For immediate release ‐ August 28, 2017
Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.707.8083. Images available upon request
(RALEIGH, N.C.) — Wendell artist Ann Harwell has been sewing together little pieces of fabric for over 40 years. Her formal education was in Early Childhood Education in the early ‘70s, and she enjoyed teaching preschool with all the wonderful geometric objects: tangrams, pattern blocks, geoboards and insect kaleidoscopes. Visions of wonderful quilts soon began to dance in her head. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Art Gallery presents “Fabric of Space and Time,” a selection of Harwell’s nature-inspired quilts, September 1-24. A Gallery reception honoring the artist will be held Saturday, September 2 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Harwell started with baby quilts for her three sons and then graduated to bed quilts for the family, complete with the ubiquitous matching curtains. She read books by Georgia Bonesteel and learned the “lap quilting” method. “The Quilter’s Album of Blocks and Borders” by Jinny Beyer was an exciting resource for her to make block patterns in the early ‘80s. It was using this book and her “Patchwork Portfolio” that first inspired Harwell to make a quilt that could express a beautiful concept.
Harwell’s family had moved from Raleigh, NC, into the countryside near Knightdale. She was mesmerized by the clear night sky, which was frequently full of stars, with a ring of pines that clung to the remnants of a dark pink and burgundy sunset. She made “Starry Starry Knightdale” to help describe this experience. The quilts that she made through most of the ‘80s and early ‘90s were given as gifts to her church, friends and family. The recipients of these gifts persuaded her to pursue a professional art career. In 1997 she retired from preschool teaching and focused on making quilts.“My quilts are made to communicate ideas, express feelings and tell stories,” Harwell says. “I especially want to unite and enhance diverse fabric designs and colors with intricate, precision piecing and exorbitant quilting.” From 1999 until 2012, Harwell made her quilts at Artspace in an open studio in Raleigh’s historic City Market.Currently, she has her own home studio in Wendell, NC.
The Nature Art Gallery is accessible through the Museum Store. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4:45 p.m. All exhibited art is for sale. For more information about the Nature Art Gallery, call 919.707.9854.