Artist Profile:
Valerie Hearder

Barbara Blankenship © 2008

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Valerie Header was one of the most inspiring artists I met at the Houston Quilt Market this year. She is truly gifted and her new book on landscape quilts is outstanding. Using Valerie’s latest book as my guide, one of my projects for 2008 will be to create my own personal landscape quilt. My mind is filled with ideas as I begin collecting fabrics and supplies.

Points of View - Landscape Quilts to Stitch and Embellish by Valerie Hearder ( was introduced at Market by publisher Martingale & Company. I was instantly drawn to Valerie's exceptional style and techniques.

I had the opportunity to visit with Valerie and discuss her new book. She used a demo board to take me through the pages of her book, stopping to offer brief explanations of the tools and products she used in her work. I was fascinated with the effects she achieved by using iron-on transfer dyes, fabric crayons, and oil paint sticks. I had never heard of “vanishing muslin” before talking with her and was totally impressed with how she used it.

After the presentation, my mind was filled to capacity with new concepts and ideas. I was intrigued with Valerie and her love of fabric art and could not resist asking questions on behalf of the magazine. She graciously agreed to an interview and I hope you will enjoy reading about this wonderful artist.

Valerie grew up in South Africa, in the city of Durban, near the Indian Ocean. She was influenced early in life by the lush tropical scenery of her native country, with its vibrant colors and beautiful landscapes. Needlework was taught to young girls in school and that education played a large part in developing her love for embroidery.  Her passion for the exotic African fabrics started at an early age, when she first began collecting small pieces of the fabric from the marketplaces.

Valerie made her first quilt in 1972 and she was able to incorporate traditional quilting with her love of vibrant African fabrics. Two years later, she married and moved across the world to Canada with her husband. She told me she carried her wonderful collection of African fabric with her to help ease the transition.

Valerie began making small appliquéd landscapes in 1981. Shortly afterward, she started teaching and writing about her work. Her first book, Beyond the Horizon: Small Appliqué Landscapes, was published in 1995 and is currently out of print. Her career in quilt making has spanned over a thirty year period, culminating in her unique and wonderful landscapes.

Valerie has taught extensively in North America, South Africa, Japan, Germany, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England. Her quilts are exhibited internationally and she has won many awards and honors. She was also included in the 30 Distinguished Quilt Artists of the World, a juried exhibition in the Tokyo Dome.

I invite you to visit her website at and take time to browse through the various categories. Under “Information” you will find a number of printable pages explaining her various techniques. Her book and many of the products she uses are available under “Supplies.” A wealth of information can be found by browsing through her favorite “Links.” She also offers a newsletter and a Yahoo group for those interested in landscapes.

Valerie introduced me to Langa Lapu (, a company that was also represented at the Houston Quilt Market and Festival. They carry beautiful African sun print fabrics, many of which are incorporated in Valerie’s wonderful landscapes.

I am so excited about beginning my landscape quilt using Points of View as my guide. It is a definite “must read” and a perfect addition to any library. I look forward to sharing my experience in landscapes with each of you.

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