Grace Earl

Grace Earl

Grace taught art at Chicago's Art Institute for many years, and following her retirement she decided it was time for a change and moved to California. However, this proved to be an unsettling development since the environment was foreign to Grace and she didn't know anyone. It took her nearly one year to settle down and during those months she watched TV for hours on end. Grace finally decided to make a quilt to challenge herself. Similar to her work at the Art Institute, Grace considers fabric to be her palette and she uses a design board to study the movement and rhythm of different arrangements.

Grace Earl was born March 11, 1903 in Arcadia, Kansas. Educated at Columbia University and the Art Institute of Chicago, Grace went on to become a Professor of Design at the Art Institute. Inspiring students with her spirited teaching style, she influenced young artists at many colleges and universities, including the University of Hawaii, Massachusetts State College and Lords Art School in Evanston, Illinois. She retired from teaching in the late 1960s and moved to San Francisco to revive her childhood art form of quilting. The piecework Grace practiced as a child influenced the complex quilts she created in retirement: queen sized creations made up of tiny squares patterned into sophisticated designs. After her death on March 10, 1997 - a day before her 95th birthday - Grace's final work was discovered: a crazy quilt with 2 needles still stuck in it.

Related links:

Quilts as canvas (PBS)- short video clips featuring eight contemporary quilt artists

Art Institute of Chicago

One of the most historically important collections, including 60 quilts shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in 1971