Denise Labadie: Stone Portraits and Sacred Stonescapes

Denise Labadie began quilting in the 1990’s and now makes art quilts of Celtic megalithic stones and monoliths, monastic ruins and passageways. Denise has won multiple awards at Quilt National (USA), her work is widely published, and she has had major exhibitions in the US and worldwide.

Denise’s portfolio of ‘stones’ now exceeds 50 quilts, a selection of which will be presented at The Festival of Quilts in 2023. These structures are timeless, with the resulting quilts often evoking deeply emotional, almost cellular remembrances of human pasts and stories largely forgotten, and rarely surfaced. 

“My quilts are known for their moody realism, and, technically, for the use of my hand-painted fabrics, assertive stone and landscape textures, varying appliqué and in-setting techniques, colour subtlety and gradation, and aggressive ‘light management’, shadowing, and perspective. Viewers often feel, particularly with my portals and passageways, that these story-telling quilts actually pull them in; that they want to go into and through them.

Viewers are also fascinated that I construct my quilts very much the same way as a stone mason builds a wall – individually cutting and appliquéing each stone (from my hand-painted fabric), one by one, working from the ground up. My goal is for fibre art to be seen as fine art – art that moves the viewer, evokes emotion, seems alive, makes you feel or remember something important, makes you want to go there, makes you want to be there now, in the moment”.