Valerie Schadt 99, G03 pieces together
a quilt, she covers a lot of territory. Schadt goes
far beyond the boundaries of traditional quilting,
turning her creations into artistic self-explorations.
Her eclectic interests range from mythology and
medieval art to quantum physics and nature, and
she often mingles these themes in her unique quilts.
I mull over a lot of stuff in my life and
the quilts are a convenient place to dump it,
says Schadt, who holds a B.F.A. degree in surface
pattern design and an M.F.A. degree in fiber arts,
both from the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
the Master of Fine Arts Exhibition in the
Lowe Art Gallery last semester, Schadt displayed
nine quilts. Among them were The Pillars of October,
DecemberWinter Solstice, January Looks in
Both Directions, and The Pomegranate Descent.
Im really driven by the seasons,
she says, so the beginning layer of each quilts
fabricwhich makes the initial impactis
usually generated by a seasonal image. The
Pillars of October, for instance, features patchwork
of a creek, trees, and deer. The work also blends
in vinyl clouds, a plastic bonsai tree, and a red
kite on a string. In The Pomegranate Descent,
Schadt delves into the Greek myth of Persephone,
who was abducted by Pluto and taken to the underworld,
where she ate three pomegranate seeds that came
to symbolize the winter months. Schadt also likes
to sprinkle her quilts with quotations, origami
figures, holographic foils, polka dots, and assorted
coins. The coins are my pennies from heaven,
she says. Im trying to invoke prosperity.
arts professor Ann Clarke, who served as Schadts
M.F.A. advisor, marvels at the sophisticated, unusual
imagery and storytelling of Schadts quilts.
Her works have a great deal of curiosity,
metaphor, and mystery to them, Clarke says.
Each one is not a place to stopits
an invitation to study the quilt and search for
meaning. Thats where her work becomes really
Schadt, making the transition from being a self-taught,
traditional quilter with two decades of experience
into the realm of art was a challenge. She experimented
with new techniques and technology and, as Clarke
points out, was able to maintain her dual
citizenship as artist and artisan. She
can walk that line, Clarke says. Shes
a master craftswoman whose techniques are beyond
reproach. Shes able to let go of issues and
allow her ability to create images and tell stories
to come forward.
who teaches quilting classes at University College,
has shown works in both quilting and general art
exhibitions. No matter her direction on any particular
project, she maintains an intense desire to sew
and transform fibers and fabrics into visual statements.
I have a deep-seated connection with fiber,
but its taken me a lot of education to realize
why, she says. What can you do with
a piece of string? You can essentially conquer the
universe, but you need to know which techniques