As an artist, I consider myself to be following in the footsteps of Josef Albers (1888-1976). Albers was famous for his experiments with color, and his particular interest was the ways in which contrasting colors influence and change each other as we perceive them.
My obsessions are the opposite: the search for a feeling of unity in color, the visceral beauty of color gradations, and the emotional impact of certain harmonic color combinations. To me, a combination of closely related colors is a visual representation of the infinite richness of our visual world, because they show us that every color is interesting and any two colors can give rise to an unknown number of shades in between. They help us concentrate on the pure enjoyment of particular colors, rather than bouncing distractedly from one extreme to another. In one way or another, every quilt I make is a study in color unity and color harmony. This is most apparent in my series of “Color Wheel Quilts,” with many quilts each exploring a single range of hues. The series of "Studies in Color Unity" and "Color Combination Quilts" are also direct expressions of my ideas about color.
I always begin a quilt with a color idea, and then create a piecing pattern that displays and extends the color idea. I love designing new, quirky, and difficult piecing patterns, usually based on geometry or abstract landscapes with a strong sense of perspective. I’m especially happy when a color idea and a geometry or pattern come from different places, but turn out to enhance and reflect each other in surprising ways.
My work is also inspired by the distinctive qualities of traditional quilting as a medium. As John Ruskin (1819-1900), the art critic, artist, social thinker, and philanthropist, wrote, “Whatever the material you choose to work with, your art is base if it does not bring out the distinctive qualities of that material . . . . If you don’t want the qualities of the substance you use, you ought to use some other substance.” I love traditional quilting as an art medium because it has . . .
• the impact of large works of art
• sharp, graphic lines formed by piecing
• the intense colors we get from textile dyes
• the even-wider range of perceived colors we get from textured
• quilted low relief to accentuate the pieced design
• the sensuousness of fine craftsmanship.
These are the distinctive qualities I try to show off in my art.
Pamela Zave began making doll clothes as soon as she was old enough to hold a needle. Taught by her mother and grandmother, both expert seamstresses, by the time she was a teenager she was making all her own clothes.
Pamela stopped sewing for many years to concentrate on her career as a computer scientist. She is an internationally known researcher with many publications, patents, and awards to her credit.
Pamela began quilting in 2003. Once she was exposed to its possibilities as an artistic medium, it became an indispensable part of her life. Her work has been featured in many books and juried exhibitions, and she enjoys giving talks about it.
Pamela is married to the Cuban-American artist, illustrator, and textile designer Yolanda V. Fundora. Not coincidentally, Pamela finds Yolanda’s fabrics to be especially useful in her work. They live in a historic house in Summit, New Jersey.