April Artist of the Month Denise Carter



I’m a Gloucester girl!  I have lived in Ware Neck most of my life.   I am a wife, mother and grandmother.  I am a quilter.  I am a painter.  I am a sketch artist.  I am a mixed media artist.  Well, that all sounds rather arrogant!  I have proof of the first three items.  The others, I am working on, some with more success than others, all with a great deal of joy.  Basically, I’m not good at sitting still.  Unless I’m reading, well I do rock when I read so…  I have to be doing something.  I am very curious.  I don’t just look at things, I take them apart with my eyes and mind.  Creating little blueprints in my head.  “How did they do that?” is my most asked question.  Once my mind asks that question, I don’t hear what you are saying.  Sorry…

Like so many others, I love the sea.  As I walk the beach and look out over the lake, river, bay or ocean my mind spins trying to imagine what is out there.  What little we know about is fascinating, but what about all that we don’t know.  Wow!  Marine mammals are the most interesting to me.  Whales…those eyes!  Many of my quilts, drawings and paintings include whales.  I’ve visited them a few times in the Atlantic.  My plans are to visit them in the Pacific soon.

I love fabric, this became apparent when I was young.  After cutting up and sewing together everything I could get my hands on.  I asked my cousin if I could borrow her sewing machine.  Once I proved that I could safely navigate the machine, fabrics and patterns were purchased and off I went.  I won’t say it was a smooth transition, but I did learn.  Since then, I have made wedding gowns to slip covers and everything in between.  I even earned a living with it for a while.  I have loved most of it!  What I did not love, I stopped doing.  Now I have many sewing machines antiques to computerized.  I even do repairs on the antiques.

My quilting began a few years ago.  In 2001, during the 350th celebration of Gloucester County, we had a quilt show.  I was hooked.  There have been just a handful of days since then that I have not had at least one quilt in the works.  My quilts fit king sized beds and they are 3” square and all sizes between.  I have met so many talented people in quilting and I have learned so much from them.  I’ve attended classes and workshops all over the state and online all over the country.  I collect fabric, I dye fabric, I paint fabric and I am addicted to fabric!  That last part came from my husband.  I’ve made quilts for family and friends.  I’ve made charity quilts for cancer patients, children and displaced families.  I’ve made quilts the size of a piece of notebook paper that were auctioned off for Alzheimer’s research.  I have had a great quilting adventure and fortunately, it continues!

I have never been able to draw…until Steph Brown applied to work as a Specialty Instructor for Gloucester Parks, Recreation and Tourism, that’s where I have worked since 1987.  When she presented the classes that she wanted to teach, I was blown away!  I said I wish I could do that.  She said, take the class, it’s not as hard as it looks.  It’s just knowing how to do it, it’s not magic.  Well, she was right, and she was wrong.  It is hard, just like anything worthwhile is.  But she was right, when she taught us the components, it all made sense.  I understood it!  I’m not good at it, but when I draw you know what it is, so I’m happy.  And I do think I’m getting better.

Youtube has given me painting on paper!  Youtube is so great, everything is out there.  I like watercolors, they are hard.  Counterintuitive.  But when it works, it’s the greatest feeling ever!  My friend Paula has given me painting on fabric.  I love painting on fabric.  The paint is different on fabric, I paint, I leave it, when I return it looks different, it might be magic!  Dying fabric is definitely magic.  Every time I dye.

Denise Rhea Carter

To view Denise's collection CLICK HERE