Close-up of Bob Adams machine-quilting his quilt.

For Bob Adams, thread is an integral part of the quilt.

Bob Adams

Bob Adams' background is in art education with an emphasis on painting and drawing. He discovered that thread and fiber added a dimension along with a textural quality he could not achieve with any other medium. Thread is now his palette and cloth, his canvas.

Bob Adams Web site»

Bob Adams

“It's a feeling I don't get any other way.”

"I submitted a quilt to Houston and it got in so my wife talked me into going and taking a class for a week. I took a class and learned how to paint with dye. The minute I started painting with dye I was pretty much off to the races. That was all I needed.

When I first started, stitching was a way to attach pieces. And now the thread is a really integral part of my work. It makes a statement and it's a serious part. I can't do without it, whereas, at first I tried to hide it because my sewing was so terrible. It was more important to get the pretty cloth and now that's what makes my work important.

As you work on a piece it changes—starts out really soft when there's no stitching on it and by the time I'm done, it's taken on a whole different tactile quality and a visual quality that I can't get with a brush and paint. Plus, you can go back and re-work areas a lot easier and make stunning changes. Whereas paint, a lot of times you keep putting paint on and all of a sudden it turns to mud. With this you can put on some more cloth, a different color and bang you've got a whole different look to it. And then the stitches on top add a whole new dimension to that piece. That's what I love about it. I just, I couldn't get that with painting. The minute I learned how to paint with dye, and put the thread with it, that's what I needed. That's the part that's really stunning to me. Even now when I go to a museum I don't see that in paintings. The only place I see it is in the textile work.

You get into, I don't know what you call it, 'a groove.' That's the greatest part of art, I don't care if you paint or draw. You lose yourself, and all of a sudden you stand up and you're back to reality. It's a feeling I don't get any other way.”

Lunar quilts dominated by a dark tea-stained palette.

Detail from Lunar series by Bob Adams.