Gwen Marston - Quilter (home page)
lectures & talks updated 13 April 2015

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Gwen Marston's
Liberated Quilting Page

Gwen's schedule for 2017

As of 2017 I'm retiring from teaching. Noel Coward said, "Work is more fun than fun," and I wholeheartedly agree. But then there's Fred Astaire who quit dancing when he was 67 explaining that "At my age I don't want to disappoint anyone, even myself."

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Quilting has enriched my life in many ways. Most importantly, I've met many wonderful people and made life-long friends. Of course we will stay in touch. Still, it's time for me to bid adieu to teaching quilt making. I will still be making quilts, but I will now have more time for making soup, and other things I enjoy doing.

There are however, several things that are going on in 2017.

An exhibit of my work will be shown at the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum in La Conner, Washington. The dates are Jan 4 - March 28, 2017. The exhibit will feature my abstract quilts in solids.

Jan 4 - March 28. Gwen Marston Exhibit: LaConner Quilt and Textile Museum, LaConner, Washington
March 24 - 27 LaConner Museum class and lecture.

April 3 - June 27. Gwen Marston Exhibit: Back Porch Quilt Shop. Pacific Grove, CA.

June 15 - 17. Gwen Marston Exhibit at the Kansas City Quilt Show.

July 2 - Sept. Exhibit of Gwen's students work, arranged by Pat Cox: Back Porch Quilt Shop, Pacific Grove, CA.

I may be retiring from teaching, but I wonder if you would be interested in letting me come into your home and show you some of the things I have shared in my classes through the years. I have two online classes that enable me to do just that!

The first class is Liberated Quiltmaking.

The second class is called Abstract Quilts in Solids.

In August Martingale Press is publishing a 144 page hard cover retrospective of 80 of my quilts. They are showing page photographs of each quilt and a facing page with closeups of the quilt. It's mostly just pictures of the quilts, with just a little bit of text. People can preorder from Martingale.

" Gwen's new friend: One of the nicest parts of my work as a traveling quilt teacher is that I make friends all over the country. Recently I stayed with a quilter I've known for some time, but had never met her companion, the adorable and very sweet Cleo, who often sits on top of the sewing machine while Linda sews. You gotta love that!"


Small Studies (intermediate to advanced) and Liberated Stars (intermediate to advanced)

Bio, Lectures & Workshops 

New book

37 Sketches

It's a really beautiful book too! 37 Sketches is both an artfully designed and beautifully made book. It shows my new work built on the idea of exploring the elements of design by constructing small studies, which I quickly began to think of as sketches. I began to see these sketches in much the same way as a painter does in using sketches to explore technique and to work out color and composition ideas. These pieces are abstract compositions, worked primarily in solids. Constructing these 37 sketches provided me with a valuable and expedient way to explore new technique, color, and composition. I explain my process for making these small studies using my liberated, improvisational methods, of which many of you are very familiar, and discuss how the experience of making this series of sketches was like taking a crash course in design.

Pat Holly had this to say about 37 Sketches : "I am so excited about this book! You did a great job in the text also you explained your process very clearly and simply. This is not easy to do! Good job!" The page layouts are done in such an artful way that the text on the left page and the quilt on the right interact in a supportive way, as you can see in the two sample page spreads shown here. Patricia Ensey expressed it well by saying "The layout of the pages added greatly to the text, tying it to the art."

37 Sketches is off to New Zealand: I will be teaching at the National Quilt Symposium in Taupo, New Zealand in 2013 and have been invited to present a one-woman, month-long exhibit of the work shown in 37 Sketches at the Taupo Museum during July.

This book is beautifully crafted in the classical style and with attention to every detail. 37 Sketches is published in a first edition of 2,000 copies. The 96 page hardcover book has a Smyth sewn binding, is printed on 120 lb Gallerie Art Silk, and includes 37 color plates and additional illustrations of quilt details. The book is published by award winning Six Mile Creek Press, Ithaca, NY; printed in the United States by Capital Offset, Inc., Concord, NH; and bound by Acme Bookbinding, Charlestown, MA.

37 Sketches is available now and can be ordered from Gwen Books 

37 Sketches Book Reviews

Australian Homespun's magazine reviewed it in issue #104, calling it a "gorgeous little book," and one that is "Certain to become a collector's item." In describing the book they say "It is a generous sharing of ideas and an insight into how one of the legends of the modern quitmaking world works.

France's Quilt Mania reviewed it in their January/February issue: "This book, illustrated with thirty-seven studies (small quilts) is actually a foundation for a reflection and work about design and color in abstract composition."

