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The quilt was a very traditional piece called Grandmother’s Flower Garden. There was nothing artistic or original about it. She cut each piece with a cardboard template and sewed by hand. That first quilt is still an unfinished project. “I was a child of the ’60s, so the fabrics I used had a lot of orange and paisley with hot pink polka dots. These were all great fabrics from that era, but over the years I began to think it was just plain ugly. I remember taking it out once when my son was in high school and some of his girlfriends took one look and exclaimed where’d you get all of that cool fabric? I realized right then and there that beauty truly was in the eye of the beholder!” For several years Hansen stuck to the basics, creating traditional quilts. As she remembers it, “The transi- tion from traditional to art quilting was very gradual. At one point I was involved in doll making, which I really enjoyed, and I began experi- menting a bit more with the subject of my quilts.” In the late 1990s the Quilt Guild had a challenge and she made her first quilt with figures in it. Hansen enjoyed depicting the human form and found herself creating quilts that were actually portraits.


“I feel fortunate that I began pursuing art quilting when I did,” Hansen says, “For a long time, purists had an attitude that art quilting wasn’t legitimate. This is really changing. It used to be that if a quilt wasn’t stitched by hand, it wasn’t considered authentic.”


Over the last few years machine quilting has become more popular, and once this type of quilting began winning major prizes at quilt shows, attitudes changed. Now it is hard to find any shows that don’t have prize winners that are machine quilted. In fact, hand quilting has all but disappeared, Hansen observed. Hansen’s studio is her haven, which makes one of her favorite pastimes besides quilting keeping the studio stocked with fabrics. She loves to go fabric shopping̶and has a whole wall of fabric in her studio.


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