Nothing beats the charm of a quilt made the old-fashioned way, and a new generation of textile artists is exploring the medium with decidedly contemporary flair. Case in point: Kristi Schroeder of Initial K Studio in Austin, Texas, who traded a career in graphic design for one in fabric and thread. A single quilting class in 2014 changed her course. “I was instantly hooked,” Schroeder says.
“I stick with what makes me happy,” she says of her aesthetic. “Lots of white space and a simple, clean color palette.” She’s known for taking conventional ideas and making them new again. “I like the challenge of experimenting with a traditional quilt block or using a particular sewing technique in a different way. My neutral Courthouse Steps quilt [below] is a great example. To make the quilt more modern, I focused on using various shades of neutral fabric paired against a white background then experimented with the block layout until an ombre effect began to take place. The end result is a minimal quilt that’s one of my favorites in the collection.”
Most of her pieces take between four and six weeks to complete and range in price from $275 to $875, depending on the size. Schroeder also accepts custom commissions. “Those are a very collaborative process,” she says. “I like to interview clients because I believe there’s an art of family history and storytelling. To know that something was made so long ago and still brings joy to someone in the present speaks volumes.”
That’s exactly how Schroeder hopes her designs will be remembered, too.