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Joyce J. Ritter


Joyce J. Ritter, an accomplished Fabric Artist, swears she has threads wrapped around her DNA. She has been sewing since the age of seven, quilting since the 90’s (no age given!) and moved into her current method – making quilts that are mistaken for oil paintings – after becoming a resident artist at the Howard County Center for the Arts in 2016. She ascribes her transition from abstract to realism to the mentoring and support of the other artists at the Center. 

Joyce’s primary material is fabric – any and all kinds of fabric. All artistic techniques and media are fair game, and they all are applied to fabric: painting, discharging, dying, beading, hand stitching, paper transfer, gel medium, and modeling paste, for example. The only thing she will not use in the creation of her art is a computer. Joyce’s pieces are truly the work of her hands.

Originally Joyce’s goal was to have quilting seen as an art form but people had a different idea. She has found that people respond to fabric – it is familiar and tactile and warm. But what Joyce values most about fabric is its versatility. It can tell so many stories, so many feelings. Many people have found peace, comfort and consolation in her heartfelt works. And for that she is grateful.

Joyce’s series of Door Quilts morphed into a meditation on death and dying which helped her friend face into her death by cancer. Joyce was transformed by the experience and her series of abstract pieces about creativity gave voice to both the problems and gratification of creating art.

Joyce’s quilt “BaltiMORE Jobs, Justice, HOPE” hangs in the Mayor’s Lobby in Baltimore City Hall. In addition, some of Joyce’s work will be included in a book by one of her favorite teachers, Jane Dunnewold. But the accomplishment that makes Joyce the happiest is the number of people who are quilters today because of her influence, either as a teacher or “encourager-in-chief”.

Joyce has a BA from Notre Dame of Maryland with a major in English and minors in Art and Music. Her career covers everything from secretary to high school English teacher to writer/producer of educational videos. 

She has been a member of Faithful Circle Quilt Guild for well over a decade. And even though Joyce now makes art quilts, the Guild welcomes her and encourages her to explore the possibilities that lie in the realm of fiber art. Joyce has won awards at local art and quilt shows, exhibited in several galleries in Columbia MD.

Joyce’s art is currently available at HorseSpirit Arts Gallery in Savage, MD.