Pat Bishop is a Wisconsin fiber artist who is largely self-taught. “I’ve sewn all of my life. I used to make
my all of my own clothes, and then when I had children and my friends had children, I started making
baby quilts.” In those early years, Pat drew inspiration from antique and traditional quilting, but over
time her style became more experimental.
“When I joined the Appleton Darting Needle Quilt Guild, I found a small community of fiber artists, an
off shoot of the guild, with shared interests and we really pushed each other,” Pat explains. The
members of this group would take turns coming up with themes and challenges designed to get
participants thinking in new ways. Suddenly, Pat was moving beyond traditional quilting and was
creating her own contemporary art using the tools she loved most: fabric and thread. This creative
growth encouraged her to learn more techniques, taking classes and experimenting on her own.
Pat mentions that she didn’t go to school for art and never dreamed she’d become a professional artist,
but with practice and dedication to her quilting, she began to get noticed. Over the years, her work has
been published in magazines, shown in fine art galleries, and she’s won international recognition for her
entries in art quilt venues. Now Pat is sought after to teach courses for those interested in fiber arts.
Today Pat works from her studio in Shawano, Wisconsin. “We built a home here and my studio is on the
second floor with patio doors that overlook a lake. It’s very serene.” Pat explains that this is the perfect
setting for the work she loves to create: “Nature is the biggest inspiration for me. I also draw ideas from
architecture, old buildings, and farms. You can find all of these themes in my work.”
Most of Pat’s fiber art is done on a machine. The process includes cutting, fusing, pressing and stitching.
Pat hand dyes much of the fabric she uses, upcycles materials that have been discarded, incorporates
bold colors, and loves raw edges that add to the texture of each piece. In addition, she uses “thread
painting,” a machine embroidery technique which incorporates fine colors to add highlights and
lowlights to her compositions.
“I really enjoy Georgia O’Keeffe’s simplicity and bright colors, and Andrew Wyeth’s watercolors have
certainly had an influence on me.”
“Much of my work is based on photo graphs and I translate those into quilts. More and more, I am
experimenting with abstraction.”
“I constantly have the desire to try new things, but feel that there just isn’t enough time.”
“Being asked to teach more frequently is something that I’m very proud of. In 2023 I will be teaching
with the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts. I was invited to be part of a two person show with
Pat Filzen, another fiber artist at the ArtSpace Collective Inc. in Oshkosh this September 2-22. I’ve also
had the opportunity to exhibit in global shows with Studio Art Quilt Associates, and my work appeared
on the cover of Quilting Arts Magazine.”
To learn more about Pat Bishop’s fiber art, visit her website, www.patbishop.info, or her Instagram feed,
WVA’s new monthly blog feature, Artists Inspiring Artists, is intended to connect our visual arts
community by sharing members’ personal stories of artistic evolution, creative processes, struggles, and
celebrations. Each month, blogger Mara Duckens will highlight a different artist. Have you got a story to
share? Please reach out to Mara at email@example.com to be featured.