bio of the artist

lily diament-hansen

For over five decades I’ve dabbled in a variety of art mediums. Not until I began painting with fabric, did I find my niche. I can now aver that I’m a textile artist.

I’ve spent my life surrounded by fabric and thread. My father was a ladies fashion designer and pattern maker. Being raised in the confined space of a NYC apartment, I shared my bedroom with my dad’s treadle sewing machine. I’ve tried my hand at both traditional and modern quilting on a sewing machine, but did not derive the same satisfaction or sense of creativity that I derive from hand quilting. Sewing by hand allows me to mold and shape whatever it is I’m depicting. I use embroidery stitching to enhance color and add dimension.

It began rather innocently, when my grandson was transitioning from a crib to a bed. My daughter found a solar system duvet on a store website, sent me the link and confidently stated I could doubtlessly make a nicer one. I’d sewn patchwork and crazy quilts before, however, this was not only challenging, but more exacting. Unable to say no to her or my only grandchild, my creative juices began to flow. That first quilt included the planets in their orbits, a 3-dimensional space shuttle, and the Milky Way. To make it all the more real, countless stars were sewn for the actual quilting (attaching the front panel, cotton batting, and back panel).

That solar system quilt still adorns my grandson’s bed, a decade later. Not long after its completion, my daughter said it was not fair that she did not have a hand sewn quilt and requested a coral reef theme. It was shortly followed by a request for a kelp forest for the guest room. Before I put down my needle, came a request for a Redwood forest. Specifically the forest around the University of California Santa Cruz campus. That one now hangs on a wall. After a brief hiatus, there was a request for a desert quilt depicting the Sonoran desert and Chiricahua Mountains. It takes a year to complete a large quilt, sewing many hours a day.

At the first Bainbridge Island Quilt Show in which I participated, someone offered to purchase the solar system quilt. When I declined, he asked if he could commission me to make another. I was flattered, but had to decline because my grandson said he wanted to have the only one. I’ve since accepted several commissions for hand sewn mid-sized wall panels.

I’d been living in New York, but relocated to Bainbridge Island several years ago, at about the same time that I finished that desert quilt. My life long reverence for nature inspires the imagery I create using fabric and thread. Creating under seascapes emboldens me to explore a region I likely won’t dive into. Creating ‘leaded/stained’ glass panels in fabric was a challenge I gave myself as an alternative to working in actual glass. Walks in the Grand Forest on Bainbridge Island inspired a quilt for a wall in my new home. Living in the Pacific NW, in vicinity of many First Nations people has inspirited themes of relevance to their history.

With each successive quilt, my technique evolved and developed into what I consider to be my ‘signature’ style. I take delight in ‘painting’ nature scenes. Finding the right fabrics ignites my creativity and impassions my spirit. Quilting feeds my soul.