Map Quilting Part 2, An Artist Interview with Leah Evans

I’m so inspired by the map quilts I decided to make a little series… Here’s part 2 of 3…

I first introduced Leah last week in my Link Love, but this week we’re going to get to know her a little bit better with a glimpse into her world! Let’s welcome my first ever artist interviewee, Leah Evans!!


What inspires you? 

My current work combines aerial photography, maps, and satellite imagery. I also find myself drawn to the more minute systems of the microbial world. I enjoy the play in scale between magnified microbial life forms and remote sensing images of huge tracts of land. Both scales deal with the translation of scientific information into a visual form. At times, these separate bodies of work merge. The overlap is seen in vessel-like arteries of water, tundra pools that look cellular, and microbes that swim through topographic lines.


 Maps are obviously a huge inspiration. Why? What’s so exciting about a map? I know my answer, because I love them as well, but would love to know yours.

  It is the use of maps in organizing our ideas of land that interests me most of all. Often, people ask me for specifics about the places and symbols in my work. Most of my pieces are not based consciously on specific places. For me they are intimate explorations of map language and imagined landscapes. Through my research and experience, I have decided that maps create more questions than they answer.

Tank Farm

What is your favorite time of day?

Early morning.  I can only really work on quilting when the sun is up.

 Are you a full time artist or do you play a another role besides artist? 

Since my daughter’s birth last summer, I am now a stay-at-home-mother and artist.  Before that I was a full-time artist.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An artist or a park ranger.   

Is quilting your only artistic endeavor or are there more???? 

Gardening and crocheting rag rugs are my hobbies.

Red Lock System

How long does one quilt take? From the first inspiration to the last stitch? 

It’s pretty hard to say.  One piece may take a few days, another may take several months.  I may have an idea that I ruminate on for years before I start the actual piece.  Also, there are many processes that take place long before I start cutting, piecing, and embroidering.  Some days I dye fabric with no specific plans for how I will use it.  Some days I search for obscure fabrics or take apart vintage kimonos that I will repiece into wall pieces.

Red Irrigation

Out of all the quilts you’ve done, do you have a favorite? And do you still have it?

The first map piece I made is still one of my very favorites.  A friend of mine bought it, so I feel like I could visit it if I needed to.
Tell us about your studio? I’m assuming you spend a good deal of time there, so what are some of the items you have in there that make it a special place?

My studio is small, but it has three good-sized windows.  One wall is covered with spools of thread organized by color (which is everyone’s favorite part).  One window looks out onto a well-used bike path, so I feel like I have company throughout the workday.

Leah with Interchange

I have never done an artist interview and was thinking, I wonder how you get artists to be interviewed, Then it dawned on me, Hello… You just ask! And I was lucky enough for her to agree. It was that easy!! Thank you Laura for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your work!

The detail that first caught my eye with Leah was the uneven edges of her pieces. But as I looked I was drawn into the details. Laura uses so many different techniques in each of her pieces, including appliqué, reverse appliqué, piecing, natural and synthetic dyeing, needle-felting, hand printing, and embroidery stitches. 

I think the Isthmus-Nocturne is one of my favorites that leans towards my plans for the starry night sky. But I think my most favorite is probably Red Lock System. What’s yours???

If you haven’t signed up for the Valerie Goodwin giveaway do so soon! I’ll pick the winner Wednesday evening…

all images via Cartype