Crafting splashy ‘squiggle quilts’ is a dream come true for Chicago artist Emily Van Hoff

CHICAGO– Artist Emily Van Hoff’s recent residency at the Pendry Chicago boutique hotel was a first glimpse for the public to see her vibrant quilting work in action. The South Loop-based designer created a green and gold fabric tapestry inspired by the landmark carbon & Carbide building where the hotel is located.

“This is the first event where people can see my work in person, which is very exciting,” said Van Hoff. “I wanted to figure out how to incorporate some of the building’s art deco details into my designs and into my quilting.”

Van Hoff’s squiggle quilts are colourful, uniquely shaped works of art with dynamic patterns and textures. The artist’s intention is that they add a cheerful quality to the spaces in which they are hung.

“I think what interests me most is doing happy, unexpected things,” said Van Hoff. “I just love that they go to homes where they will be appreciated, enjoyed and hopefully passed on.”

Quilting art for purchase on her website is a second act for Van Hoff. Her husband Matt passed away unexpectedly in January 2020 and she soon lost her job as an art director and graphic designer. Amidst these sudden changes, Van Hoff channeled her grief and unease into sewing and creating art.

“I just took some time to do what I wanted to do, and then I shared those things online,” Van Hoff said. “Instagram’s encouragement somehow helped guide the path of my work.”

Today, Van Hoff makes wall hangings, quilt collages and quilt patches on denim jackets that usually sell out very quickly. Her “squiggle quilts” are her most popular design.

“I think sewing and quilting are making a little comeback,” said Van Hoff. “I think we were all drawn to very tactile, structural things in our digital world.”

To see the artist in action, search @emilyvanhoff on Instagram. Crafting splashy ‘squiggle quilts’ is a dream come true for Chicago artist Emily Van Hoff

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