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Joyce J. Ritter
Joyce J. Ritter, an accomplished Fabric Artist says “If my DNA were to be analyzed, there would probably be threads wrapped around my genes”. Joyce’s Lithuanian grandfather was a tailor and it was his daughters who taught her to sew as a child. The craft stood her in good stead and ultimately led her to quilting in 1976. She has derived great pleasure from making traditional quilts in traditional patterns, but over the last 5 years, she has moved into art quilts.
Joyce 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. Joyce’s series of Door Quilts morphed into a meditation on death and dying which helped Joyce’s 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 primary material is fabric – any and all kinds of fabric. All artistic techniques and media are fair game for her 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.
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 and is currently a resident artist in the Howard County Center for the Arts.
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”.