Louise Wheeler, Tumbling Blocks Clay Quilt, 2022, 20 ½ x 15 inches, ceramic tiles, embroidery thread.
For the past 5 years, Louise has been inspired by the rich history of textiles and fiber art and craft. Over the centuries, women around the world have created beautiful patterns from fiber and fabric, knitting, crocheting, stamping, and sewing patterns to make lace, doilies, quilts, and much more. Textiles and fiber crafts were made at home by novices and masters, or in commercial settings using machines and textile operators. Due to their delicate nature and their use as functional pieces, some of the most beautifully crafted quilts, lace, and doilies have been lost by wear and tear, while others are preserved in museums or handed down through the generations. Louise uses lace, doilies, and block printing stamps to make patterns in clay, which she then cuts into tiles and glazes to highlight their textures, finally stitching or assembling them to make what she calls Clay Quilts. Louise recreates quilt patterns or textile motifs as an homage to all the beautiful textiles and fiber art that has been made by women over the centuries and uses them as inspiration for her own style of textured tile art.
Louise Wheeler has been taking ceramics classes at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey since 2003. Initially working both on the wheel and hand building, she eventually migrated to only hand building and found her passion in making tile art. Louise has taught a tile class at VACNJ and numerous online workshops via zoom, where she has met like-minded artists from all over the world. She has shown her work at Mondo (Summit), the public libraries in New Providence, Somerset, and Florham Park, and in group and juried shows at VACNJ; Center for Contemporary Art (Bedminster); Studio Montclair; the Rotunda Gallery, Jersey City City Hall; Locals Art Gallery (Asbury Park); Watchung Art Center; and the Art Center of Harrisburg (PA). Louise donates her work to fundraiser auctions for VACNJ, Center for Contemporary Art, and Habitat for Humanity. When she’s not doing art, Louise tutors students in math, plays table tennis, and enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.