Colleen Wise

About me

My background is in civil engineering and horticulture. I came to art and quilting through the back door, and these influences continue to shape my work.

Quilting is two-dimensional medium, but I like to play with the illusion of three. My quilts have a sense of depth that goes beyond the surface. Elements seem to float above the surface or recede into the depths of the quilt. Leaves float, balls bounce, satellites orbit planets. My goal is to encourage the viewer to look into the quilt, rather than just at it.

More than that, my quilts have a depth of meaning. I’m inspired by walking through old cemeteries and studying the architecture of the headstones and the play of light on the granite. I tend to pull leaves off trees. I’m fascinated by the stars and planets, and I never miss an opportunity to look through a telescope. I love geometry but not necessarily symmetry. These themes and more end up in my work.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, where our winter days are short and dark. I create illusion by casting shadows, and by doing so, I create light.

Recently I’ve fallen in love with marbling on fabric. Marbling is the dance of paint on the surface of water. I’m mesmerized by this sheet of color suspended between liquid and air. Each print is a unique record of intention, order, chaos and serendipity. Like the gardener who preserves summer bounty in mason jars, I spend the summers capturing moments on fabric, and the winters preserving those moments in quilts.

Books

Colleen is the author of “Casting Shadows: Creating Visual Depth in Your Quilts” (C&T Publishing, 2005).

Other Publications

Adventures in Design by Joen Wolfrom (C&T Publishing, 2011)

Art Quilts: A Celebration: 400 Stunning Contemporary Designs by Robert Shaw (Lark Books, 2005)

Journey of an Art Quilter by Barbara Olson (Dragon Threads, 2004)

Contemporary Quilting by Stevii Graves and Cindy Walter (KP Books, 2004)

The Best Contemporary Quilts: Quilt National 2001 (Lark Books, 2001)

Quilters Newsletter Magazine, vol. 35, no. 8, October 2004: Gravity

Quilting Quarterly, vol. 28, no. 1, Spring 2000: “Colleen Wise—A Woman of Many Talents”

Quilting Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 3, Fall 1999:  Botanica (cover photo)

Quilting Today, Issue no. 56, Bob and Weave

Television Appearances

Simply Quilts, #1118, Trash to Treasure Challenge (HGTV)

Simply Quilts, #1104, Casting Shadows with Discharge (HGTV)

Solo Exhibitions

Illusions & Shadows – Colleen Wise, solo exhibition, Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, LaConner Washington, October 8 – December 30, 2015

Featured Artist, Northwest Quilting Expo, Portland OR, September 2016

Major awards and shows

2016:
Pacific International Quilt Festival, Santa Clara CA

2015:
Denver National Quilt Festival, 2nd Place Innovative
QuiltFest Destination Savannah,
Best Use of Color, Innovative
Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, Best Interpretation of Theme

2014:
A World of Beauty, IQA Houston, Honorable Mention
Quilt Week, Paducah, KY,
Honorable Mention
Wisconsin Quilt Expo

2013:
Pacific West Quilt Show, 3rd place, Innovative Large, Honorable Mention
Pacific International Quilt Festival,
Seattle, 2nd place
La Conner Quilt Museum Quilt& Fiber Arts Festival,
1st place,  2nd place
Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival,
Hampton VA, Best Interpretation of Theme

2012:
Pacific West Quilfest, Best 3-D Effect

2011:
Pacific West Quilt Show, Collective Stitches, special group exhibition

2008:
Pacific West Quiltfest, 3rd place, Art Quilts
American Quilter’s Society,
Paducah, 3rd place

2007:
Evolution of the Art Quilt, Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, WA
(Show Chair and Exhibitor)
The Sky’s the Limit,  International Quilt Festival, Houston, TX and traveling
Pacific International Quilt Festival, Santa Clara, CA: Second Place

2006:
Great Pacific Northwest Quiltfest, Seattle: Third Place
Pennsylvania  National Quilt Extravaganza
, Harrisburg, PA

2005:
Quilts of the Pacific Rim, Myrtle Beach, SC and Honolulu, HI
Mid-Atlantic Quilt Fetival, Hampton VA
Road to California, Ontario CA

2004:
Quilts of the Pacific Rim, Myrtle Beach, SC and Honolulu, HI
Art Quilts on the Ridge, Phinney Ridge Community Center, Seattle
American Quilters Society Show, Paducah, KY
Road to California, Ontario CA, First Place
Great Pacific Northwest Quiltfest, Seattle: Judge’s Choice

2003:
Gifts to Gold Mountain, Seattle Asian Art Museum
Pacific International Quilt Show, Santa Clara, California: Best Interpretation of Theme
Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, Judge’s Choice, Second Place (two), Honorable Mention
Sacred Threads 2003

2002:
Small Works, LaConner Quilt Museum, LaConner, Washington
Western Washington State Fair, Puyallup: First Place
Northwest Quilting Expo, Portland, Oregon: First Place
Great Pacific Northwest Quiltfest
, Seattle

2001:
Quilts: A World of Beauty, International Quilt Festival, Houston, Texas: Second Place
Pacific International Quilt Show, Santa Clara, California: Second Place
Indiana Heritage Quilt Show: First Place
Quilt National
, Athens, Ohio: “Solar Energy”
American Art Company Quilt Invitational, Tacoma, Washington
Tradition and Beyond, LaConner Quilt Museum, LaConner, Washington
Great Pacific Northwest Art Fair, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, Washington

2000:
Great Pacific Northwest Quiltfest (Association of Pacific Northwest Quilters), Seattle, First Place, Innovative Mixed Techniques
Indiana Heritage Quilt Show: Third Place
Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XI, Williamsburg, Virginia
In Full Flight, SeaTac International Airport, 2000

1999:
National Quilters Association Show, Omaha, Nebraska, Innovative Technique, Honorable Mention and Viewers’ Choice
Western Washington State Fair, Puyallup: First Place, Quilting Award of Merit, and People’s Choice
Puyallup Valley Quilters Show, Puyallup, Washington: Best of Show, Judge’s Choice
Great Pacific Northwest Art Fair, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, Washington

1998:
Great Pacific Northwest Quiltfest (APNQ), Seattle
Western Washington State Fair, Puyallup: First Place
Great Pacific Northwest Art Fair, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, Washington

1997:
American Quilter’s Society, Paducah, Kentucky

1996:
Great Pacific Northwest Quiltfest (APNQ), Seattle

Western Washington State Fair, Puyallup: First Place and Best of Category

1995:
Puyallup Valley Quilters Show: First Place and Viewer’s Choice

1994:
Great Pacific Northwest Quiltfest (APNQ), Seattle