"Working with fabric is my passion."
Nana Montgomery is an artist who makes contemporary quilts. Combining fabric and paint to create her images, Montgomery's quilts are constructed in a traditional manner, using cotton fabrics and filling. Paint and other embellishments are applied after the quilt is constructed to enhance the surface design. The process and tactility of combining paint with appliqued fabric add an important spontaneity to the work.
Nana attended UC Santa Cruz where she studied painting and drawing, with a minor in Art History. Later, she completed her Master’s Degree in Fine Art at SF State University where she developed a personal style that merged her love of quiltmaking with her fine arts education.
Nana travels have also influenced her work, including an extended stay in Japan. She has also spent time in France, Bali, Italy and Germany where she has continued her study of architecture and cultural archetype.
Nana has lived in Santa Cruz for the past 30+ years, where she creates and exhibits artwork, works as a social worker for the VA and works as a freelance designer, with her graphic design business, Blue Shark Design. In her free time, Nana enjoys surfing, swimming and cycling
Her art quilts have been shown in one-person and group shows throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
My recent body of work focuses on the complexity of emotional issues and states of relationship. The figure that often appears in my work is symbolic, an archetype of the inner life. When the audience looks at my work I’m hoping that they will recognize and relate to the emotion that’s being expressed and along with attempting to dazzle and delight the eye, I am also hoping to engage their hearts and minds.
The imagery in my work comes from a surrealistic tradition that focuses on expression of emotions, ideas and dreams. By employing a vocabulary of symbols that work on multiple levels of meaning, I am intent on expressing the universal themes such as love, life and death. Visual references to the elements such as fire and water help to deepen the connection that I feel to the natural forces and their use in the symbology of emotion. I’m seeking to expand the notion of what a quilt can be. I continue to be drawn to the quiltmaking tradition and my choice of media is as important as the issues and ideas that I am exploring.
When I first started making quilts in my early teens, I learned the traditional methods. As I developed into an artist and a painter, I began to apply a new perspective to my quiltmaking. I started to question the rules and began to experiment outside the folk tradition. My approach to surface, content and imagery took my quilts into the realm of fine art. I continue to be drawn to the quiltmaking tradition and the act of constructing an object from cloth and paint.
My choice of media is as important for its function as the vehicle for exploring issues and ideas as the images themselves. My work could be expressed as painting only but there would be something lost in the process. Working with the color, pattern and texture of the fabric combined with paint is integral to my expression.
San Jose State University
Maters of Social Work degree
Graduated May 2008
San Francisco State University
Masters of Fine Arts degree
Graduated June 1990
University of California at Santa Cruz
Graphics Certificate program
University of California at Santa Cruz
Bachelors of Arts degree in Fine Arts
minor in Art History
Graduated June 1982
2012-2013My art quilt Undertow was included in the SHARK exhibit at the Museum of the University of Fort Lauderdale.
NOVEMBER 21, 2004 My art quilts and I were filmed and featured on national TV on the "Simply Quilts" show on HGTV.
MARCH 2, 2002 In a collaboration with the City of San José public arts citywide fundraising program, my shark sculpture "Material Shark" raised $1900 for the San José Museum of Quilt & Textiles at the SharkByte Auction.