Column: Gloria Hazel, textile artist from San Diego, weaves the joy of creation into her work



There are a lot of things that Gloria Hazel, textile artist from San Diego, loves about quilting. She loves her anti-stress powers. She loves how it reminds her of her childhood in South Carolina and the grandmother who taught her to sew. She really loves that her quilting skills have allowed her to join the San Diego People of Color Quilt Guild, which she wanted to do for years.

But what Hazel probably loves the most about quilting art is not what he does for her, but what he can do for anyone who wants to try it out. And she believes everyone should give it a try. The earliest would be best.

“It’s not difficult. Most people think it’s difficult, but it’s not. One of the things I love to do is teach children how to put together a simple little quilt from four or nine patches. When you learn something when you’re younger, it just keeps going, ”Hazel said from her home in Rancho Bernardo.

“I always think about the feeling that the work I did with my grandmother made me feel. I never thought someone would call me an artist, but you never know. That little bit of knowledge might inspire someone to carry on this tradition, and who knows what they might create? “

Some of Hazel’s fabric quilts and dolls are on display in the Vision Art Museum’s “Expressive liberations” a San Diego People of Color Quilt Guild fabric art exhibit. The exhibit – which runs through October 3 at the Liberty Station Museum – celebrates the artistic work that flourished during the pandemic, as well as the long cultural history of the African-American quilt.

Hazel will be speaking about quilting, the art of fabric and her creative process on September 14th. “Meet the artist” virtual conference sponsored by the museum. She doesn’t know what to say yet, but she knows the inspiration will strike eventually. As she and her fellow artists from “Expressive Liberations” prove throughout the exhibition, it still is.

“Anything you want to express you can do with the quilting,” said Hazel, 67, who has won numerous awards for her quilts and fabric dolls, both on display at Visions.

“If I can think of it and put it on paper, I can put it on a quilt. During the pandemic, I focused on learning new skills. It helped me get through it. “

During the pandemic, members of the San Diego People of Color Quilt Guild did what they could to keep the group’s friendly spirit alive and their quilting skills as sharp as ever. They held their meetings outside with everyone wearing masks and practicing social distancing. They made baby quilts for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society layette program in San Diego.

They also made quilted masks that were definitely works of art, and they made works of art that were definitely therapeutic. Many of these closing creations are featured in the Visions exhibition.

Pieces like Deborah Fitch’s “Collage Portrait of Deborah,” a self-portrait inspired by a class she and other guild members took with a multimedia artist in Los Angeles. Kisasi Ramses in March 2020, just before confinement. Ramsess gave Fitch the idea, and the pandemic gave him time to turn a selfie into the witty quilt currently hanging in the Visions gallery.

De Shon Hall’s “Afrocentric Display” quilt was inspired by some African women she saw in a YouTube video. “I don’t know how to draw,” Hall says in his artistic statement. “But I decided to give it a go and add my own touch. This is another of my “what if?” »Successful experiences.

Guild member Alahna Kellough created her “Ebony Strength” mask to get out of a state of lockdown depression. The mask – which features the colors of the Pan-African flag, an elephant and a lion, and the words “Fierce” and “Strong” – was Kellough’s reminder “to be brave and unwavering during the time of uncertainty in our world” .

And for her ‘Kisses’ quilt, Hazel was inspired by a photo she took of her daughter sending her a kiss on their last mother-daughter visit before the COVID-19 lockdown. This is a loving portrait of a decidedly modern beautiful girl, created by a mother using the timeless skills she learned from her grandmother.

Like the other works featured in “Expressive Liberations”, Hazel’s “Kisses” is a new take on an ageless art form. It’s all part of the circle of creative life, and Hazel hopes the Visions Art Museum exhibit will bring a new generation of creative and passionate artists into the fold. There is always room for more.

“I like that the guild is sticking to the traditional quilt, because we don’t want to lose that. People say it’s a dying art, and we really don’t want that to happen, ”Hazel said.

“That’s why being in this museum is so important. I hope people look at the work and say, “I want to try this too. We need to get the younger ones to come and see what they can create to make this continue. “

“Expressive Liberations” by the People of Color Quilt Guild of San Diego is on display at the Visions Art Museum in Liberty Station until October 3. The museum’s free virtual “Meet the Artist” event with Gloria Hazel takes place on September 14 at 11 am. , go to



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