Kate Brandes ©Armen Elliott photography (44 of 44)

Photo by Armen Elliott

As a writer and artist, I’m interested in the confluence of stories and visual art, often through the perspective of the natural world. I like to blend personal stories and artwork together. For example, in collaboration with Lauren Kindle,  I’ve painted portraits of strangers and their stories for a project called Intersections.

Seams: A Paper Quilt Project, Women Scientists and Artists

I’m currently at work on a project called “Seams,” which is a series of narrative paper quilts made of thread, paper, and watercolor. This project is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

This series is inspired by six women who, like me, are both artists and scientists. The pieces from this series connect to the natural world and draw on textile traditions of sharing life experiences. I’m interested in creating stimulating visual work that generates broader conversations about the connections between art and science, and particularly about the value of cross-pollinating ideas in order to expand one’s own sense of possibility. My intention in creating the quilt series is to show commonality through shared perceptions. This project, at its heart, is about identity gained through breaking barriers. Each art quilt incorporates themes from nature to accentuate shared experiences.

Detail from art quilt series.

For the paper quilts, I’m working primarily with an uneven nine-block quilting pattern to make nine different small art quilts that will be displayed as a collective work. I see quilting as a deeply personal art form used to express experiences, imagery, and ideas. I’ve chosen to work with paper because it’s a flexible medium that serves new and mature ideas equally well. The work is fragmented, patch-worked, patterned, and layered. Each of nine individual blocks composing one art quilt is hand painted and/or sewn. The quilts are hand-stitched with traditional stitches (the backstitch and zigzag). 

Examples of paper art quilt series.

I began work on the project in late 2016 by interviewing six local women who are both artists and scientists (or mathematicians). Some of these women are self-taught either in the arts or the sciences, but each has done meaningful work in both fields. I’ve chosen to draw inspiration from local women to help emphasize accessibility and possibility. These women include the following::

Click on the links above to see interviews with each of these women. The interviews were done informally and so they have an organic feel. (Note that Jenn Rossmann has requested her interview be kept private.)

In addition to the six art quilts inspired by interviews with these women, the series includes two community response quilt pieces. I asked community members to respond to two prompts related to identity. These were:

1) Describe yourself in three words.

2) I would like to be more ________.

I incorporated both the prompts and responses into additional two art quilts.

Detail of one community response art quilt.

The ninth and final art quilt in the series will be based on my personal experience as an artist and scientist as well as my interviews with the other women inspiring the project and the experience of creating the quilt series. This final piece will be a kind of culmination art quilt for the project. 

The Seams Project will be completed in Spring 2018 and will be featured in an upcoming show at Nurture Nature Center in Easton, PA.


  • 2016 New Hope Art League 7th Annual Juried Show (honorable mention)

  • 2016 Joint exhibition of Intersections Show (with project collaborator, Lauren Kindle), Quadrant Book Shop, Easton, PA

  • 2015 Solo exhibition, Cosmic Cup Café, Easton, PA

  • 2015 Bucks Fever Juried Art Exhibition, Warrington, PA

 Some of my other paintings are shown below. If you’d like to purchase an original please contact me directly.