Every Picture Quilt Tells a Story

Mixed-media fiber artist Lesley Riley has been telling stories with photo quilts for many years.

But recently I discovered her love of old photos and inspirational quotations began well before her art career, making picture quilts with image transfer techniques and digital imagery.

Here, in her own words, she describes how she discovered the inspiration that has made her artwork so well-loved around the world, and that has gone on to inspire others:

fabric book riley image transfer techniques
Vintage Lesley Riley! A fabric book filled with quotes and photos, using image transfer techniques.

“If you could see your memory and meaning brain synapses fire when you look at old family photos and/or read an inspiring quote, you would know why they both inspire us so deeply. I know that both drive me to create, to put into some visual form what words alone cannot express.

“A favorite childhood pastime was poring over old family photos. Later, I started collecting ‘adopted’ relatives without even knowing why. I felt compelled to know their story, to somehow interpret the look in their eyes. It was the same with quotes. At 13, I somehow knew that these bite-size words of wisdom and insight were of extreme importance.

“Eventually my love and fascination with these photos and quotes led me to use fabric and thread as a means to complete the stories I thought the people in my photos wanted to share. My art led me to explore and even invent ways to get photos and words onto fabric. From those early ‘Fragments’ came books, videos, techniques, teaching and more, leading me to a dream occupassion (that’s my word for a job doing what you love).

“As that great innovator Steve Jobs said, ‘Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.'”

You can learn how to make a quilt with pictures with Lesley’s techniques when you order your copy of Modern Memory Quilts: Tell Stories in Fabric with Image Transfers, Crazy Quilting, and More DVD. Start telling stories with your photos and fiber art now!

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