SUGAR BOWL is one of a series of six painted quilts Therese May began in 1987 and finished in 1988, each one with a central image of a container and measuring eighty-four inches square. Another quilt form the series, BASKET, is in the collection of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado, while a third, APPLE COOKIE JAR, is in the collection of the Museum of Arts & Design, New York. This quilt is particularly charming and complex and includes many of Therese's fanciful little creatures.
“My name gives me permission,” laughs Therese May, whose artistic credo might indeed be summed up as, “Therese may.” May says she has always thought of herself as an artist. “I was always interested in art as a child. My grandmother had a great influence on me, and I learned many skills from her just by watching her work. Because of her I learned to love sewing and fabric.”
May’s art has evolved gradually over the years. “All during the 1970s,” she recalls, “I was keeping journals of writing and drawings which had to do with dreams and fantasies, humor, playfulness and childhood. I wanted to begin to express the feelings of intuition and freedom that were flooding through me.” These new images- of strange little animals, plants and other personal iconography- first emerged in acrylic paintings in the late 1970s, and then, in 1981, began to appear in her quilts. At the same time, May began to expand and develop her use of color and surface decoration.. First, thread color became an important part of her palette. “I left my threads hanging loose instead of cutting them off to allow a network of texture and color to build up.” Still not completely satisfied, she began to paint directly onto finished quilts with acrylic paint, “to add an element of risk to the creative process,” and, most recently, to embellish her surfaces heavily with a combination of paint, buttons and beads. A collector of buttons, salt and pepper shakers, and dolls, May adds: ”An embellished quilt has the feeling of a collection.”
—from The Art Quilt by Robert Shaw
View another quilt by Therese May
Detail of signature