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Jeanne Benson


Jeanne Benson has known that she liked to make art since the eighth grade. Benson received a Bachelors degree in Art in 1970 and has continued her education in drawing and in design and sewing techniques. She is currently working toward Certification in Botanical Illustration through Brookside Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration.

Benson is inspired by the geometry in nature every day. She takes that inspiration into the studio and re-presents it in her appliqués, pen and ink, and pencil designs.

Two of her quilts are included in exhibitions with SITES (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service): Ten of Spades with The Full Deck Art Quilt and Heart of Katell with Women of Taste: A Collaboration Celebrating Women Artists and Chefs. She teaches and present programs to quilt guilds and since 1988 for The Smithsonian Associates in Washington, DC, and has regularly offered introduction to the basics, drafting, and design classes along with specialty workshops. In 1991 her book, The Art and Technique of Appliqué, was published, and in 1997 she received a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artists Award for her work in appliqué. She has exhibited her quilts locally and nationally through galleries, art centers and quilt programs and participated in the US Department of State’s Arts in Embassies Program. Arrangement for Mixed Greens with Edible Flowers and Raspberry Vinaigrette was juried into Quilt National ‘05. Since 1999 Benson has exhibited with The New Image Group, a metropolitan DC area-based fiber art group.  Her website is

Teaching Philosophy

As a teacher I want my students to learn basic techniques out of the quilt tradition, to discover the techniques that work best for them, and to understand not only that quilts reflect American history but also that the quilts they make can reflect their interests, their gardens, their families, their politics, their culture — their own history.

In the classroom, I teach how to make quilts through detailed demonstration, through showing many examples from my own collection and through books, and through hands-on application. Small classes allow for individual attention and evaluation.

I want students to understand that quilting isn’t just about sewing. It’s about developing ideas, executing ideas, problem solving, and learning to let go of mistakes. Making quilts is making art.