Frieda Anderson – I am a Quilter

Frieda AndersonWhen people ask Frieda Anderson what she does, her modest reply is, “I am a quilter.” Which, actually, is quite an understatement.

Frieda Anderson is a celebrated American art quilter whose award-winning quilts have been exhibited at museums, art galleries and the most prestigious quilt shows in the world. She has written many books and dozens of magazine articles and is a frequent guest on sewing and quilting television shows. Frieda makes her living as a quilter, and travels the world, teaching her innovative art quilt techniques at guilds and expos.

Frieda is one of those people who doesn’t pay much attention to the established rules of the game. She clearly marches to her own drummer, and along the way, has inspired an army of art quilters to do the same. To march to their own beat . . . .

Seaside Village

Seaside Village

“From as far back as I can remember I have always made things. My father was a railroad executive, and when I was growing up, we moved often. When we got to a new city, my mom would put me into some kind of class. I liked to be in art classes, girl scouts, 4-H, while my sister chose tennis classes, golf lessons or playing softball. So, even though my mother did NOT sew, she is responsible for encouraging me to be creative.

My maternal grandmother was a gorgeous seamstress and maybe I inherited the love of making from her. There was a black Singer sewing machine in our house and I started using it very early. I loved making clothes for my Troll dolls! But when I got to high school Home Ec and had to make an apron (something I had done when I was 10) I said I’m out of here. I went to the art department, and never looked back.

Under the Sea

I made my first ‘quilt’ when I was in high school. I remember very clearly tracing around a cardboard square and cutting out squares from left over dress fabrics. I pieced that quilt on that old black Singer and my grandmother and I tied it with yarn.”

Frieda went to college in Vermont. As a student, she went to a job interview, and the interviewer asked what she planned to do when she graduated. Frieda’s answer was, “I want to be a quilter.” Looking back at that statement, she’s sure that guy thought she was nuts, but, as it turns out, she was predicting her own future.

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Quilting on the Next Level: Example Quilt Exhibits, OSQE

Rhapsody by Sana Moulder, Tarheel Quilter's Guild OSQE Local Quilt Artist Spotlight, Raleigh NC, July 2018

Rhapsody by Sana Moulder, Tarheel Quilter’s Guild
OSQE Local Quilt Artist Spotlight, Raleigh NC, July 2018

The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo hangs dozens of quilt exhibits every year, but they don’t do contests. Rather, they gather curated exhibits and they are usually working two years out. According to Marlene Ingraham, founder of OSQE, “The quilt exhibits are the heart of our shows. At every venue, we are creating a once-in-a-lifetime art experience for our attendees, so we choose our quilt exhibits very thoughtfully. Once a curated exhibit is chosen, it will travel to our various show locations. Most of our shows also feature a ‘Local Quilt Artists Spotlight’. We take the responsibility of handling these quilt exhibits very seriously. Of course we carry special insurance, and the quilts are stored in our climate-controlled warehouse, and transported by our own drivers, in our own trucks. The quilts on display at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expos will travel all over America and be seen by 60,000 fans.’’

Red Fox, Blue Fox SAQA: Wild Fabrications Kate Themel

Red Fox, Blue Fox
SAQA: Wild Fabrications
Kate Themel

Some examples of recent exhibits hung at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expos:

Wild Fabrications celebrates a world of animals, both real and fantastical. Selected artists let their imagination run wild and created interesting and unusual interpretations of animals using unexpected or unconventional materials and adornment, and/or unusual techniques.

Winter Games Quilt Challenge – Wisconsin Quilt Expo
A collection of quilts that capture the spirit of the 2018 Winter Olympics! From quilts depicting snowy evenings to quilts showcasing winter sports, each entry is different, but each represents the excitement of the Winter Games.

Childhood Games, Red & White Quilting Pieced by Linda Pumphrey Quilted by Karen Kielmeyer

Childhood Games, Red & White Quilting
Pieced by Linda Pumphrey
Quilted by Karen Kielmeyer

Red & White Quilting: An Iconic Tradition in 40 Blocks – Linda Pumphrey
Classic yet contemporary, red and white is one of the most iconic color combinations in quilting, inspiring designers, collectors, and major exhibits. The vibrant contrast of red and white quilts has enticed quilters for three centuries and been a staple since the mid-nineteenth century.

