right away, so I knew there was something to this and that I could eventually quit my day job and work at sewing and painting and hopefully support myself. And that’s what I’ve done!
Who are some artists you admire?
Mark Tobey, Helen Frankenthaler, Louise Bourgeois, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, to name a few.
Who are some people that have inspired you to pursue art/quilt making?
My mother, she passed away in 2009 … she was probably my biggest fan.
Of the quilts you’ve created, which is your favorite?
The one that I gave to my boyfriend for his birthday two years ago. It is a really complicated gradation quilt made from many tiny scraps of fabric. It took a gazillion hours to make, but it was so worth it. I’ve since tried to make others in this way, but that one just turned out the best.
What are some things you enjoy about nature?
Let me count the ways :) It’s quiet, provides a peaceful atmosphere in which to rejuvenate and recharge the spirit. Most of the moments I want to remember in my life have happened in some outdoor place. There are so many fantastic places to explore and discover, and I’ve even started to learn to like the cold New England winter by immersing myself in it through cross country skiing, snow shoeing and I’m just beginning to learn to downhill ski! We’ll see how that goes. And it is also an endless source of inspiration for art.