I live in British Columbia, Canada, where the rural surroundings, the sea and the forests have made an indelible impression on my work, inspiring many nature-themed quilts. I also make medallion quilts, abstract quilts, and quilts with swirling spiral designs.
I moved from Seattle to British Columbia in the mid-seventies. I was an occupational therapist, but became a weekend hippie, making quilts and selling them at craft fairs. When I started quilting, there were few quilting books available, and so I figured out my own methods, techniques, and design aesthetic.
Eventually, I wrote a quilting book myself, to show others how to make medallion-style quilts without following a pattern or copying anyone else's design. "The Careless Quilter: Decide-As-You-Sew, Design-As-You-Go Quiltmaking" is out of print now, but I still have a few copies for sale.
For many years, I lived on the north coast of British Columbia, on a small island near Prince Rupert, and was very involved in making quilts with my friends there. I still participate in group-made friendship quilts with these women.
Kristin Miller with her environmental activism quilt, 'Shielding the Coast'.
After I moved to Gabriola Island in 2000, I became part of the vibrant arts community there. Having a larger workspace meant I could more easily create large and complex quilts.
I'm the founder of the Positive Energy Quilters, an activist group on Gabriola that has made several dozen quilts to address environmental issues. Our most recent effort was the UnspOILed Coast Quilt Project, to raise funds and raise awareness about the Kinder Morgan TransMountain Pipeline and the need to protect the B.C. coast from oil spills.
Lately, I feel like my quilts sometimes have more energy than I do!
I recently moved to Powell River, a small coastal city on BC’s Salish Sea. I am still settling in, learning to garden, and getting to know my new community. And of course, I am still making quilts, though perhaps at a slower pace.