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Kathy Collins of Rancho Santa Fe spends hours at her sewing machine creating her award-winning wall art. Photo by Patty McCormac
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Quilter takes craft to a whole new level

RANCHO SANTA FE — When Kathy Collins starts talking about quilting, she takes passion to a whole new level. When she begins explaining about her craft, the excitement comes bubbling out.

Collins does not do traditional quilting used as bedding though.

Her quilting is quite a departure from the traditional squares and is considered an art form that is winning awards in competition around the nation.

One of the quilts created by Kathy Collins. Courtesy photo

“I’ve won a couple of seconds in three national competitions this year,” she said.

But that is not enough for Collins. She is still shooting for a first place which has eluded her somehow.

“I don’t care about winning prizes. It’s about winning first place. It’s about prestige,” she said.

She said her pieces fall into the category of wall art.

“I like to put on Swarovski Crystals, sequins and beading for embellishments. It is more like art on fabric.”

She said she has always loved art.

“It is one of my passions. My husband and I collect it,” she said. “We have an art gallery downtown in the Gaslamp District.”

She has been creating her art for about seven years, she said.

“I work on it most every day. Right now I’m doing a whole series on trees. It has a more oriental flair with cherry blossoms in the spring,” she said.

She gets a thrill out of entering her work in competition.

“I entered in the Paducah Kentucky show, the mother of all quilting shows,” she said. “I entered it the last week of December and I won’t hear until the third of March (if she has been accepted) and the show is in the summer.”

She said she thinks there is a small cash award for the winner, but again it is not about the money.

Recently, she entered a national competition for Swarovski Crystals with a theme of music.

Her entry was named “The girl with the crystal tattoo. Music to my eyes.”

It was a model wearing a garment with a crystal musical staff on the back made up of blue crystals.

“ I got into the semi-finals with about 30 others from around the nation,” she said.

She also entered a competition in a national magazine and took second place.

She is preparing for her next competition sponsored by “Quilt” magazine that is themed “West Coast Wonders.”

Collins decided against doing the obvious Golden Gate Bridge. She decided instead on the “gnarly” Monterey cypress.

“This is going to look cool,” she said.

She said the piece needs to be entered by the end of February for a show to be held in the summer.

In the past she has created wall art with women’s faces set in a labyrinth of color and she did a series of “Alice in Wonderland” one “with a stack of cups all wonky. It was very whimsical.”

“You can’t enter all the shows. You don’t have enough time,” she said.

And the criteria for judging are different at every show.

“Each show has its own staff of judges and you never know what they are looking for,” she said.


Michelle June 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

I would love to see your finished Monterey Cypress tree quilt for the West Coast Wonders competition.

marley June 23, 2013 at 9:11 pm


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