Art at Argo’s: Deborah Melton Anderson

As the weather changes and the snow falls it seemed only appropriate to adorn our showroom walls with the intricate and cozy quilts of Deborah Melton Anderson. It’s been our plan to eventually add textiles to our Art at Argo’s exhibition and it is with great pleasure that we found Deborah and her gorgeous quilt-making. We love her approach of traditional styles and hand stitching integrated with modern machine stitching. It is this method combined with Deborah’s imaginative way of creating perfectly appointed patterns that really sets her quilt work apart.

About the Artist

Deborah has come a long way from her days in her small hometown of Columbia, Missouri. It was there where she learned to sew at an early age and made much of her dolls’ clothing. She stayed in Columbia and attended University of Missouri. Later when her father, a college educator, accepted a position at a university in New York, it took little convincing for Deborah to decide to follow her family. It was the perfect opportunity for Deborah to spread her wings and experience a new type of lifestyle in the big city. She was accepted to Barnard College in Manhattan and found the experience truly opened her eyes in new way. The city definitely exposed Deborah to new ideas through museums and lifestyles. Although, art was not her major in college, she later received her Masters of Art in Teaching at Harvard University. It was there where she would meet her husband-to-be. In 1960 their paths brought them to Columbus, Ohio. After all, her husband was originally from the state.

As sewing had always been a part of Deborah’s life, it came quite naturally to incorporate her teaching skills with her hobby. She taught quilting techniques at Quilt Surface Design Symposium (QSDS). She was also a member of the Art Quilt Network for many years and it was there that she really began to share ideas with other members in the group which helped hone her skills, techniques and ideas. Deborah was also a member of The Liturgical Art Guild of Ohio. This resource for many congregations was “the place” for them to locate artists to create religious pieces for their churches. In fact, this is where Deborah began much of her commissioned work for churches and Jewish temples. A few of many items she has created are Torah covers and wedding chuppahs. Today, this is still a favorite for Deborah. She mainly only accepts commissions from churches and then focuses on selling the quilts she continues to make for her own enjoyment.

“Kentam”, a Deborah Melton Anderson quilt inspired by kente cloth.

What Inspires Her Work

Deborah states her inspiration comes from, “A lifetime habit of looking for patterns in my surroundings, a practice of capturing them on film and digitally, and the privilege and passion of collecting textiles, all inform the pieces exhibited here. Color and pattern reign supreme in my world. Those tiny dots of metered mail “stamps” and the QR codes caught my eye years ago and have been  worked into many of the pieces (heat transfer works).  All quilted with big stitches, the signature of the hand, the spirit of making and enriching the surface. The indisputable quilts draw upon tradition but with multiple pattern and color choices in the process, despite the initial auditioning of fabrics..the “core few” choices, the “maybes” and the many that go back onto the shelf.”

It’s very apparent in Deborah’s quilts that color and pattern are the dominant forces that have her official trademark. It also only makes sense that she has a passion for collecting textiles from around the world. Her collection began with Turkish rugs and has since evolved to many other Turkish textiles and other places such as African kente cloths with their intricate woven strips and American textiles like those from the Quakers. She loves seeing how different groups of people use color and in our opinion has mastered the poetry and rhythm of quilt making.

Another aspect of her quilt making which we love is Deborah doesn’t use the usual calico or quilt shop fabrics. She enjoys finding her fabrics from secondhand shops and often searches for interesting patterns in men’s used shirts. We are always fanatics here for truly one-of-a-kind objects .

To see her work for yourself don’t miss her exhibit at Argo & Lehne Jewelers.

“Stamp” showing the inspiration taken from the QR code on metered mail.

“Diamonds, Squares and Triangles” quilts by Deborah Melton Anderson

Jan 4 – March 27, 2020

Artist Meet & Greet

Jan 23, 2020; 5 – 7pm.

Here’s a chance to discuss in person Deborah’s techniques and inspiration. She is a true delight and a wealth of quilting information.

To view Deborah’s quilts in advance visit our Art at Argo’s current collection of work.