Interview with Deborah Boschert

Deborah Boschert

  • I’m an artist. (Self-taught and always experimenting and learning.)
  • I think you can learn lots from looking at books, surfing the web, taking classes and chatting with other artsy types.
  • I believe everyone has a creative spirit and I love helping others explore that spirit.
  • Sometimes I make a big mess when I’m creating. Sometimes it takes days to clean up.
  • I have an amazingly supportive and wonderful husband. He uses his creative spirit to make up silly songs.
  • I have two super fantastic kids. Claire’s creative spirit results in endless curiosity about every little thing. Benjamin shows his artistic side with some funky dance moves.
  • Mmmmm, I love me some chocolate. Win me over with brownies and ice cream any day!
  • My favorite color combination is green and purple.
  • I’ve lived in Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Florida, Mississippi, California, Maine and Texas.
  • I like the idea of high heeled shoes, but I never wear them.
  • I don’t cut paper with my fabric scissors.
  • If I want two things stuck together, I prefer to sew a seam. I’m not so good with the glue.
  • When I’m making a quilt, I love picking out the colors and fabrics. I love conceiving the design. Sometimes I run out of enthusiasm when it comes to actually putting it together.
  • My middle name is Hope.
  • I don’t like watermelon or mac and cheese.
  • I’m a list maker, but not necessarily a list follower.
  • When I’m making art, my heart beats faster and I feel joyful.
Debra: Deborah, I would like to thank you for taking time to give my blog followers look into your world of fiber. I must say I so enjoy your freshness and use of color in your work along with the hand detail makes it so interesting. I love your new book 12 x 12. Let’s jump right in.
Deborah: Thanks so much, Debra!
Debra: Can you explain your intentions before you set out to make a new piece.
Deborah: My first intention is always to simply enjoy the creative process. Quite often, I am working toward a deadline or specific requirement for a particular project, so that comes into play as I begin a project.

Debra:  Has this always been your process? Or has the process evolved over the years?

Deborah:  My process has evolved, but the foundation has always been the joy of choosing fabrics, exploring unexpected combinations of materials and techniques and the amazing process of stitching things together.
Debra: Is there now, or has there ever been a time when you are apprehensive about starting a piece of art? Or a time in which you were concerned about the outcome of the piece?
Deborah:  I always let ideas simmer in my mind for awhile before beginning a new piece. Sometimes it seems like the idea isn’t really fully formed, but eventually I just have to dive in and start choosing fabrics. Usually, things fall into place once I get started. But, not always. There have been times when I have completely scrapped a quilt and started over. Or sliced up a piece and reconfigured it in an entirely new way.
Debra: Did you attend college and if so what did you study?
Deborah: I went to the University of Kansas. I have a degree from the School of Journalism specializing in Advertising. I also did some advanced studies in Art History, Creative Writing and Metal Smithing.
Debra: Your work often has sheers. When did you start using them and what are you trying to achieve when you do use them?
Deborah:  I can’t even remember the first time I used sheers. As I moved away from sewing traditional, piece quilts and more toward fabric collage, I began using all kinds of unusual fabrics including cheese cloth, tulle and organza. I especially loved the effect of layering and depth that can be created when you can actually see through a fabric to what is beneath it.
Debra: You are a mom. When do you find time to work. Tells us about your children and how you fit it all in.
Deborah: I work while the kids are at school and I try to use my time wisely. My daughter, Claire is almost 13 and my son, Benjamin is almost 10. We’re a busy family in many ways and we all try to work together to make sure everyone has an opportunity to spend time doing the things that are important to them.

Debra: This is a question that I have been asking all of my interviewees. So here goes…When I was 5-6 years old one of my favorite things to do was to swing on a homemade wooden swing from a huge tall oak tree in my back yard. I would literally sit and swing and sing and have a grand time for HOURS! That peace, freedom and splice is one of my fondest childhood memories. I now know that it was “creative” time and it was meditative, even at 5. What can you remember about when you were 5-6 years old, that just by thinking about it, can bring you back to that time?
Deborah:We lived in Kansas when I was in early elementary school. I remember spending lots of time playing outside especially in, around and behind the gigantic lilac bushes in the back corner of our yard. They was a small stone wall that became a stage, tons of places to hide during games of hide-and-seek and many crazy obstacles that were part of the races I invented with my sister and the other neighborhood kids. Even now, I really adore lilacs but I’ve never lived anywhere else where they were so full, fresh and fragrant. Or is that just my memory?
Debra: Who do you specifically create you art for?
Deborah: Honestly, I create art just for me. I choose colors, shapes, symbols, textures and techniques that are inspiring to me. It’s quite thrilling when other people make a connection with my art. That’s a big bonus!
Debra: Is there a message in your art
Deborah Sometimes there are symbols that represent themes in my life: home, growth, journey, adventure, thought. These are ideas that I return to again and again, but there isn’t necessarily a message associated with them. Just the idea that they are important.

Debra: Tell us about your 12 x 12 group. Please tell us how it got started and what you are doing now.
Deborah:  We are 12 art quilters from all over the world. The focus of our collaborative work is the exploration of how different artists interpret a common theme. For the first four years of our project, we took turns picking themes and we each created a 12×12 inch art quilt on that theme. We created a group blog where we shared our inspirations, process and other thoughts about the experience. It’s so exciting to see the art quilts pop up on our blog of our official “reveal days.” We also have a group website where all the art quilts are shown in a mosaic format. We consider these mosaic images to be works of art in themselves, while each individual quilt also stands on its own. It’s fascinating to see common color choices, construction techniques and imagery.

As we completed the first set, which we call the “theme series,” we were asked to publish a book about our project. It was so exciting to share additional thoughts about the creative process and beautiful pictures of all 144 quilts. We were all enjoying the project so much that we decided to continue. Rather than use words as themes, our second series is based on color palettes. We call it the Colorplay Series. We finished that set last fall just in time for both complete sets to be on exhibit at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. That’s 288 quilts! It was absolutely fantastic that nine of the “twelves” were able to come to Festival. Most of us had never met each other in real life.

Now we are working on the 2012 Series. Each of us will create five art quilts throughout 2012 that will measure 20×12. Our first theme is “metamorphosis” and the reveal day is February 12.


Debra: Where do you see yourself in 5 years in the quilting world?

Deborah: The best moments for me as an artist are when I’ve completed a piece of work and I’m genuinely pleased with every single detail. I really want to continue to work toward creating work that is fully realized in that way. If other opportunities arise as a result of my artwork — like more teaching, publishing and exhibiting — that would be wonderful.

Debra: I am going to play a silly association game with you to wrap up. Below I will list a list of words. Without planning please just write what first comes to mind. Here we go…
Inspiration: patterns
Sky: as far as the eye can see
Obama: steady
Pie: no, thanks
Intentions: patience
Why: Because
Women: hold up half the sky
Shy: wall flower
Men: club
Cry: weep
Historical Figure: Harriet Tubman
Sigh: eye roll
Torment: silence
High: Fructose Corn Syrup
Energy: Action
Bye: Smile and Wave!
Debra: Deborah thank you so much. One last question….Do you have a personal mantra? If so what is that mantra? If not what do you want to say to the people reading this blog.
Deborah: Celebrate the creative spirit!

 Thanks Deborah! 


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