Patty Arensen

Regional Rep
Bloomington, Minnesota

I began my quilting career at the age of sixteen in an oral history class.  My small group went to a quilting group of ladies and they taught us how to quilt with cardboard patterns, tracing them painstakingly on fabric.  I loved the sewing, but not the patterns.  Fast forward about twenty years and I found myself in Kenya.  My friend had returned to Africa with a newfangled tool called a rotary cutter.  I was fascinated as it took the drudgery out of patchwork.  The next time I was in America, I purchased one of these wonders along with the fabric and a book that claimed that I could make a quilt in a weekend. 

Seven YEARS later with three little people underfoot, my quilt was complete, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process! Fast forward another chunk of time and our family moved from the Tanzanian bush into the bustling metropolis of Nairobi.  The move and life, in general, had become very stressful and I felt the need to do something creative.  I found the Kenya Quilt Guild.  There I found a diverse and stimulating group of women who taught me much about the world of quilting and how to do it well in Africa.  I met Dena Crain (SAQA Artist) who took me and other art quilters of the group under her wing.  She taught me to improve my finishing, how to price, and market my quilts.  I also became the chairwoman of the guild for three years before circumstances required our family to return to the States in 2017.  We see ourselves here for at least another 2 years.


Stillborn - 29" x 24" 2019

Patty Arensen