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Paying it Forward: Dreaming Quilts Series, Astrid Hilger Bennett

“Paying it Forward: Dreaming Quilt Series” is a solo show of 8 full sized quilts in the Pumphrey Family Gallery at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska, September 29 – December 18, 2021. 100% of the proceeds of sales of these works will benefit cultural institutions, nonprofits and scholarship programs, Bennett’s way of “Paying it Forward” for a lifetime of opportunity, mentorship and inspiration.

The global Pandemic starting in 2020 created enormous challenges for individuals, small businesses, social service agencies and our cherished cultural institutions and nonprofits. In July 2020, needing color, Bennett embarked on the Dreaming Quilts Project, using 30 years of her own fabrics hand painted, dyed, and printed over years of an award-winning career. The resulting fifteen one-of-a-kind, full sized functional quilts can be hung on walls or used for bedding. Representing a personal art history, she let the designs evolve as they wanted to. Color and stitching contributed to a practice of solace and healing. Each quilt is unique. She also uses her own fabrics for the backing. The project was completed in early 2021 and would not have been possible without the services of Sarah Yoder Parker, Bee Quilted, an Iowa City-based longarm quilter, to help expedite the execution of this series.

Joyousness has been missing during the Pandemic, but it can arise out of these times. Artists have been relying on resourcefulness. No material purchases other than quilt batting were made for these quilts. All of the fabrics used have been created by the artist and are donated to this project. She also explains, “for sustainability reasons, I also now want my artwork to be dual purpose: functional for both spirit and body. ”

Almost all of the fabrics used start out white, altered in some way using fiber reactive dyes and textile inks for immersion dyeing, screen printing, hand painting, shibori, monoprinting or any combination of the above. They were created over a period of 30 years; many were parts of fabrics used for other pieces that have long since sold or been exhibited. Piecing and quilting is done by machine.

About the Artist
“I create visually abstract wall art using only fabrics that I paint or print myself. I’m happiest with a brush in my hand, and textile art allows me a large-scale, exuberant canvas. Originally trained as a printmaker, my heritage includes German Expressionism. I find the scale of American Abstract Expressionist paintings thrilling. Music continues to play an outsized role in the use of color and pattern in my work. ”

Astrid Hilger Bennett trained as a printmaker and has been a mixed media artist focusing on fiber her entire life, exhibiting internationally. She has taught individual and group workshops, as well as at the University of Iowa and Penland School of Crafts. She has occasionally written articles for major craft publications such as American Craft, Ceramics Monthly, Fiberarts and Surface Design Journal. An artist networker, she was a co-owner of Iowa Artisans Gallery, and is currently President of the Surface Design Association, an international organization of artists working in contemporary textiles, fiber, art and design.


Date(s): 09/29/2021 to 12/18/2021

Cost: museum admission cost




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International Quilt Museum
Lincoln, Nebraska United States