HEIDI ZIELINSKI - Fiber/Quilt Artist

Creating art out of fiber and stitch is my passion. In no other pursuit have I ever found the rewards and joy that I find in using textiles, thread, paint, beads, yarns, and whatever else inspires me to make an object of beauty to share with others. My work is based in the quilting tradition of three layers stitched together, but the artistry and originality of it goes far beyond the basic piecing of geometric shapes to create a bedcovering. You will see many reflections of nature in my work as I live in Montana surrounded by mountains, rivers, streams and my own garden. Color and texture inspire my work and they are my palette.

Please feel free to comment on what you see here so I can know what you would like me to post. I am always willing to share what I do, how I do it, and what inspires me. I hope you enjoy my work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Thing About Collage

"The Visual Spectrum" - A Color Wheel Series
I work mostly with abstract or non-representational art and I particularly enjoy a collage style of design.  When I think of the word "collage" it conjures up images from the latest magazines of layers of items/stuff/ephemera that is mostly unrelated to each other all jumbled on a background of some sort.  I don't care for most of them as they look "scrapbooky" and very personal to me.  I can see that they might have meaning to the maker, but they have very little meaning to me. 

When I create art I am inspired by something like color, nature, a piece of cloth or an idea.  When I am creating the piece I think about what looks good and how much of this or that or where to put things.  I consider composition, balance, contrast, color, and focal point.  I am not only creating for myself but to hopefully successfully share my thoughts, muse and artistic skill with others.  Yes, I am making things to try to sell them, so I want other people to like them.  In order for someone to like it they need to see something in it that they can identify with or that moves them or makes them remember something.  It needs to have meaning to them as well as to me or it is not, in my mind, a successful piece. 

So when I am making a collage I want it to be interesting, have good "flow", be a balanced composition, and hopefully have beauty.  Not too much of anything or too little.  As Goldilocks said, just right.

Here are three of my series of color wheel quilts that are approximately 12"x12".  They are collages and some have beading, some have hand embroidery.  All 12 of them were very fun to create and each one is unique.  I made them cohesive by their size and black bindings but other than that I just went with whatever I was inspired to do with the fabrics I chose and the colorway I was working with.  They are essentially monochromatic pieces and yet they are still colorful.  Some of the fabrics have other colors in them that help make the piece interesting.  


 When I see these all together it is difficult to pick my favorite.  I see things that I could have done better and I see things I really like.  Every one is interesting, full of detail, and fairly true to their corresponding color on the color wheel.  It wasn't hard to do that.  I had all the fabric in my stash.  And I enjoyed working with every one. 

Collage does not have to be messy, busy and heavy with stuff.  It can be colorful, detailed and balanced without being overdone.  Know when to stop adding more fabric, more embellishment, or more stitching.  That isn't always easy, but that is part of the process of creating art.  Overdo it and you lose what you are trying to say.  Don't do enough and it is boring.  Find the balance. 

Fiber Into Art by Heidi Open House

Next Saturday I am trying something new!  I am holding an Open House in my home---my livingroom to be exact.  I'll set up some of my display walls and hang a lot of art and see who comes to look!  Hopefully I won't sit there all day by myself, but if I do at least I will be at home!

So you know what I'll be doing over the next week---cleaning, baking and creating some last minute work!  My recent sales have been rather slow and far between so I'm hoping to kick of the holiday season with this new adventure and attract some people who haven't seen much of my work before.  

The hardest part about this for me is figuring out how to advertise this on a shoestring budget.  Thank goodness for the internet and email as I can get the word out to a lot of people that way.  I've put it on Facebook, sent it out to my newsletter email list, and will be distributing some fliers to businesses to hand out.  I submitted a public service announcement to the local paper, but that will only get published if they see fit and have room since it is free advertising.  The other paper is getting back to me about how much a little ad would cost me, so we'll see how that goes.  Here's an idea of what the flier looks like, although the images are supposed to be centered and the blog seems to be refusing to do that!  


Heidi Zielinski


Saturday, November 5 - 10am-4:30pm
428 Fawn Ln, Stevensville, MT
[North of Stevi off Eastside Hwy between Ambrose and 3Mile]

Come visit me to see my latest artwork, as well as
many older pieces on display and for sale. 
Accepting Credit Cards.
heidi@heidizielinski.com - www.heidizielinski.com

P.S. - I bake. And I’m not above bribery.

So if you are in the area please stop in and see me!  I'd love to show you what I have been up to....!!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Next Stone In The Path

The life of an artist is one of constant evaluation of what you are doing, why you are doing it, how you might do it better, and how you can share it with others and sell it so you can continue doing it!

This past year I have not created as much as I did previous years and I have had some setbacks with efforts to teach and show my work.  I'm hoping for a more positive response to my classes this next year so that I can pursue my goal of teaching to a wider audience in some form.  Whether that is on a national teaching circuit or on-line or even by writing a book, I want to take it to the next level over the next few years.  

I have learned this year that I really love creating abstract collages and I would like to share my process by teaching or writing.  Actually I currently have an article I wrote about my color wheel series of small 12"  x 12" collages that will be published in Machine Quilting Unlimited in May of 2016.  I think there is more to my process than what I can share in the magazine article so I may be able to write and teach about it in more depth.  That series of work has also been accepted to a national quilt show as a special exhibit in fall of 2016 so that is also very exciting!  