Best of North Texas Quilt
Stunning, handpicked quilts from the North Texas Quilt Festival, selected from over 350 contest quilts created by members of six North Texas guilds. Within this diverse exhibit, you will find quilts with many forms of inspiration and quilters’ level of expertise.

Southern Quilts – Mary Kerr
The South has a rich quilting history, steeped in tradition and passed down through the generations. Enjoy these uniquely Southern patterns and styles.

Why should you think about entering your quilt into a contest or a special exhibit? Deanna Springer says, “As makers, we have a strong desire to make. Quilters love a challenge to showcase their talent and creative side.”

Marlene Ingraham has worked with thousands of quilters and she has watched them come to her shows, stand by their quilt, eager to hear the comments from the attendees. “I think people enter their quilts because they are proud of their work. And having their quilt hung is a badge of honor. It’s a validation of their talent.”

Unfurling by Frieda Anderson
First Place Innovative Pieced,
2017 International Quilt Festival, A World of Beauty
Frieda Anderson has made many prize-winning quilts. She started to enter her quilts into competitions because she wanted to travel and teach. She hoped showing her quilts would get her name out there. Her strategy worked. Her first big win came in 1990 when her fused art quilt, “June Jubilee” received an honorable mention at the Paducah AQS show. Frieda is established as a respected quilt artist who makes a living traveling all over the world, teaching her innovative quilt techniques.


Quilting on the Next Level: Enter a Quilt Show

Quilting on the Next Level: How Do You Start?

Quilting on the Next Level: What are the Judges Looking For?

Quilting on the Next Level: Example Quilt Exhibits, OSQE

Design Stars – Frieda Anderson

Design Stars

From left to right: Scott Wernet, Frieda Anderson, Angela Wolf, Reen Wilcoxson, Rita Farro, Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Rhonda Pierce, Rolando Bohlemann, Pete Janss

From left to right: Scott Wernet, Frieda Anderson, Angela Wolf, Reen Wilcoxson, Rita Farro, Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Rhonda Pierce, Rolando Bohlemann, Pete Janss

Early this year, we had visitors from the Industrial Division of SCHMETZ Germany. To help SCHMETZ executives better understand the consumer market, many activities were arranged. Yes, we had traditional meetings and visited retail shops, but we also toured Modern Quilt Studio with Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr and ended the week with a star studded designer showcase with five designers from the Chicago area. Each designer presented their special niche in the marketplace. The result was aptly described by SCHMETZ as “astonishing!” The day was laced with energy, talent, savvy and a passion for creativity. These five business women demonstrated grit, talent, creativity and strategic work. With hard work, that never goes out of style, they make awesome contributions to the sewing industry that we love. Meet, or re-meet, because several ladies have already been featured in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW: Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Reen Wilcoxson, Frieda Anderson and Angela Wolf. Five shining stars that make sewing even more fun!

Frieda Anderson

Frieda Anderson is a self-employed quilt artist, who has earned just about every accolade and award the great big colorful world of quilting has to offer. ( Even though she has a degree in art history and an associate degree in fashion design, by 1992, she realized all she wanted to do was make quilts — and that’s been her focus ever since. Her one-of-a-kind art quilts are usually machine quilted and often inspired by nature. She hand dyes her own cotton, silk and linen fabrics, creating an intensity of color and texture which make her quilts unique and recognizable. Her quilts have been exhibited and won awards at the biggest quilt shows in the world.

Frieda designs her own art quilt patterns, and has written several books on the subject:

  • Art Quilter: Fusible Collage, Laura Wasilowski & Frieda Anderson with Nancy Zieman
  • Fabric to Dye For, C&T Publishing
  • Fun Fast Fusies, American Quilter’s Society
  • Frieda’s Fun Fast Free Motion Machine Quilting, Self-published

Frieda also teaches Craftsy classes, and sometimes vends at international shows selling her hand dyed fabrics and quilt patterns. Because she is one of the most popular speakers on the quilt guild/show/ event circuit, she travels extensively, teaching her techniques to quilters all over the world. She may be coming to a venue near you. Here’s her busy 2018 April schedule:

  • April 4-7 Original Sewing and Quilting Expo, Cleveland OH
  • April 10 – Heritage Quilt Guild, Lockport IL
  • April 12-14 International Quilt Festival, Chicago IL
  • April 24-28 American Quilt Society, Paducah KY

If you’d like to have Frieda visit and teach at your guild, contact her at: