Interview with Kathy York

22 Nov 2010

Kathy York’s quilt, "Fifty and Female and Fearless", graced the cover of Quilting Arts for the October/ November 2010 issue.  At Quilt Festival a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Kathy, and I learned that she is not only a talented art quilter but also a fabric designer! I took a look at Kathy’s line, Urban Landscapes, and immediately fell in love with the bright and bold patterns. Read on to find out what Kathy has to say about her fabric line. You can also find out more about Kathy by visitng her blog


How did you get involved with creating your own fabric line?

I had an idea but couldn't find a fabric that would work. So I started playing with surface design techniques and was able to make the piece that I wanted. Eventually I took a batik and shibori class from Malka Dubrowsky. It was fun learning about batik, so much so that I immediately reorganized my garage to set up my own batik wax pot. I was batiking during the week and taking class on the weekend. The batik process gave me a way to experiment with fabric design and have real fabric to play with afterwards. It is also a bit limiting in terms of what you can do, so I really wanted to expand to screening techniques for my designs, which is where commercial production of designs really excels.

As an art quilter was there anything specific that you really wanted to show in your fabric?

Not really. Most of my art quilts are just an expression of something happening in my life, and as the weather changes, so do my ideas for new quilts. The textile designing is different though. It takes almost a full year for a new line to be produced and printed. There is a lot of work behind the scenes and a lot of work to help market the new line. I loved it all, but found it very different from the process that I use to make art quilts. My hope and desire is that my fabric will inspire quilters to create!

I love the colors and shapes that you used in your line, what inspired you to go so bold?

I see the world in color. In nature I love the quiet colors, but my eye is always attracted to the brightest flower or the most colorful bird for example. In my house, I use neutrals for the walls to give the bright colors in my quilts a place to really sing. I love looking for interesting shapes as I go through life. And as my life gets busy, and overwhelmed with clutter, I find that I am attracted to simplicity, simple shapes, and simple lines. You may find it surprising that such a bold collection is actually calming to me! Lol!

How did you go about designing your fabric line?

I happened upon some found objects that were interesting to me. I used them to create some original designs in fabric by using batik, hand dyeing, bleach discharge and overdyeing. I am not a purist when it comes to batik, I will use whatever combinations of techniques to achieve a given end product, including dye painting. Many of the design motifs of my first line were inspired by the fabrics I produced from these found objects and used them in my art quilts. My next line is very different, mostly because I have a different design inspiration.

If you could impart one piece of advice in regards to art, what would it be?

Be prolific and be fearless! If it doesn't look good, it just means you aren't finished yet!


Thank you Kathy!

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coollabtech1 wrote
on 22 Nov 2010 4:59 PM

I like the advice...

on 27 Nov 2010 6:43 PM

You are absolutely right about being fearless Kathy.  Yea for you.  I love your work.

Frances Holliday Alford