McQuaid's Art Quilts and Books

 lofty quilts and high art


Salli McQuaid

The need to create art is an integral part of my being; it pervades every aspect of my life. Although I have worked in most media, there is a constant facet of my art that involves fabric and and/or threads. In 2006 I discovered art quilts. The genre offered a rare technical challenge, and the materials were inspirational. Finished work contained a depth and warmth seldom achieved with other materials. The genre also offered the opportunity to gracefully work beyond the traditional “square” canvas.

In quilt art, I could express serious, political, humorous, rebellious, and cathartic issues. Design, balance, color, and texture were of primary importance, and detail offered supportive metaphors. After the initial graphic impact, I wanted viewers to make discoveries. This would extend the “life” of the composition.

The work is machine-embellished with threads from a collection that dates back to the 1950’s. Machine thread work is hand driven. Machine computer embroideries are original or computer-manipulated. Throughout this process I stretch traditional blocks and techniques, re-defining them to achieve a smooth and complete composition. Digitally-manipulated and free-form quilting (thread painting) is rendered spontaneously with a 12-foot combination hand-driven and computerized machine.

Besides standard threads, sparkling specialty threads provide extra visual movement. Delicate holographic and sliver threads achieve a sensitive quality. Tiny metallic braids, crystals, paint, digital photos, and/or other mixed media materials further express the themes. Although each theme contains realistic elements, the elements are unrealistic in proportion and shape. Yet they are combined smoothly and balanced well so that they portray an impossible reality, offering the viewer flights of imagination — hopefully, a transcendental experience. 

Artists who have influenced my work include Josef Albers, Marc Chagall, Richard Diebenkorn, John Hunter, Hiroshige, Hokusai, Sara Moe, Ricky Tims, Hollis Chatelain, and Caryl Bryer Fallert.

One Sees and feels the incredible thought process that gives meaning and life to the work.
The use of material, design, color, and attention to detail leaves the viewer thinking,
"How does one go about starting, let alone finishing, a work so visually complicated."

-- Andy Sankowski, Director

          ​Mossrock Fine Art Gallery


“Text Messages,” Studio Art Quilt Associates, Houston
American Quilter's Society Show & Contest, Phoenix, AZ (two pieces)
"I'm Not Crazy" SAQA, Mancusi quilt festivals, 2012-13: Sue Reno, Juror. 
American Quilter's Society Show & Contest, Grand Rapids, MI
American Quilter's Show & Contest, Paducah, KY
“West Coast Wonders,” Long Beach International Quilt Festival, Long Beach, CA (traveling)
"A Sense of Adventure" SAQA, International Quilt Festival, Houston, TX (traveling), Dr. Jacqueline M. Atkins, Juror.

Guild Group Competition,”American Quilter's Society Exposition, Knoxville, TN
"West Coast Wonders III,” Long Beach, CA, Houston; TX, Chicago, IL
"Creative Force" SAQA, 17 venues, Chunghe Lee, Juror.
“A Sense of Humor,” SAQA, IQF Houston, Chicago, Long Beach, CA, Pam Rubert, Juror
 “West Coast Wonders II,” Long Beach, Houston, Chicago, USA, juried.
"A Sense of Time,” SAQA, Namita Gupta Wiggens, juror.
Dig-it-al Quilts (SAQA-Texas): A Photoseptembre USA Exhibit, Fiber Artspace, San Antonio, TX, Laurie Brainerd, Juror.
“Local Artists Featured,” City of Springfield City Hall Community Art Show, Springfield, OR

2014: “Hand Dyed Challenge,” Visions Art Museum, San Diego, CA
2008: Annual Chama Outdoor Quilt Festival, Chama, NM
1977: “Six Senses 2,” Sun Gallery, Hayward, CA, 1977 (reviewed)
1976: “Six Senses,” Sunnyvale Community Art Center, Sunnyvale, CA
1976-77: “Lilith” women's performance art group, San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Contemporary | Art | Quilts


Selected Resume 

"Out of My Inner Mind: Manipulation of the Thread," Mossrock Fine Art Gallery, The Woodlands (Houston) TX
"Absurd Disparate  Directions,"  Mossrock Fine Art Gallery, The Woodlands (Houston), TX
"Eclectic Illusions,” Mossrock Fine Art Gallery, The Woodlands, TX
“Healing Dragons,” Healing Bookstore and Gallery, Los Altos, CA
“Oregon Triangles Sewn Into Plastic,” Collier House, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
“Contradictions: Wearable Art Adorns Abstract Sculpture,” Greenleaf Gallery, Los Gatos, CA
"I Looked into Narcissis and Discovered a Mirror," San Jose State University Art Department
“Turkeys See Strange Clouds,” Gallery II, San Jose State University Art Department, San Jose, CA
 “Tie-dyes to Dye for,” New College, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA


Mossrock Fine Art Gallery, The Woodlands, TX, solo 
Mossrock Fine Art Gallery, The Woodlands (Houston), TX, solo
San Jose State University Art Department Alumni Invitational, San Jose, CA
More Masks,” Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA
“In Oregon the Rain is Gray, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.
“Expressions,” City of Springfield City Hall, Springfield, OR (solo)
Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA
Union Gallery, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

Artist statement