Saturday, November 02, 2013

What would Libby do?

Libby Lehman is who I want to be when I grow up.

Joy Ride (detail) 1996
She is many things: quilter, artist, writer, teacher, mentor, judge, lecturer. And all done with style & grace. She is everything I wish I could be: strong, smart, talented, funny & generous. A "Lady" in the old sense of the word.

I'm pretty sure I first saw one of her quilts at my very first Quilt Festival back in 1991. I think it was a smallish piece with simple patchwork, vivid colors & amazing machine-embellished thread 'ribbons' winding through the piece. That's the hallmark of her work: saturated colors & domestic machine mastery. Her quilts are distinctive & beautiful. Her "Joy Ride" was among the 100 Best American Quilts of the 20th Century; she has quilts in private, corporate & museum collections.

But she has been lain low -- a brain aneurism, followed by a stroke, followed by a severe infection. Her Caring Bridge sight is a heart-breaking document of the highs & lows her family & friends have experienced since late April of this year. They remain optimistic about her recovery, though realistic that the road will be a long & difficult one for Libby.

At this year's Quilt Festival, there is a special exhibit of 37 of her quilts spanning 30 years. Even the early ones are distinctly "Libby". It was delightful to see her change & grow as an artist over the years.

Red Sky at Morning 1982

 New Mexico Suites: Native Son (detail) 1984

 Captive Color 1989

 You're Invited 1990

 Flotsam (detail) 1995

 Silent Partners 1995

 Squares Inside of Squares 1999

 Drift IV 2002

 High Hopes 2012

 Watch Your Step: Fall 2012

I hope that she will continue to add to this body of work in the future.


Rachaeldaisy said...

I have to be honest and say even though I've heard Libby Lehmans name I didn't really know her quilts so thank you for this wonderful show of masterly quilts. I hope we see more from Libby too.

O'Quilts said...

Thank you for this. Libby Lehman is a name from forever ago..always doing great sad

Nifty Quilts said...

What a lovely tribute to a trailblazer in the quilting world. I hadn't seen her earlier work. Thanks for showing.

MariQuilts said...

Beautiful post, Beth, Her work is amazing.

Michele Bilyeu said...

I am so glad that bit by bit Libby is coming back from her horrible, long stroke. It has been lovely watching her family gather around her (facebook and caring bridge) she will always be an inspiration for she left a huge mark on quilting. And she is coming back with apparently quite the sense of humor still intact.