Improvisational quilt artist, author and workshop facilitator
Martha Jane Petersen's
                  Artistic Expressions

 Martha Jane Petersen's Quilt Gallery

"Instead of selling my quilts, I prefer to exhibit them
as a component of my ministry." 

Martha Jane Petersen is an improvisational quilt artist creating fabric wall hangings. This means her creations arise from her imagination, not from quilt books with set patterns, designs and instructions. In her quilt making she pre-plans nothing and does
not know where she is going when she begins. 

"When the urge to create a new quilt arises I simply step forward 
to choose fabrics which seize my attention."

In her studio she repeatedly tries various arrangements of these selections. Attempting to discern a path without knowing the end result, she trusts that she will find her way. 

"I make decisions as artistic choices present themselves. 
Intuition and a sense of what feels right, 
plus a swell of energy guides me step-by-step."

Each time the pattern unfolds as she proceeds.

Tree of Life
​23 x 27" - NFS
Commercial cottons
Machine pieced
Embroidered and hand quilted

The complementary colors of red and green express the vibrancy of life with God. Unlike most of my quilts, I planned this one when I saw a pattern in a fabric shop which inspired it. Reverse applique along with embroidered stitching enlivens the pattern of stylistic leaves and branches. 
Now (Dimly) And Then (Face To Face)
15.5 X 14" - NFS
Hand-painted on commercial cottons
Appliqued, stamped and embellished
Machine quilted

An attempt to depict the dimness in our present life (with the stamped spirals on the left) which moves toward clarity that comes with Resurrection (the appliqued spirals on the right). Phrase comes from I Corinthians 13:12: "Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then, face to face."

Sanctuary
11/5 X 20" - NFS
Sheer and shiny commercial fabrics 
Hand and machine stitched 
Embellished

The layers of sheer fabric strips imposed on a hand painted background evokes a sense of mystery and a focus on the triangular symbol of the Trinity in the center. The beads at the bottom anchor the strips.
Sun Of My Soul
18 X 18" - NFS
Commercial and hand-painted cottons
Beaded and hand-stitched

If Jesus is the "sun of my soul" (as the first line of a hymn suggests), then all darkness is dispelled, which this quilt attempts to portray. The piece incorporates beads radiating out from the center, representing the sun's rays beaming into all corners.
Dance In The Darkness
33 X 23" - NFS
Hand stamped, painted and dyed cottons
Black wool
Embellished and hand tied

The quilt arose as a response to September 11, 2001. I re-composed the design six times because it resisted coming together, probably due to the heaviness we were all feeling around that horror. Joyful colors intruded themselves into the quilt, which I came to believe represented faith and hope in the midst of the tragedy. The piece testifies that a holy joy can emerge even in our darkest times.  

Ruach - Weaving The Creation
41 x 50.5" - NFS 
Commercial cotton fabrics
Embroidered and embellished
Machine quilted

The quilt depicts the weaving of creation "in the beginning" by Ruach, the Hebrew word for spirit/wind/breath in the Old Testament. Circular embroidery, beading, as well as fabric images suggest creation spinning out of the heart of God. Raw-edged torn strips are woven across the surface, interspersed with images of fish, bird, star, moon, insects, flowers and humans.