Thursday, April 20, 2017

Quilts with a twist 1 -- Denise Furnish

I got to see a lovely show last month at the Portland Museum in Louisville KY, featuring two artists from here and two from Ireland.  The artistic partnership between the two regions dates back several years; groups from here have traveled to Northern Ireland for a time of collaboration, and vice versa.  I was thrilled to have two of my good friends in this show: Denise Furnish, who lives about 500 feet from me as the crow flies, and Jane Lloyd, of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, whom I've gotten to know very well, partly because we've shared two road trips to Quilt National, a total of 20 hours together in the car.  Both of them work with quilts, but not exactly your basic quilt-police quilts.

If you had to describe her work in one word, you'd probably call Denise a painter, because she starts with old quilts, some of them in advanced stages of decrepitude, and paints on them with opaque or clear acrylics.  Often the original geometric pattern shows through, either because she enhances it in her painting, or because you can detect the seams through the paint.  After a lot of monochrome pieces in recent years, where the entire quilt ended up the same color, Denise has taken a new direction and painted bold images.

Denise Furnish, Turkey Red White and Blue, 37 x 66", (detail below)

I was drawn to her American flag, of course, since that's such a powerful image in my own work.  You can see the poor condition of the original quilt in the detail shots.

Denise Furnish, Z's Rainbow, 89 x 77", (detail below)

Denise Furnish, The Bed

I'll show you Jane Lloyd's quilts in a subsequent post.

Art of Color: A New Grasses Exhibit will be on view at the Portland Museum through May 19.


  1. I'm especially intrigued by Z's Rainbow as it looks as if she has painted over a "yo-yo" quilt, something that my mother taught me how to make ages ago.

  2. I also found the yo-yo quilt interesting, the closeup picture definitely caught my attention.