This Month's Artist Exhibition


Katie McGrath: Color + Thread = Art


January 2 - February 23

Opening reception: 7-9 p.m. on Friday, January 4

Read more in the Oakland Press

Highland, MI, December 17, 2018  – Color + Thread = Art, the work of Brighton-based Katie McGrath, Fiber Artist, will be on display at Huron Valley Council for the Arts, 205 W. Livingston Road in Highland,  starting Jan. 2, 2019. A gallery reception for the exhibit will take place from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 4.  Those attending will have an opportunity to meet McGrath and view her art quilts while enjoying light refreshments.


McGrath stated, “This exhibit represents my most recent fiber work and expresses the theme of ‘Color + Thread.’” She added, “I love commercially printed fabric with its variety of textures and patterns. I also dye my own fabrics, often stamping or stenciling an additional layer of pattern. This collection is a representative selection of my palette and design sensibilities. It is presented to engage and intrigue the viewer.”

In Color + Thread = Art, she explained, “What I hope to achieve is to bring the viewer in for a closer look. I want the work to be interesting, colorful, intriguing, delightful, fun. I chose quilting and fabric many years ago as the medium to express my creative side, and I have never been bored since. I only regret that I have but one lifetime to use up my considerable collection of fabric!”

An Art Quilt-Making Workshop using free cut piecing/drawing with a rotary cutter will be led by McGrath and Mary Bajcz, another art quilter and a member of HVCA's The Art Shop artist collective. It will take place on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a “snow date” of Saturday, Feb. 2. The cost is $50. Additional information about the class, as well as materials, may be found here.

McGrath described her artistic process. “I usually begin a new piece by planning a design (although it may be very preliminary, such as “sew stripes”),” she said. “Then I access my extensive collection of fabric and pull out possible color combinations. Both the approach and the fabric choices may change as I put pieces on my design wall. They usually do, in fact.”

She has “been exploring color and design in fabric for almost 40 years” as a quilter and fiber artist in Michigan. “I began with traditional patterns for bed quilts, and in the last two decades have expanded my work into art pieces, both machine-stitched and hand-stitched,” she explained. “Some include my hand-dyed or stenciled fabrics, mostly cottons and silks.”

Sometimes, McGrath just wings it. “Many of my works are improvisational or variations on traditional quilt patterns with original color and fabric combinations. The viewer may recognize ‘quilt blocks’ in some of the pieces, but the fabrics and compositions go in unexpected directions. The pieces represent a variety of styles, but the consistent theme is the celebration of color.”

She thinks deeply about her work, asking hard questions: “Should art be meaningful? Should it be political or philosophical? Must it speak to the issues of the day?”

She emphasized, “I have never thought that art should be limited to a work with a message (although there is certainly room in the world for this kind of art). I agree with Archibald MacLeish, who wrote in his poem, ‘Ars Poetica’: ‘A poem should not mean, but be.’ Art should not mean, but be.’”

She concluded, “My art is inspired by my love of color and fabric, and by the artistic influences of the great colorists of the past (think Gauguin, Monet!). My garden, a remembered sunset, a serendipitous collection of fabric scraps on the floor – inspiration is everywhere. The enjoyment of these pieces contains an added layer of appreciation for any viewer who remembers snuggling under a favorite quilt.”

McGrath is a long-time Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild member who’s studied with a number of nationally- and/or internationally-known quilters. Her other exhibits include the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild Biennial Quilt Show (1994-present), Voices Art Gallery, U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center (2008), South Lyon Cultural Arts Commission’s Juried Quilt Art Show (2016 and 2017), Northville Art House joint exhibition with Kathryn Schmidt (2019) and Evenstar’s Chalice, an art gallery based in Ypsilanti (2017-present). She also shares her work online at her blog (, which includes her current work, including works in progress, as well as an archive of her quilt pieces.

Gallery hours for Color + Thread = Art are from 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays Jan. 2 through Feb. 23.

For information about the workshop, go to


Written and submitted by Anne Seebaldt, PR writer/editor, 248-505-6746

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Gallery & Art Shop Hours
Tuesday10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Wednesday - Friday 1:00 pm  - 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sunday - Monday Closed

Huron Valley Council for the Arts
205 West Livingston Road
Highland, MI 48357


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