Kate Stiassni STUDIO



Kate Stiassni is a nationally exhibited textile artist and quiltmaker. She began her work with textiles following two other creative careers, as a journalist and as a designer/builder.  She worked for CBS News for 20 years covering stories for THE EVENING NEWS, 60 MINUTES, and SUNDAY MORNING WITH CHARLES OSGOOD.  She is a Principal in the real estate design firm IMAGINE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION.

Kate Stiassni currently divides her time between her real estate ventures for IMAGINE DESIGN and her textile studio. She started making quilts in 2008.  She credits Margaret Stiassni and Oswald Savage, grandparents on both sides of her family who were exhibiting artists as catalysts for her career as a fiber artist. 

Sophisticated curves and shapes assembled into highly colorful, abstract designs are a trademark of a Kate Stiassni quilt.  She utilizes traditional quiltmaking techniques in that her works are machine pieced and either hand or machine stitched through three layers.  However, her vivid, original designs which are intended to be hung, take her work into the realm of contemporary fine art.

Kate Stiassni’s exhibits her award-winning textile work nationally in art galleries, museums, and juried exhibitions. She has had solo exhibitions at galleries in Connecticut, New York, and at The Visions Arts Museum in San Diego, CA. She has had her works accepted into the QUILTS=ART=QUILTS international exhibition at The Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY for four consecutive years. She is a member of the Surface Design Association, Studio Art Quilt Associates, and the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council.

She graduated from the University of Vermont and has studied at the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University, at the Parsons New School of Design, and at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She has also studied with internationally-renowned fiber artists Nancy Crow, Dorothy Caldwell, Carol Soderlund, and Jan Myers-Newbury.


The choice of working with textiles came very naturally to me. I love the tactile and supple nature of fabric and its ability to absorb the rich colors that form my palette. I strive to express energy and movement in my work, but I also create spaces that allow the eye to pause or pivot in its journey. I’m fascinated with how these spaces can change from one viewing (or viewer) to the next, as the relationship between figure and ground emerges and collapses in perceptual shifts. 

Many of the motifs in my work are abstractions of things I see around me - from the architecture and urban environs of NYC to the wooded hills of Northwest CT. It may be a distant view, the stark line of a building, or the subtle curve of a branch that sparks a new thought. The influence of urban and rural places may also explain why I’m drawn to both angular geometric shapes and curving organic forms. 

Some of my recent works, including "Shaping Space," "Between Light and Shadow," and “The Embrace” are an elaborate exploration of curves and contours as they mingle and intertwine. The expressiveness of a curved line can be so serene, or evocative, and the interplay between colors and forms as they appear to weave through space intrigues me, despite the technical challenges. This series is a contrast with the straighter lines and geometric abstractions, such as in the "Permutations" series, in the "Compositions with Triangles," and "A Tall Order." These new works began with the most basic of geometric forms - the triangle. I am using color, form, and stitching to create a dancing pattern that holds together, but might also be falling apart within the push and pull of space.  

I usually begin with a simple idea, arranging and constructing (or deconstructing) abstract compositions until I feel a harmonic tension or unity.  Color also comes into play, and I choose my palette from hand-dyed fabrics that provide me with a wide range of values. I think of my process as being very intuitive, but when it’s time to join the pieces together, each stitch is made with thoughtful intent, fastening the layers and adding textural depth. I’m a firm believer that every cut, line and stitched seam leads somewhere, so I try to remain open to the process, to change and variation, and to exploring both traditional and modern techniques. 

I feel very lucky to be doing work that I love, inspired by the world around me. And I hope that my joy in creating this work touches those who view it.

I became a fiber artist and quiltmaker because I love the idea of rendering shape, line, and color with the medium of cloth. I create my quilts with hand-dyed fabrics which I like to think of as my paints!  The quilts are both hand and machine stitched.  I enjoy the challenge of putting together technically difficult configurations. It is a bit like solving a puzzle, figuring out how all the different pieces fall into place.

Patterning, juxtaposing color, arranging, restructuring, allowing for serendipity -- these are some of the words I think about when trying to explain how I approach a composition. I am a big believer that every cut, every sewn seam eventually leads somewhere.  Sometimes I work from sketches, either in fabric or on paper, which I “grow” into larger finished quilts. However, often I start by experimenting with configurations on a design wall and then try to step out of the way to let my unconscious thoughts assert themselves into the design process. 

I have concentrated on producing highly colorful, abstract designs which take the medium of the traditional quilt from its historically functional role to a decorative form.  

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