Sharee Dawn Roberts
Like most artists, I have always felt the urge to create. In my younger years, my goal was to be a better artist. I did what I loved, and created with whatever materials I could lay my hands on, with whatever time I had, and with whomever could teach me more.

During my junior year in college as an Art major, I switched my emphasis from drawing and painting to textile design. I enthusiastically embraced surface design techniques such as off-loom weaving, fabric painting, printing and dying.

When my professor presented a slide show of contemporary quilts, I was astounded. Never before had I considered quilts as art, and I became obsessed to learn the sewing skills necessary to translate the designs in my head to cloth. I purchased a used Kenmore and taught myself precision piecing and appliqué.

However, it wasn’t until I learned machine embroidery that I knew I had discovered my forte. Now I could combine my background of painting with my love of fabric and thread to create the designs in my head. I intuitively used needle and thread as my paintbrush to develop my signature style of shading free motion appliqué with machine embroidery.

My career path eventually lead to teaching quilting and machine art, first locally and eventually internationally. I had found my true calling. I loved my craft so passionately, for what rewards it had granted me, that my huge enthusiasm was contagious. I felt privileged for the opportunity to connect with so many other creative people to learn, share and inspire each other. The infectious energy and passion that surfaces when creative people share together is nothing short of mystical.

This is when I learned a surprising truth about myself: I discovered that what I love most about art, is sharing my passion with other like-minded people.

I am currently retired from teaching professionally and work at home as a studio artist. For the past several years I have been experimenting with manipulating digital images in Photoshop to combine with free motion appliqué and embroidery. I paint, dye and print many of my fabrics but love to incorporate fashion fabrics as well. Fabric may be my canvas, but thread is my paintbrush, and I combine rayon, metallic, Mylar, polyester, silk, cotton and even wool embroidery threads to bring my designs to life.

Several years ago, serendipity intervened to throw Lynn, Karen and myself together, and we became fast friends. Our passion for textile art was the catalyst to form the bond that has matured beyond the realms of art alone, as we have shared among ourselves our own personal challenges as well. We started meeting once a month at my studio for workshop sessions that quickly expanded to “overnighters.”

Thus began our “Koala” group, and we are eager to share among those in cyberspace some of the techniques, ideas and excitement that we have shared among ourselves.