At this point in my art "career" I need to move to a new phase.  What I have been doing has been somewhat successful but is not moving me forward.  It is all a bit stagnant at the moment.  A new gallery  is my current goal and I will be checking them out next month in Bozeman, Montana.  Wish me luck!

Making these small collages solidified to me that I love color and the collage process.  My earliest pieces as an art quilter were collage and since then I have done many of them although I have also experimented with some whole cloth pieces, some long narrow strip quilts ( "Strata Quilts") and even some landscapes. Right now the collage style seems to be what I am inspired to do. And inspiration is key to my productivity so for now that is what is coming out of the studio!  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Organizing The Studio

I'm in the midst of cleaning and organizing my studio in preparation for my upcoming Artist's Along The Bitterroot Studio Tour (June 5-7). My studio has been a disaster area for a few years now and I have avoided it a lot this past year. With the excuse of not being motivated to create because of the death of my mom last June, I have not been making as much art as I have in previous years, or should be making. Since my mom was one of my biggest champions and certainly an inspiration for me, this is partially true. But the other part of it is that the room has just become a catchall for anything that can't find a home elsewhere in the house and I have let it become that.

 So this week I decided to tackle it and actually make myself throw out some things. Nothing that anyone else would want---an accordian folder of magazine articles with recipes and do-it-yourself projects that I will never make or do; clothing patterns that are not my size nor age appropriate and will likely never be made by me as I seem to have developed a strong aversion to clothing and home dec sewing; large cardboard boxes holding small amounts of little stuff that need to be sorted and put away; and magazines. Oh the never ending accumulation of magazines and the emotional parting of ways with them. What is that? Why do I get so attached to them? I rarely look at them again, unless they are Quilting Arts and I'm looking for advice on a new technique. I use Pinterest extensively for finding recipes so all those old cooking magazines that I never went back to anyways are now history, as well as any quilting magazines that are full of patterns and designs I will never use!

 I've now stuffed my drawers, cabinets, shelves and surfaces with about as much as they can bear. If I acquire anything else, something will have to go to make room for it. My fabric is falling over, dripping off, and sliding away from the shelves they are on and they definitely need to be sorted better. The towering piles that are two stacks deep are just not usefully displayed for me to use effectively. I need to acquire some more bins that I can label and fill with like fabrics by color or style (batik, hand-dye, etc). I do have a bunch of bins doing just that, but I ran out of empty ones. How long will it take me to go to the store and get more? Good question...
In the meantime, at least I can see and now use my sewing work spaces for pressing, cutting, and stitching. I can get near my design wall and I can access my fabric and beads. The carpet is no longer covered with stray threads and seed beads and the counters are relatively dust free! When I finish cleaning up the last details---things I don't have a place for and don't know what to do with—I will have a clean, albeit cluttered studio. So what mixed-media fiber artist does not have a cluttered studio?! No matter how big a space it was I would fill it up with stuff. The smaller space just means I have to be a little discriminating in what I purchase or accept from those would like to gift things to me. Buttons, beads, old clothes made of silk or suede, books, trims, and certainly fabric yardage are all things that well-meaning friends and acquaintances want to give me. I have begun to say “thank you, but no” to most of them. I did recently accept a couple boxes of fabric and some Handwoven magazines because I had interest in perusing them myself before passing them on. Haven't even looked in the boxes of fabric yet, but I may find something in there of value as they are yardages of good quality fabric according to the previous owner. Of course we all have different ways of qualifying “value” and it is somewhat proportionate to the size of our studio and storage space!

Hard choices, thoughtful organizing, and deadlines all work to make the studio a good working space that is enjoyable and functional. I had the deadline of making it presentable for a studio tour and that is good motivation. I always have worked best under deadlines. But now that it is clean I have no excuses for not going in there and, as Nancy Crow would say, Just Do The Work!  I'm ready!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

1000 Quilt Inspirations Book

I just got word that this new book, 1000 Quilt Inspirations by Sandra Sider, is now available.  Three of my pieces are included so I am excited to see the book!  If you go on Amazon there is a little video on one of the reviews that shows someone leafing through it.   It is also available through Barnes & Noble or from the publisher at qbookshop.com

It looks like a lovely picture book with lots of inspiration for all types of quilts. 

This the first time I have had my work published in a book.  The pieces I submitted were all small pieces created for the Studio Art Quilt Associates on-line fundraising auction held every year in the early Fall.  My pieces have always sold and I hope the recipients have enjoyed them.  I made them all especially for the auction so they are 12x12.

I am getting excited as well for another new opportunity for me.  I will be attending my first Studio Art Quilt Associates Conference in Portland at the end of April and am looking forward to meet many of the artists I admire and interact with on-line through the SAQA email list.  I was lucky enough to obtain a Montana Arts Council Grant that will pay for half of my costs for the trip.  The last two days I am there I will be visiting with my good childhood friend, Michelle, who lives in Vancouver just across the river from Portland.  It is has been a long time since I have had a vacation and I love travelling by myself.  I'm flying, which I also love, and staying in the conference hotel.  Portland here I come!