(Dianne Browning, Photo Credit: Amanda Conde)
STORY BY DAVID CLEWETT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DIANNE BROWNING
Dianne Browning is a professional seamstress and designer who fell in love with fabric and sewing as a young girl. Taught by her mother, she began sewing doll clothes and soon after was sewing all her own clothing throughout high school.
Her passion continued as she earned a bachelors degree in home economics/textiles and clothing in 1973. She continued learning how to make items for interiors of homes to express her creativity. In the 1970s and ‘80s as a quilt revival was happening, she decided to give that a try.
“I felt this would be a fun new way to sew something other than clothing. I bought a book on quilting and taught myself in the old traditional style. Over the years I kept trying different techniques and worked on design and color,” Browning reflected.
In 1990 Dianne started a sewing design business in Bend called Fabrications. She worked freelance with local interior decorators sewing custom bedding, window treatments, pillows and other accessories for homes. The high-end designer fabrics such as tapestries, suede, silk and textures, opened her creative mind to the quilting possibilities. The fabrics are typically heavier than quilting cottons and require special attention.
Dianne saved the leftover designer fabric scraps and over the years they have become a mainstay in creating some of the most unique and eye-catching art quilts in Central Oregon. She has designed and created over 55 original art quilts and 20 that are smaller and mounted on artist canvas.
In 2014 she had her first art quilt accepted for a juried show by SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) which has been internationally shown ever since. In 2015 her Moondance piece was accepted in a regional SAQA show and was on tour for two years.
Dianne’s creative process is inspired by a combination of music and nature and the fabrics too. “Sometimes it’s just a song title like Landslide or Moondance. One great inspiration that hit me a few years back were photos of Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona. So many curves and lines in the canyon walls offer unlimited design possibilities. I love designing with curved pieces as I feel it gives a greater feeling of movement and depth,” Browning said.
Dianne’s art quilts have a significant degree of depth and dimension which are accomplished through texture.
“I feel that textured fabrics offer a unique richness to my designs; dimension is added with the use of batting underneath and layering and quilting of the fabrics. Of course, the quilting itself can be a key component. Other embellishments such as beads, yarns and trims can add more texture. I try to make my art have that wow factor,” Browning explained.
She recently completed an art quilt in memory of her late husband Bob Browning called Sing, Dance, Laugh, Dream, Love. He was always there to critique her work, support her creativity and sometimes even contribute naming titles for completed pieces.
“The inspiration for the memory quilt came from our local chapter of SAQA. This year’s theme was Pathways. I felt I could give this meaning and reflect our life together. The quilt was shown at the Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show last summer,” Browning reported.
In the future, Browning would like to make more three dimensional fabric art and smaller pieces like quilted bowls that can sit on a coffee table. Many homes do not have space for a large feature quilt and people are frequently looking for a small accent piece.
Browning can be contacted at email@example.com and her work can be seen on her web site at www.bendartquilts.com.