Kiersten Heitmann is part of a long lineage of female textile artists, including the women in her own family. While the techniques she employs in her quilted pieces draw from tradition, the movement and composition of her art is thoroughly contemporary. She is inspired by the motion of water, and the visual stories present within each ripple and wave.
Heitmann’s interesting patterns and bold colors create lots of movement, more so than a lot of quilts do. She is inspired by the water that surrounds her. “That’s why you see so much movement. Everywhere I am is water,” she said, explaining that she spends seven months in Naples and five months in the Hudson Valley in New York on a little lake with swans and bald eagles.
The fabrics she uses also give her work movement and a shimmer. She uses only silk and satin. They slide around when she is sewing them so the fabric has its own movement.
Vintage shops and online auctions are her sources of fabrics as well, where she can find fabrics from all over the world. “My daughter-in-law is from India and I get a lot of saris from her family too, all silk and beautiful satin and embroidered gold threads, just fabulous,” she said. “I’m a gardener, too, so I get a lot of inspiration from flowers and my garden.”
All her fabrics are topstitched by her once the piece is all put together. She does what’s called free motion quilting using twirls, wave stitching or floral stitching. They all add texture and dimension. Whenever she can find recycled glass and stone beads she loves to put them in because they add to the story and add shimmer and sparkle.