Your last book is a book to love. Its straight forward and gets the reader focused on the form. I love everything about it.
Lee Pettigrew, Eugene, Oregon. 10/2011

Gwen has launched into a new way of creating. This book, illustrated with thirty-seven studies (small quilts), is actually the foundation for a reflection and work about design and colour in abstract compositions. It has even won an award which will be presented at the very prestigious 2012 New York Book Show in March!
Quiltmania, Issue 87, January/February 2012

Your book is over-the-top wonderful from the terrific quilts to the book's design! We're all in awe.
Julie Smith, Muir Beach, California. 2/7/2012

Links to 37 Sketches Book Reviews

This is a picture taken at Gwen's recent Beaver Island Quilt Retreat showing the display of quilts from her new book: 37 Sketches.

At Home With Gwen

At Home with Gwen Update Jan2014

Here we are into 2014 already. What happened to 2013? Didn't that buzz by quickly. In review, I was on the road a tremendous amount including five weeks in Australia and New Zealand, it's seems like I remember that I had a new book come out, and I conducted my 30th and my last Beaver Island Quilt Retreat, and that my dear friends, was indeed a BIG DEAL for me. My quilt retreats have been the one event that I have perhaps loved the most. I made life long friends there, as did a lot of the women who came for years, quite a number who came for 20-25 years. It was like a family reunion in which it just happened everybody was an experienced quilter so there were a lot of fabulous quilts that showed up for show and tell, and a lot of great quilts that got made there.

Because I love the retreats so much, it was difficult to figure out when and how I should give them up. I finally decided to follow the example of the Michigan auto workers who adhered to the "30 years and out" retirement plan, and 2013 was my 30th year. Another big issue for me was that, because I loved the retreats so much, I didn't want them to just end, and they aren't going to end. My old pals from forever ago, the very talented sisters Sue Nickels and Pat Holly are taking them over. Oh that's such good news. Both of them came to my retreat for years, and they know all about it, believe you me. They will do a bang up job, and if I were you, I'd sign up right away. You will have two excellent teachers who can answer all your questions, who have the reputation of being fabulous teachers, and are really really nice! Everything you need to know to register for the HOLLY GIRLS QUILT RETREAT is on Sue's webpage:

The truth is that I'm easing into retirement. As much as a truly love teaching, being on the road for 30 years takes its toll. I met a lot of great people all over the country, stayed with many really lovely women who I got to know quite well, all of which enriched my live immeasurably. I will miss many things about visiting guilds around the country, but I won't miss the travel. If you are one of the people who housed me when I visited your guild, I thank you again. My teaching schedule is as busy as usual through June of this year, and I'm going to some fabulous places too. Then, I don't have any teaching trips for the rest of the year. I will be home for the summer. I will be in my garden. I will be picking wild flowers in my woods. As usual, I will be entertaining my kids and my grandsons and my sister the month of August. And in our customary way, the adults will begin each day having our coffee and talking softy on the screened in porch; early, before the boys get up. Later we will all be walking single file on the narrow trail through the cedars to Little Sand Bay, our favorite beach on the shores of Lake Michigan. I will be teaching my grandson how to drive my pickup and in return, he will be rowing me around Barney's Lake in our little fishing boat.

In 2015 I have just a few jobs and all I plan on taking. And in 2016 I will have a few less. I do have a new book coming out this March, and several forthcoming articles coming out in 2014 for the American Quilter Magazine. As I said, I'm easing into retirement…not just screeching to a half! Now onto another subject. As Mark Twain once said "Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it." So, I've decided to talk about the weather.

The third week of January this year, Beaver Island got hit hard with bitter cold weather coupled with strong winds (as in 45 miles per) and heavy snow storms. These storms are called Alberta Clippers and they came to the island one right after another so the snow piled up, and up, and up. Here's how they work: Alberta Clippers form when warm, moist winds from the Pacific Ocean blow over the mountains in western Canada, where they develop into a storm over the Canadian prairies when they hit the cold winter air there. Then it gets caught in the jet stream which takes it south and in this case, right to Beaver Island. I have always thought the term "Alberta Clipper" had a sorta ominous ring to it, however there are two more notable Canadian weather delivery systems with even more apt names: the Saskatchewan Screamer and Manitoba Mauler which do seem to suggest possible peril. Brrrrr

The wonderful thing about living in the far north woods, is that Spring means something when it arrives. Seeing the first thin blade of anything green peeking through the snow is absolutely glorious. And daffodils? Heavenly…..Sublime!

My Home and Yard 

...Gwen Marston Quilt Designs on Tile

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NEW Here is an article that was published this past November 2012 in a wonderful free (Yes I said FREE) monthly . This article appears here with their blessing which is very nice.

Posted on January 27, 2012 by Darra Williamson

Alex Anderson and Ricky Timms posted a video of my quilt show at Back Porch on their blog page

How to contact Gwen
I'm not wired up yet here on Beaver Island, but please feel free to contact me at:

Gwen Marston
Box 155
Beaver Island, MI 49782

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