Ann Johnston- A multifaceted woman

Here’s a quilt from 2010, Balance 32. 49″ x 93″ there will be an article Ann wrote in an upcoming SAQA journal titled “Variety” that discusses contrast in designs and refers to this one in particular.

Ann Johnson is multifaceted.
Her start was as a traditional quilter for many years.. With some experimentation, she branched out into art quilting. which in turn lead to her other lines of pursuit, She is perhaps most recognized with newer quilters as an international expert on fabric dyeing, an author, and educator. Ann is very successful in all of these areas, her reputation is international.

However, she is a quilter first and foremost. These many facets of her talent sprang as a natural outgrowth of her work as a quilt artist

When you pursue her online resume,  it is quite impressive, more solo and group expositions than you can begin to imagine. The list of publications, books  & magazines that have featured her work is extensive.. Then there are the many  books she has authored herself, very respected and

As an author and educator, her publications have established her as an expert in fabric design and dyeing. Her updated expanded  version of  the extensive “The Quilter’s Book of Design”, published in 2008 is considered a complete guide for those wishing to move from commercial fabric to creating  their own dyed and  designed fabrics. ve career as a quilter! A career that anyone would be proud of.

Yet she  has not rested on her laurels, she  expanded into what could almost be called a second career and gained as much respect and success as her “first”.

As an out growth of her quilting,  she began to dye all the fabrics for her quilts, which has led to her  international reputation as a fabric dyer and educator.   In her  books  & workshops she has shared her experience & expertise with other quilter’s.

Would you like to gain more insight into this amazing woman? Of course you would. so read on….

Questions and Answers:

1-For many new artists, it is difficult to find their own voice and not simply emulate those whose style they admire. What has helped you to develop your own voice & perspective?

My first reaction to this question is to say that after making quilts for over thirty years, I am still looking for “my own voice.” I do admire many other quilters’ work, so I make a conscious effort not to be imitative or derivative. I am not trying to make a body of work that looks like it is all from the same person, I just make them how I feel, and they come out as mine. Of course, using my own hand dyed fabric with marks I made and colors I created makes it much easier to differentiate my work from other people’s. As I develop an idea for a quilt, I make sure it is exactly what I am interested in, and as I construct a quilt, I continually ask myself if the choices fit my idea and if they are what I feel like doing—in the end my work is my work.

2-You obviously have a successful career as a quilt artist, & are known for your fabrics and books about fabric dyeing. I know they go hand in hand, but do you have a preference for one over the other?

I do love teaching, and the book writing and publishing has been exciting. Both take huge amounts of creativity and energy and are extremely rewarding, but I prefer making quilts! I am focusing on the making right now, that’s where the mystery is.

3–Who or what have had the most influence on your work?

I would say that the greatest influence on my quiltmaking is my fabric. I haven’t used commercially printed fabrics since the early 80’s. For some time now, the fabric itself has been prompting ideas for quilts.

4- Do you feel that gaining recognition has affected you as an artist?

Yes, probably. It has made me busy doing other things. I do spend some energy trying not to look for recognition for the wrong reasons.

5–What has been your proudest accomplishments to date?

Well, as far as my quilting career, my books are going to outlast anything I have done. Being my own publisher has allowed me to make quality choices that I would not have been able to have elsewhere. I hired an experienced photographer, book designer, color and text editors, proofreaders and high quality printers, etc, and so my books are high quality as well as full of good solid information.

6–What do you do for fun [besides quilting and dying and teaching and writing books? ? What time?] ?

I have a close family and spend a lot of time with them, near and far. I travel and hike with my husband all over the place. This summer we walked across England on the Coast to Coast Trail and this fall we walked the Rogue River Wilderness Trail in Oregon. We have two grandchildren that live close enough to be with us at least several times a week. Now, that is fun!

Did you ask when??? I don’t get everything done on my lists, but the things that I must do, get done. I must make quilts, so I have always found time.

7-How have you handled the business side of your career?

This is a question I have been working on for a long time, and answers have evolved. I am at the point now that I get help when I need it and listen to advice when I ask for it! The business world would shudder at my attitude towards profitmaking, but I do get to make decisions that fit my world.

8-What has been the most helpful in achieving your success?

I would say that I work very hard and I have kept at it for a very long time. All the work and time has contributed to my growth as an artist.

9–How would you describe your artistic style?

I can’t. I don’t really want to.

10-Describe yourself in 5 words.

Waiting to make another quilt.

11-What have been some of your biggest obstacles?

I have been very lucky in everything that is important.

12-In creating a new work, what part of the process do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy seeing how it finally looks when all the decisions are made, so I can go on to the next one.

13- What advice would you offer to someone just starting a career in fiber arts?

Keep your eyes wide open, practice, practice, practice, and keep learning.


For more information:  or

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Barbara Harms Fiber Art & MoreBarbara Harms Fiber Art

About Myself & My Approach I come from a family filled with many artists.s always played a role in my life, in one form or another. By my teens, I had narrowed my focus to painting.I decided I was going to become a serious painter. I joined the Las Vegas Artist's Guild, at 15, the youngest member at that time. I was totally out of my league, a kid among so many serious adult artists. But to be there, exposed to art in that way was quite an experience. I was enraptured, soaking up. I tried to go unnoticed, just a fly on the wall, mute, a big ole smile plastered on my face. soaking it all up. I tryed to go unnoticed; a mute teenager, eyes wide opened and a huge smile plastered across my face. I’m pretty I was noticed, a mute kid with an enraptured look on my face. I've continued to paint throughout my life. On occasion I've sold my work, but I had more important priorities, one being raising my wonderful children. My circumstances have changed, the kids grown, I had more time and Art was like theorpy for me. I was introduced to the world of quilting & fell in love. I did miss the creative freedom painting afforded. Then I discovered mixed media fiber art, I was home. MY APPROACH TO ART It's the creative process that holds the greatest attraction for me. Starting with a tiny seed of an idea; vague and blurred around the edges, I follow where that leads. My approach is an instinctual one. Generally, I do little pre-planning. themselves, my appproacj response js an instinctual one. This approach can lead to quite a few changes in the direction the quilt takes. The outcome can come as a surprise. I love that element of surprise! Sometimes everything just comes together & I think this is one of my better ones. I can’t wait to show someone. I feel like a six year old, running home from school, a drawing in hand, excited to show Mom. At those times. I'm smiling like the Cheshire cat. I’ve had work published in several magazines., which is gratifingvl. But the most gratifying thing is having clients be really happy with their purchased quilt. Word press Etsy shop-sales Https:// Contact: inquiry Personal Links kool


  1. I enjoyed reading this interview with Ann J. It is helpful to learn of other artist’s stories…also, I want to thank-you for being one of my top “commenters” on my blog this year (as reported by Word Press). Your feedback and insights have been appreciated!


  2. I’m a huge fan of Ann’s work. I’ve been saving this post to read until I had a chance to sit down and really absorb it all. Thanks for all the great work you are doing on this blog. I enjoy your post immensely. P.S. When I grow up I want to have a studio just like Ann’s 🙂


  3. How encouraging that Ann is still looking for “her voice”! She certainly has created powerful beauty while looking! Thank you so much for this detailed posting which introduced me to her work.


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