Quilting Arts TV Retrospective

Image of artwork by Susan Shie

“Quilting Arts TV” recently finished taping its 22nd series celebrating art quilting and the artists who create it. Amazing! I’ve been involved since Series 1100, and I’ve learned so much from the presenters. They so generously share themselves as artists and provide guidance and inspiration to viewers, encouraging them to try the projects or techniques themselves.

The history of Quilting Arts TV— QATV, for short—is so rich. Although it’s like picking a favorite child, here are some highlights from the past 22 seasons.

Susan Shie setting up on the set of Quilting Arts TV

Susan Shie (left) setting up on the set of Quilting Arts TV with Susan Brubaker Knapp and Kathie Stull.

Susan Shie is a living treasure of the quilting world. Meeting her at the Series 2200 taping and viewing her artwork up close was an amazing opportunity. She is not only an incredibly talented and unique voice in quilting, she is a warm, gracious, and thoughtful person.

Susan was a guest on Series 100 and 200—the very beginning of QATV—presenting her diary and art quilts. Later, in Series 800, she joined former host Pokey Bolton on a tour of International Quilt Festival. At the recent taping, she shared many of the quilts and sketchbooks she has created over the years. Her body of work is stunning—beautiful, significant, and imbued with social commentary! She has grown as an artist over the years and is a much-sought-after teacher with a current emphasis on encouraging people to draw and sketch.

Sandra Bruce on the set of Quilting Arts TV Series 2200.

Sandra Bruce on the set of QATV.

Sandra Bruce, a talented artist in her own right who will appear in several segments in Series 2200, said her favorite part of being at QATV taping “was meeting everyone, especially Susi Shie, as we have a mutual friend and I have heard so much about her over the years. Susi especially inspired me to start drawing again.” I agree. I’ll be resurrecting my sketchbook and tools, too.

Susan Brubaker Knapp with Lesley Riley on the set of QATV.

Lesley Riley has shared her mixed-media artwork with viewers in three seasons of QATV—including the first one, Series 100—and said her appearances have given her confidence in herself and her artwork. A seasoned teacher and consummate professional, Lesley embraces the challenges of taping a TV show where every minute counts and segments must fit into a specific timeframe.

Jeanne Delpit, Manager of National Events for Bernina of America, is another longtime friend of Quilting Arts TV. Jeanne has been the technical advisor, educator, and ‘sewing machine whisperer’ for QATV since 2009. She has only missed four tapings in 22 seasons, one due to a hurricane which closed roads and airports for many days, preventing her from traveling.

Jeanne Delpit with Susan Brubaker Knapp on the set of QATV

Jeanne Delpit with Susan Brubaker Knapp on the set of QATV

As supplier of sewing machines for the guests to use on set, Bernina also sends an expert to help. That is Jeanne. She describes the twice-a-year gigs at QATV as a true highlight for her. “To hobnob with these amazing artists and help facilitate their stardom” is a thrill. In the early years, Jeanne, an accomplished sewist, also presented a segment or two as well.

Jeanne works with guests to make them feel comfortable on the machine before it is time to tape their segments. She shares tools and knowledge in these one-on-one sessions and provides plenty of time for the guest to work alone on the machine until comfortable. Jeanne is never far from the studio, though, to assist at any time. “The people here are my #1 priority. … I’m here to make (them) shine.”

A generous, bubbly, and knowledgeable person, Jeanne is now integral to each taping of QATV. She looks forward to coming and everyone at taping looks forward to having her. She’s a part of the team!

Luana Rubin on the set of QATV.

Luana Rubin on the set of QATV.

Artist and entrepreneur Luana Rubin has been a presenter and supporter of QATV since Series 400. Luana is a keen observer of trends and styles in the quilting world. A world traveler, she has visited many international quilt shows and has shared with viewers her perspectives—and amazing photographs!—from many of them. Her appearances on QATV have enriched viewers’ experience of quilts from all around the globe.

Maggie Vanderweit appears in Series 2100 and 2200 with her bold fabrics and beautiful work. When asked about her overall experience, she said “Taping for QATV was a blast. First, it was a thrill just to be asked. I loved sharing a variety of techniques I use often in my work that others can try out and make their own.”

Artwork by Maggie Vanderweit from QATV Series 2200

Artwork by Maggie Vanderweit from QATV Series 2200

As a result of her appearances on the show, Maggie said “I am being asked to teach (more) and becoming better known as an art quilter and teacher. It looks good on my resume! I am proud that I did something to challenge myself, even though I was super nervous.” (She did a fabulous job and didn’t seem nervous at all, BTW.)

Susan Brubaker Knapp has been the host of QATV since Series 1400 but before that she was a frequent guest on the show, starting with Series 500. Her beautiful art quilts often feature luscious, bold color and designs from nature. As well as hosting, Susan frequently appears in segments herself with projects, techniques, and tips to share.

One last thing: the kudos. I would like to thank Bernina of America, eQuilter.com, Marabu, Dharma Trading, and Wooly Wonders for their sponsorship of Quilting Arts TV. Without our sponsors, the show would not be possible. Nor would it be possible without the partnership of Kathie Stull and her excellent crew at KS Productions. Their work is fantastic and much appreciated.

Some of my favorite “Quilting Arts TV” moments over the years:

  • In Series 2100, Maggie Vanderweit unwrapped cloth that had been patterned with organic material and rusted metal. The reveal was a surprise to all—including Maggie herself!
  • In Series 1800, Cathy Wiggins demonstrated her quilt techniques working with leather as the substrate.
  • In Series 1500, Sue Spargo shared her incredible talents in wool appliqué and hand embroidery.

Highlights to look for in Series 2200:

  • Maria Shell’s intricate but accessible improv piecing techniques and design skills
  • Jill Jensen’s prints on fabric with wood- and lino-cuts
  • Susan Shie—drop the mike!


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