Miriam Nathan-Roberts

Artist Statement:

I have been interested over the years in creating illusions of three dimensions on the flat or semi-flat surface. Perhaps this is partly because I had no depth perception until I was thirty years old; without prisms in my glasses, my eyes don't achieve normal fusion. I am also interested in repeated images. Things lined up on shelves, stacks of logs, rows of bicycles --- such patterns have always drawn me.

Since the early 1970’s I have worked in multiple styles. The interweave series is very controlled and intellectual; the structure is tight. I found that as I worked on this series, I needed to rebel and let loose. Thus was born another group of quilts I call the architectural series. These pieces use wild fabrics, which I love, and relatively little pre-planning.

A third direction has been a departure from the first two series. I emphasize unusual fabric combinations and the play between colors throughout the quilt surface. I either do my designs ahead on paper or compose on the working wall; all fabric choices are made on the working wall.

I purchased my first copy of Adobe’s Photoshop in 1992 and started taking classes at the community college in 1994. I have been fascinated by Photoshop and what it can do ever since, (still taking classes). Starting in 2002 I started to make, show, and sell archival fine art prints.

In the past few years, I have completed several quilts based on photographic and scanned images which were digitally manipulated within the computer. The final image was digitally printed on fabric and then machine quilted. I am continuing to explore the crossover between digital design and digital printing on textiles.


Miriam Nathan-Roberts B.S., Textiles and Design, Cornell University; M.A., University of California, Berkeley, was one of the early members of the art quilt movement in the 1970’s. Her quilts have won awards throughout the USA, Japan and Europe. Since 1965, she has taught art and design at the college and secondary level, as well as at quilt conferences and festivals.

Miriam’s ground-breaking quilt “Lattice Interweave”(1983) began a series noted for stunning optical illusions and arresting use of color. It won Viewer’s Choice Award at Quilt National ’85. Her piece “Spin Cycle” was chosen Best of Show at Quilt National ’99. Miriam’s quilts have won two first place awards at the American Quilter’s Society in Paducah, Kentucky, and she has exhibited many times at Visions. For Quilt National ’05, she served as one of the three jurors.

Her quilt “Changing Planes” was judged one of “The Twentieth Century’s 100 Best American Quilts,” for the historic 1999 International Quilt Association book and exhibit. She has been featured in Art/Quilt Magazine, Quilter’s Newsletter, and American Quilter, along with many books including America’s Glorious Quilts. In 2003, Miriam was honored in Japan as one of “The Thirty Distinguished Quilt Artists of the World.”

Miriam’s recent quilts utilize digitally-manipulated and digitally-printed images. She lives in Berkeley and maintains an active schedule of studio work, as well as traveling, lecturing and teaching.

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