Painting with Fabric: The Art Quilts of Sheree Rasmussen

10 January 2024

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A former weaver, award-winning landscape designer, and ever-evolving artist, Sheree Rasmussen started working with fabric collage over fifteen years ago. Today, Sheree creates bold, energetic wall hangings that are like abstract art gardens. Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Sheree now lives in Northumberland County near the artists’ community of Warkworth where she continues to draw inspiration from her natural surroundings.

I spoke with Sheree from her studio gallery.

Michale Raske: There are so many different pieces of fabric in your work. Can you walk us through your process?

Sheree Rasmussen: Sure. I don’t like planning; it’s not my nature, and there’s no technique really. I didn’t study it as a craft; it’s the opposite of the very technical, very mathematical process when I was a weaver and is very freeing. I have pounds and pounds of fabric that I’ve collected over the years, and that’s been given to me, but I don’t know what I’m going to use until I begin working on a piece.

I start on the floor, cutting and pinning fabric, building up layers, looking at it. I enjoy making large-scale works that are six feet by nine or ten feet [1.8 by 2.7–3 metres], so they don’t fit on a table. Once I’ve pinned the basics, I sew crazy zigzagging all around. Then I hang it up, horizontally, pin some more, sew some more. I think of it as a similar process to an abstract painter; it’s about throwing paint on canvas, like Jackson Pollock, but fabric is the medium I like to work in. I’ve been a dancer all my life, so I improvise with movement and pace, too.

I don’t really want a boundary within which I have to work—part of my process is to be free to go outside the lines as much as I want—so at the end, I do have to figure out how to contain the piece. I always put some kind of backing on it and hand stitch the edges.

image description: a white woman with short curly grey hair, and glasses on top of her head stands in front of a patchwork fabric wall hanging; the woman is holding up a small piece of fabric

Sheree at work in her studio.

All photos courtesy Sheree Rasmussen.

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The articles, tutorials and patterns we publish about Canadian fibre and textile arts, crafts and industry are made possible by our members.

Copyright © Michale Raske except as indicated.

About Michale Raske

Michale Raske learned how to crochet from her talented Romanian grandmother at the age of ten. Forty-five years later she picked up knitting needles and revived her passion for all things craft and fibre. A veteran of the film and television industry, Michale now takes time away from her many WIPs to focus on writing and editing.

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