Jane Sassaman



Artist Information for Jane Sassaman

After exploring many art mediums, I discovered quilting in 1980.  Quilting provided all the important elements: color, design, scale, craftsmanship, fabric and autonomy. 

I love fabric.  It is very tactile and very human.  I feel an intimacy with fabric and thread that nothing else supplies.  It is a delicate, yet powerful medium.  So now, fabric has become the primary language through which all my ideas are translated.

Most of my quilts are symbolic statements about the cycles and spiritual forces of life.  By using colorful fabrics cut into dramatic shapes, I try to express the energy and mystery of our amazing universe - from the miraculous beauty of a single blossom to the complicated powers of the soul. I want to snap us out of our mundane routine and remind us that they are part of a bigger “cosmic” picture.

Images scroll down to view all

Chocolate Columbine

Chocolate Columbine40" X 60"   Photo by Gregory Gantner

I am always fastinated by odd colored flowers, especially dark blossoms. So these Chocolate Columbines struck my fancy.

Minor Miracle

Minor Miracle30" X 48"   

This quilt was made for an invitational exhibit in which each artist got to interpret a favorite "oxymoron". I chose Minor Miracle, which is exactly what every little "seed" is!

Illinois Album

Illinois Album60" X 70"   Photo by Gregory Gantner

Illinois Album is a celebration of the vibrant life in our northern Illinois environment. A few years ago we moved from Chicago to a home in the country. When you live out here nature becomes a major part of your life. These are some of the characters that populate our property.

This quilt was years in the making because I also have classes to teach and FreeSpirit fabric to design. So I worked on it whenever I had a block of concentrated time. The title, Illinois Album, is a play on a quilting tradition, Baltimore Album.

The Urn

The Urn42" X 54"   Photo by Gregory Gantner

I had been thinking about the opulent and symbolic Dutch still life paintings called “vanitas”. Vanitas paintings portrayed life’s brevity through symbols like watches, skulls, smoking oil lamps, partially consumed food, etc. Since I have always been attracted to divine decadence in art, over the years I have accumulated my own slightly subversive symbols that often appear in my work… skulls, spiders, dandelions, moths, spiky seeds, dangerous plants.

So this is where my idea started. I imagined a skull sprouting dark leafy plants. The skull became an urn. An urn brings to mind Victorian plants and lavish layers of composition. So these are the subjects that I started with… skull/urn, elephants ears, purple black sweet potato vines, coleus, moths and an egg behind it all.

Spring Trio

Spring Trio64" X 34"   Photo by Gregory Gantner

Our home in the country is surrounded by oak trees and under their canopy dwell an inspiring collection of native shade loving wild flowers. I look forward to their arrival every spring… bloodroot, trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, may apple and more. This quilt celebrates this exciting season of growth and renewal.