In the Studio with Yvonne Porcella and an Invitation to Her Retrospective Exhibit

Yvonne Porcella

Yvonne Porcella, pioneer in the art quilt world and founder of Studio Art Quilt Associates, is not only donating a Fiber BONUS to Foto/Fiber 2012, but also an artwork for the Foto/Fiber Drawings.  She is generously participating in our fundraiser for the American Cancer Society despite the fact that her career retrospective exhibit opens tomorrow, January 17 with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at The Carnegie Art Center, Turlock, CA. The  Gallery opens January 18 from 10:00 p.m.- 5:00 pm Wednesday to Sunday.

According to the Carnegie Art Center Executive Director and Curator, Rebecca Phillips Abbott, “We are extremely proud to honor Yvonne Porcella.  She is a remarkable textile artist whose works today are in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; the de Young Museum of Art; the Museum of Art & Design in New, NY; the Phoenix Art Museum; and numerous others.” The Carnegie’s retrospective exhibit will trace Porcella’s career from her earliest works up to and including the present.  “In the process, ” says Abbot, “we are all given the opportunity to celebrate and honor a life’s work.”

1.  Tell us about your current studio.

When we purchased a home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, I gave up a large studio in our former home that overlooked a beautiful almond orchard. The new studio is nestled in a forest.

I am very fortunate to have a large studio, actually two rooms. One room is a former bed room, it proved to be difficult to work in due to the lighting on the east wall. It became a “prep room” and storage with cupboards along the east wall that hold my fabrics, books and other supplies.

The big room was added onto to the back of the house and it holds my 8 ft. by 4 ft. table that also has storage on the lower shelf. The table is high as I usually work standing up. My sewing machine is on a lower shelf off one end of the table.

When we built this room I searched antique plumbing shops for a perfect deep sink for fabric painting and washing fabrics. This corner of the room holds paints, brushes and more shelves for my irons and boxes filled with drawings and mixed media supplies.


The studio has an outdoor deck, (perfect for fabric painting) windows on the north side look  out at a forest, on the west side I added a little “nook” for sitting, reading, or entertaining. The crystal chandelier was a fun addition to a mountain house with knotty pine vaulted ceiling.


Part of Yvonne’s Fiber BONUS for Foto/Fiber 2012.
Includes hand-painted fabric, bleach pen drawn face, and more.


I have treasures around the studio for inspiration, things I like to look at, reminders of friends.

The covers of my books are framed as well as posters of my works. Most people who visit  my studio think this room would make a great game room with a pool table in place of my work table. Guess that is a good thing if we ever sold the house but I think the room makes a perfect studio.

Just for reference, I am a two-year cancer survivor still undergoing chemotherapy. I had to be away from my studio for most of 2010, closer to medical care. But it was wonderful to have my studio space for when I could be there. A project could be left in progress to be worked on when I was able. I managed to make some wonderful new quilts and I am honored to have a career retrospective exhibit opening January 18, 2012 and closing March 14, 2012. The curator of the exhibit is putting together about 50 art quilts that were created in my “perfect studios” over the years.

Yvonne Porcella: Teal Flower for OV. 6×9″ Mini-quilt.
The drawing for this artwork will be from the 90 patrons of Foto/Fiber 2012
whose lives or the lives of ones they love have been affected by cancer.
(Note from V. – I’m thinking it will be all 90, no?)

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01 2012

2 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. 1

    speaking for all aspiring quilt artists, “W’Yvonne-to be just like Ms. Porcella, a brave, adventurous, pioneering, original, and inspirational artist!

  2. Kristin McNamara Freeman #

    Wonderful Virginia to see again Yvonne’s wonderful studio space. I viewed a video by Ricky Timms several weeks ago and enjoy seeing the woman who changed my ideas about fabric back in the early 70’s when she presented a workshop about making clothing based on Folkwear patterns. Thank you for this presentation and focus on a woman who has been such an inspiration to fiber workers for many years.