My sewing experiences started early with enrollment in the 4-H Club clothing project. The first efforts of two dish cloths and an apron were hardly successful. Nevertheless, I persevered and completed eight years of sewing plus winning many honors. Also, for seven years while I was in high school and college, I worked as a salesperson in a fabric store and once said to a customer, "I don’t know why you would want to take all this good fabric and cut it up in little pieces."She said, "Deary, some day you’ll understand."

These were the stepping stones for all that was to follow. In college I majored in Clothing and Textiles, graduated, married and became a mother. When the girls were in elementary school, I volunteered at their school teaching art to as many as eleven classes per week. Learning that teaching art was what I really wanted to do, I went back to college in art education. As part of that degree I chose a studio major in weaving / fibers and a variety of arts courses. After graduating I taught art at the seventh grade level, and with the summers free, our family participated in many craft fairs showing and selling pottery and an occasional weaving.

Formal Training and Organizational Memberships:

•  B.S. Clothing and Textiles, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, June 1962

•  B.S. Art Education, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, June 1976

•  Penland Craft School, Penland, North Carolina, Surface Design with Virginia Rivers, July 1981

•  Arrowmont Craft School, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Felting Workshop with Ewa Kunichek, July 1996

•  Arrowmont Craft School, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Improvisational Quilting with Nancy Crow, July 1997

•  Arrowmont Craft School, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Nassen Rice Paste Resist Dyeing with Akemi Cohen, June 1998

•  Arrowmont Craft School, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Doin’ It with Dyes and Pigments with Ed Lambert, July 1998

*  G Street Fabrics, Rockville, Maryland, Quilting Without a Patterm with Judith Larzelere, November 1998


•  The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, Member-at-Large, November 1991 to present

•  The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, Juried status in weaving, March 1997 to present

•  The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, Juried status in quilting, March 1999 to present. 

•  Harmony Weavers Guild, September 1982 to 1999

•  Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association, September 1982 to 1999

Other Interests:

Weaving, Sewing, Knitting, Basketry, Felting, Genealogy


My initial quilt was in the style of my grandmother’s "Around the World" pattern. By 1972 I had accumulated a large pile of scraps and decided to make a king size quilt from them. Little did I know that I had not enough scraps nor time for this major project. I finished it years later.

My next efforts were traditional quilts probably inspired by the bicentennial madness that was sweeping the country. At this point, I did not do my own quilting as I had found some church ladies that performed this task at a very reasonable rate.

I soon tired of the traditional patterns, colors and fabrics and ventured into unusual treatments of the still traditional quilts. "Borders Gone Awry" is an example of this. I also found that unusual fabrics were more to my liking. When other travelers sought souvenir shops, I went after fabric markets. African textiles purchased in the Caribbean can be found in most of my quilts. After a 1998 trip to Singapore, I came home loaded with 135 meters of batiks. On another vacation we made cyanotypes which I later assembled into three quilts. "St. Lucia Sunprints" is the name of one. The dye courses taken in 1998 inspired me to include hand dyed fabrics in more recent quilts. All fabrics used are 100% cotton.

The surface of the quilt is pieced by machine with no machine stitches being visible on the front of the quilt. This is backed with a batting of polyester or a polyester/cotton blend. The backing of the quilt is 100% cotton. I assemble the quilts in lap sized blocks, usually no larger than 45 inches square. This enables me to hand quilt the blocks in any location. I take them with me on vacation, to the doctor’s office, while waiting for a daughter’s piano lesson or in front of the TV. I’m very proud of my hand quilting stitch and have included a few details to show you close up what the work looks like (see the Craft of Quilting section). The back is as well done as the front.

Please e-mail me if you would like further information.

© Judith K. Hesselberth 2012