A Voyage of Discovery

Artist Profile — Connie Rohman

Today we meet award-winning fiber artist Connie Rohman, and we travel through the lines of her art quilts and of her life. Connie says her work “is influenced by the landscape of her childhood, both interior and exterior.”

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Born in a tiny community in the Kootenay Lake Valley in southern British Columbia, Canada, Connie says, “I grew up in an incredibly beautiful part of the world at the foothills to the Rockies. I spent lots of time outdoors and was influenced by the blues and greens around me.

Everybody has a story and I have interior, family memories that also influenced other colors in my work. That’s the fun thing about doing art. It’s a way of expressing that truth inside you as well as outside; really getting at the essence of things.”

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Connie learned to sew at a young age from her mom, and watched her Grandma quilt. She studied linguistics in school and has no formal art training.

Her interest in textiles remained under the surface until many years later when she volunteered to quilt for her kids’ nursery school fundraiser. She’s been a full-time fiber artist and art curator for the past ten years.

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Living in Los Angeles for the past twenty years, knowing many artists and curating art shows, Connie now is inspired by the warm colors of local Latina artists like Patssi Valdez, Margaret Garcia, Frank Romero, Kiki Eder and Raoul de la Sota.

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She says, “I love color; color is where I start from. So mash up the influence of the blues and greens of the lake valley, her family story and later the warm L.A. colors, and you get Connie’s color palette.

Back to the linguistics training. Besides cloth and color, Connie has a lifelong passionate interest in language—in words and their meanings—and even in code. This is where I want you to take a closer look at Connie’s quilts featured here, from her Line/Language Series.

Do you see it? Can you crack the code?

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Ninety-nine percent of the time, people don’t realize it unless it is pointed out,” says Connie. I wanted it to be that way. Most people say, ‘Wow that is a colorful, abstract quilt.’

“Each quilt stands on its own as an abstract, but with careful attention, the hidden message becomes apparent. The quilt’s blocks are stylized letters that intersect with the lines in other blocks to form an abstract pattern. My stylized letter/blocks stay the same throughout this series, so once you have ‘read’ one of my quilts; you will recognize the letters in others.”

Read her “Proustian Memory” quilt. It’s one of Connie’s favorite quotes from Marcel Proust:

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“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Connie’s advice for other artists? “Follow your own voice. Find out what that is…go to where you feel pulled to go. Pay attention to nature, pay attention to other work. Pay attention and keep doing that. There is some universal truth about real individualized, true and authentic details.”

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Quilt messages key:

  1. “In all things of Nature there is something of the marvelous. Aristotle.”
  2. “Be Present”
  3. “If Not Now, When?”
  4. “Si se peude:” Spanish for “Yes we can” and the motto of the United Farm Workers. Hmmm, someone else’s motto now too.
  5. “The Truth Matters”
  6. “Proustian Memory,” with Proust’s quoute.
  7. “Carpe Diem,” Latin for “Seize the Day.”

Some of these quilts are for sale. You can view more of Connie’s work at her website, www.connierohman.com. You’ll read details there about the meanings behind the messages in the quilts, and about hidden, secondary messages stitched into the quilting of a couple of the quilts. And Connie now offers custom message quilts with a per-letter charge so you can create a coded artwork for someone you love.

How do you feel about Connie’s work? Did you see the “messages” at first? Which message most spoke to you?

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3 Comments for “A Voyage of Discovery”

Such beautiful quilts. I’ve been a Connie Rohman fan for a long time, having featured one of her quilts in our book “Fabric Art Gallery”. I don’t think there is another quilt artist who combines calligraphy and quilting the way Connie does. She’s a real artist and real original.
Nancy Javier
Banar Designs

Nancy, That sounds like a cool book; I’ll have to check it out. And I agree with you about Connie’s work. I love the mixture of art and meaning in her quilts.

Thanks for stopping by!
Kathy

[…] truth is for me, they never went out. Quilt designs are a comforting link with our past, and today’s quilt artists are incredible. (If you ever get the chance — drop in on one of the large quilt shows like […]

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