This Quilt Maker Is Inspired by the View Outside Her Window

Cindy Grisdela creates colorful quilts, designed improvisationally without the use of a preconceived pattern. Describing her process as “a little bit like jazz music,” she begins with choosing the right colors. “Putting colors together intuitively, I like to use fabric the way a painter might use paint to create graphic compositions that engage the viewer from a distance, yet invite a closer look,” writes Grisdela on her personal website.

Based in Reston, VA, she draws inspiration for her contemporary wall quilts from the view of nature outside her window. This inspiration is quite literal. “Pebbles on the path or currents in water might become part of the texture I stitch into each piece,” she writes. “Color combinations in bird feathers or flowering plants might slip into the palette I use to start my next design.”

Textile art also comes quite naturally to Grisdela, as she comes from a long line of women who have expressed themselves using a needle and thread (although, curiously, she notes that there were no quilters in her family). “Creating with various forms of fabric and thread has been a part of my life since I was a child,” she says, adding that she taught herself the ins and outs of the trade through trial and error.

Grisdela’s quilts are showcased and sold in fine art and fine craft shows nationwide and can be found in private collections all over the country.  She also teaches classes and workshops and is the author of Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free Motion Quilting, published by C&T Publishing in November 2016. But you can also follow her work online, via Instagram: