Vibrant at 91! - Dreaming in Color with Jean Wells

 
 
Freddy Moran 
Freddy Moran, one of my dearest friends, is an inspiration to me as well as to many of you, and I want to share some of her thoughts on color! She began quilting when she was 60 years old, starting with a hand pieced sampler. She realized right away that her bright and bold color palette was very different from the matching subdued colors of the other members of the class. It is certainly not a surprise to hear this since the home she lives in has 47 different paint colors on the walls, ceilings, and floor.
 garden entry
living room
dining room
Color is what she loved, from the first moment she walked into a fabric store and saw all of the fabric, the bolder the better for Freddy! She told me that her heart started to race as she chose the colors she wanted to work with for that first project. She had no sewing skills at the time, and was fortunate to have a very nice instructor that encouraged her to do her own thing when it came to color. Her goal was, “How can I make this my own?”. She is ever grateful to that instructor who encouraged her. Freddy now teaches workshops, and wants her students to feel the happiness and joy in the classroom that she felt.
 entryway
bedroom
freddy moran
As you can see, Freddy surrounds herself with color. Her studio is painted a sunny yellow color, with open shelves housing her fabrics. The black and white floor tiles are reminiscent of how she uses black and white in her work. She says that black and white found its’ way into her bold colored quilts when she wanted to delineate shapes more. It helped to isolate areas in the design. Her first book was Freddy’s House, Brilliant Color in Quilts. It is now out of print, but you might find it online someplace if you're lucky. 
feddy moran self portriat
Above is a self portrait that Freddy created. Pure colors are really her signature and she loves large scale prints like Merimeko. The quilt below is one of the most dramatic quilts I think she has ever made. It was made for her late husband, to hang on a red wall in his office.
In viewing this quilt you can see how the variety in scale in the prints along with the solids helped to make this quilt the success that it is. Look how the black and white gives the eye a rest and draws your eye around the quilt.
 
I had the honor of being a student, together with Freddy, in a Rosalie Dace workshop. After day one, Freddy asked me if I had any scrap strata made up and I did. Look what she pulled out of my drawer and put into the collage quilt above. She purchased the black and white print flannel and did her “Freddy Magic” with my scraps. This really shows off the magic of black and white.
Speaking of white, I remember a time when Valori was photographing Freddy’s garden many years ago for a garden quilts book we were writing. I knew how bright Freddy’s quilts were and I was surprised to see a white flower garden on the north side of her house. I asked about it and she said, “White is like a beacon of light” in the garden. I think that can also be true when quilting. It is like using a light, or bright, fabric to brighten up an area in your quilt.
Here are some photos from her magnificent garden which is her pride and joy.
oak tree
orange flowers
At ninety-one she is still very busy with her face collage quilts. Her eyesight is not what it used to be, and her hands shake, but this does not stop this amazing woman. She found she could use a glue stick to attach the fabric to a background and then her quilters, Jean Impey and Judy Irish, do the quilting and binding for her. A large collection of faces will be in a gallery at the National Quilt Museum in Nebraska in August and Freddy’s son will be traveling with her to see her art in the museum. I am thrilled to say that we will also have a display of her face quilts this year at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on July 9th in the teacher tent.
red hat lady
fish head lady
 Jackie and I choose fabrics for the pencil pacs this month to honor our dear friend Freddy Moran. Freddy love large scale prints and you will really enjoy these fabrics as you unfold them.
Beacon of Light
Total Darkness

16 comments


  • Carole Kurth

    I’ve enjoyed your tribute and photos SO much! I wish there were more books written about her- she is such a treasure and inspiration for so many reasons!


  • leslie

    She is truly inspirational. And I have her book! I look at it so much that I took it to UPS and had it spiral-bound because the spine wore out!


  • Lenore Guajardo

    This was a great loving story. I’ve been following Freddy Moran have her book…and love every piece of colorful quilts a d faces she creates.


  • Arunas Oslapas

    Freddy Moran continues to show us that life cannot be fully experienced in a neutral palette. Her legacy is planting perennial seeds in us that will continue to blossom long after her last glue stick dries out. The colorful Andy Warhol said, “The idea is not to live forever, but to create something that will.”


  • Gail Lamy

    Thank you for sharing all the stories and photos. We need more of this to inspire others and also to pass on some joy to the world! Gail


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published