New Image Artists was founded in 1980 with eight members. At that time they were known as the New Image Quilters. Their goal was artistic expression through quilted pieces meant for exhibiting rather than the traditional use as bedcoverings. The group faced an uphill battle in getting quilts accepted as art since most people associated quilts with a home based scrap craft and not an artistic endeavor. The group’s first show, at the Art Barn in Washington, D.C. broke all gallery attendance records.
As the members became more comfortable working together, they took on collaborative challenges and produced works that showcased a variety of interpretations. Each artist responded in her own way to a theme or question, and was pushed to try new things. They encouraged each other and saw individual styles emerge while celebrating the diversity of expression. One of these pieces, “Never Done,” was composed of various portraits of a classic ironing board and became the first group quilt accepted by Quilt National.
Regular meetings allow members to share ideas on current work, and to support each other in pursuing exhibition opportunities. Works based on thematic interpretations form the basis of many of their group exhibitions. As part of the process, any member can propose a plan for a project. The finished pieces include work from all artists who have chosen to participate. The goal of this process is a lively cohesiveness in the group work, which gives a glimpse into the creative process of the artist who plans a project, and forces new ways of thinking for those embrace it.
New Image in its present form contains twelve active members. Because personal contact and active participation is highly valued by the group, affiliate and non-attending membership is not an option. As members have moved or re-focused their art priorities, new members are added by invitation pending a group review of submitted images and resume. Three of the original eight founding members of New Image remain active within the group.
Members of New Image continue to uphold their standard of excellence. Four current members were juried into Quilt National 2009, the premier international show of fiber art. Dominie Nash, Ginny Smith, Sandra Woock, and Catherine Kleeman are all showing work in 2009 exhibit. Sandra’s piece Blue Bamboo/Blue Breeze was given a Juror’s Award of Merit and Catherine’s Family Reunion won the “Persistence Pays” award. Dominie Nash was New Image’s representative in Quilt National 2011. This is Dominie’s sixth appearance in Quilt National. Catherine Kleeman’s work appears in Quilt National 2013. Ginny Smith will exhibit in Quilt National 2015. In the 30 year existence of Quilt National, 13 individual members of New Image have been juried into the show, in addition to the group quilt Never Done.
Left to right, front row: Sara Brown, Linda Colsh, BJ Adams, Ginny Smith, Lesly-Claire Greenberg, Cathy Kleeman
Back row: Dominie Nash, Candace Edgerley, Sue Pierce, Jeanne Benson, Joan Dreyer, Mary Beth Bellah, Verena Levine