detail of a beaded labrador  from Cochran quilt

Detail of a beaded labrador from Looking for God by Jane Burch Cochran.

Jane Burch Cochran

Jane Burch Cochran combines her art training in painting, her love of fabric and the tradition of American quilting. Her quilts are highly embellished with beads, buttons, and paint to enhance the narrative with a unique and personal texture.

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Jane Burch Cochran

“It's the more is more approach rather than the less is more.”

"Yeah there are times I think I maybe put on too much embellishment but what happens is the way to fix it is, I don't like to take out embellishment. So it's almost like you have to add more. Rarely do I think I've used too much, in fact, I keep working more and more towards just as encrusted, as embellished as it possibly can be. It's the more is more approach rather than the less is more. I'm not a minimalist by any means. And I like the idea of patching because it adds a layer of something.

I like the unexpected and so I like anything that gives you a chance to fix it, to cover up something. To me embellishing starts off with a purpose. That's how I started using beads, I appliqué using beads. But that's how I attach pieces to the quilt and so it gave the beads something to do. They mostly serve a purpose; they're holding the quilt together.

I like the idea of the imperfect square. I don't like the shapes to be too exact. Although I have the deepest respect for the well-done traditional quilt. But I've always kind of done my patchwork that way. It just appeals to me. It's kind of like doing a lot of little abstract paintings and you get a surprise. I guess that's what I like about it. You don't know what you're gonna get. And as you near the end of a piece it gets much slower, because every decision you make is affected by what you've already done. So then it's always good to have something else you're starting. Then you can have that other piece you've worked on up there, and then you come in one day and you go 'I know what it needs, it needs this or it needs that', you know. But I would say what makes my quilts more mine would be I kind of call it symbolic narrative. They don't tell an exact story but they have recognizable images. It's up to the viewer to kind of put together something if they want to, or they can just look at it as an abstract piece or just for what it is.”

detail of skull from Cochran quilt

Detail from Shroud for a Colorful Soul by Jane Burch Cochran.