IMG_4900 2.jpg

Heidi Parkes Artist Statement

In my work, I create a scaffolding of fabric, piecing, and quilting that allows me to reference many ideas on a single plane. The raw materials are textiles from domestic culture, fashion, family heirlooms, and scavenged prints. I integrate them with fabrics that I have embroidered, stained, dyed, or designed. These materials are pieced together to create the main imagery of the quilt, like a collage. This cloth is then beset with hand stitches, evocative of the slow process involved in construction, and functioning as a layer of ‘drawing’ on the quilts surface.

When composing a quilt I rarely adhere to a set plan, relying instead on improvisation. Remindful of color field painting, I begin my work with a feeling, place, or theme. Looking to reconstruct my world, I employ aerial views, photographic documentation, and artifacts- all the while aware that my goal is far more complex than the visual of a single point in time. The moments I choose to replicate are unique to me, and simultaneously innumerable in the lives of others.

Like so many women before her, my maternal grandmother planned a collaborative quilt to celebrate my birth, and introduced me to the art of quilting. My work continues a family tradition, but congruently incorporates new information from varied quilting traditions, and my multidisciplinary training in art. Often inspired by painters, I feel an artistic connection with Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Mark Bradford, Julie Mehretu, Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, William Kentridge, El Anatsui, Do Ho Suh, the quilts of Gee’s Bend, and the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi.


‘Water’ at The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Art, August 15 - November 17, 2019

‘Modern Quilts’ traveling exhibition with The MQG, at the Whatcom Museum in Washington State till 8/25/2019

Public Speaking

I've lectured for quilt guilds, colleges, institute days, and special events.  Please email me at with inquiries about lectures, keynote speaking, and hands-on workshops.

Please enjoy the links to some of my recorded interviews below:

‘Make and Decorate’ Podacast, launching 7/4/2019

‘Modern Sewciety’ Podcast, episode #204

The 'Have Company' Podcast, episode #13

'Thought Mixing Bowl' Podcast with Matt Hanna, Episode #8

'Anja Notanja Asks' interview on the Riverwest Radio Station, on Soundcloud

'Fox 6' News Milwaukee filmed my quilts in the Fine Furnishings Show in Wauwatosa, Fox 6

'Creative Mornings Milwaukee' Lecture on collaboration, Our Audience


“Modern Mender: Heidi Parkes” An interview with Jessica Marquez

“The Art of Improv with Heidi Parkes” An interview with Jen Broemel

“The Creativity Project Week 39: Heidi Parkes” An interview with Kim Soper of Leland Avenue Studios

Huffington Post article about Heidi's quilts.

Creative Links

The Piecework Collective, is an annual exhibition of quilts in NYC in September.  Heidi exhibited with them in 2017.

Heidi is an instructor for the Modern Quilt Guild's annual QuiltCon.

Heidi is a member of the Midwest Fiber Arts Trail.