Lola Jenkins Uses Vibrant Color to Capture Personalities in Unique Quilt Artwork

Aug 14, 2018

Lola Jenkins is an award-winning and self-taught (or, as she prefers to say, "God-taught") master quilter. Using multi-colored fabric swatches, Jenkins creates totally unique portraits of loved ones and celebrities alike. She visited Sounds Good via telephone from Omaha, NE to discuss her works and her featured exhibit in Paducah's National Quilt Museum. 

The story behind Lola Jenkins journey as a master quilter and fabric artist did not start with a childhood sewing machine. Rather, Jenkins didn't even own a sewing machine until a relatively recent period of recovery from an illness in which she frequently journaled and noticed a recurring theme of sewing machines among her writing. After purchasing her first machine, Jenkins visited local thrift stores and collected scrap fabric. Using free-form cutting and glue sticks, she then began creating her now vast collection of distinctive, colorful portraitures. As Jenkins says, "I don't know the rules, so I couldn't break the rules of quilting."

Jenkins has crafted portraits of culture icons throughout history such as Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, Malcom X, Anderson Cooper, and Martin Luther King Jr. She estimates that she's created somewhere between 300 to 400 portraits overall, with about one third of them being featured on her website. Jenkins utilizes various textures and shades within her portraits, focusing special attention on the eyes. She considers the eyes to be the most important part of her portraits, since they are "the windows to the soul" and allow the observer to make a deeper connection with the artistic subject. 

Aside from her own portfolio, Jenkins also uses her artistic skills to lead workshops described as "hilariously funny, informative and unforgettable," and 'movie-worthy.' These workshops are held internationally for art guilds, cruise ships, retreats, and organizations of all kinds. She is also an instructor for Craftsy.com. Information on Lola Jenkins' workshops and other events is available here.

Jenkins' portrait exhibit, "Color-Play in Portraits," is currently on display at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. The exhibit displays twelve of the vibrant quilt pieces and was opened to the public on July 27th. It will remain in the museum until September 18th. 

For more information on the National Quilt Museum and its exhibits, visit the Quilt Museum's website.