Lydia Neuman’s Homespun Wisdom

Lydia Neuman makes quilts that are as dazzling and colorful as tropical birds in flight. Looking at them is almost like looking into a kaleidoscope. Their colorful patterns produce shimmering optical illusions as the eye glances over them.

Quilting is often considered a quaint, archaic hobby, but Neuman’s quilts, with their strong geometric patterns and skillful use of color, are utterly contemporary.

“A lot of people come up to me at the fair to tell me about the quilts their grandmothers made,” says the Portland, Me.-based Neuman. “It’s true that I use historical patterns, but with modern variations that are my own. It’s amazing because the same patterns pop up in lots of different cultures. The keystone shapes I use in some of my quilts show up in pre-Columbian art as well as early American quilts.”

Her designs manage to be historical and contemporary, abstract and tactile, and artistic and domestic—a good combination for these times when consumers, coming off a several year high-design binge, are rediscovering the pleasures of a cozy home.

Neuman’s company, Midwinter Quilts produces both ready-made quilts and specially commissioned pieces for residences, contract interiors, public installations, and corporate collections.

This is Neuman’s first trip to the ICFF. “Coming here was kind of a last-minute decision,” she says. “But it’s been great to meet people interested in my work.”

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