Artist Statement

I began my textile journey 30 years ago, like many women, quilting squares of fabric together. Yet with each stitch, I longed for a more authentic way to express my experiences as a woman. Within a short time I abandoned traditional quilt patterns and sought my own subversive shapes and forms.

A textile scholarship led me further on the path of discovery, enabling me to break free and create multimedia pieces that captured the inspiring beauty of nature while other pieces highlighted the terror of war, hunger and violence against women.

I have followed these criss-crossing paths of beauty and pain throughout my artistic career, seeking to document “The Long Walk Home” that every woman travels in her life. If art captures meaning, then it is my hope that with each stitch my art shares an awareness about truths that needs to be told.

Artist’s Bio

Debra Calkins is an artist whose textile artwork is shaped by both her life experience and the nature beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Utilizing a wide range of textile mediums, her art currently explores a diverse but interrelated themes of Without Apology, In Times of Change, Closer to the Truth, Intersections, Motions of the Heart, and Finding Home.  

A graduate of the University of Washington Fiber Arts Program and a student of such leading textile artists as Jan Myers-Newberry, Liz Axford, David Walker and Joan Wolfham, her needle captures in thread and fabric a truth both gentle and subversive - a truly thought-provoking message relevant to our complex yet beautiful world today. 



2010   Edge Program, Artist Trust/ArtsNow

2009   University of Washington, Fiber Arts Certificate

1998   Workshop - David Walker 

1993   Workshop - Liz Axford, fiber dyeing

1990   Workshop – Jan Meyers-Newberry, fiber dyeing 


2017     Fiber Fusion Regional, Schack Art Center, Everett, WA

2016 Fiber Fusion traveling exhibit 2016-2017 Washington SDA  Richland, Port Townsend, Issaquah, and Everett, WA

Beneath The Surface LaConnor Quilt & Textile Museum, LaConnor, WA

2015 Bountiful Textures Burien Art Gallery, Burien, WA

Beyond Blue, Sidney Art Museum, Port Orchard, WA

2014     Edge Reunion Show, Edmonds Conference Center, Edmonds, WA

Out of the Blue, LaConnor Quilt & Textile Museum, LaConner, WA

       Art Show, Blooms Winery – A Taste of Art and Wine Whidbey Island, WA

  Life on the Left Edge, Lattimer Quilt & Textile Museum, Tillamook, OR

  Island to Island, Aljoya Mercer Island, Mercer Island, WA

  Edging Out, TK Corridor Gallery, Seattle, WA

  Fiber Art, Everett Schack Center, Everett, WA

Blue & Beyond, Auburn City Hall Gallery, Auburn, WA

Blue & Beyond, Lynnwood Library Gallery, Lynnwood, WA

12 x 12, Todd Art Gallery Online Exhibit, MSTU, Murfreesboro, TN

Who Does She Think She Is, TK Corridor Gallery, Seattle, WA

Art & Social Justice Conference, Seattle Center, Seattle, WA

Artist’s Trust Edge Celebration, WA Convention Ctr, Seattle, WA

2011     Between The Lines, Café Solstice, Seattle, WA

Connecting Threads, UW Towers, Seattle, WA

Texture, Blue Horse Gallery, Bellingham, WA

The Answer, Lowell Artworks, Everett, Wa

Collective Works, Auburn City Hall, Auburn, WA

One by One, Café Javasta, Seattle, Wa

2010    On The Surface, LaConner Quilt and Textile Museum, LaConner, WA

        Equinox/Solstice  Café Solstice, Seattle WA 

  Making Our Marks   Open Door Gallery Langley, WA

Edge Exhibit  Edmonds Conference Center Edmonds, WA

Collective Works  ArtsEast, Issaquah, WA

Marks and Markings  UW Business Center, Seattle, WA

Along The Edge Maple Valley Creative Arts Center, Maple Valley, WA

2009  Surface Matters, Penn Cove Pottery Gallery, Coupeville, WA  

            Penn Cove Pottery Gallery,  Coupeville, WA  

Fibermorgana  UW Towers, Seattle, WA

That Was Then, Bayview Corner Whidbey Island   

               Mellow Yellow, Lynnwood Arts Comm.  Lynnwood Library (juried)

               It’s Good To Be Green  Latimer Quilt & Textile Center,

               Tillamook, OR Curated by Larkin Van Horn (Invitational)

2007    Rockhopper Coffeehouse and Folk Art Gallery Clinton, Wa  

2006   Coastal Bank,  Freeland, WA 

                 Island Fabrics,  Freeland, WA (solo show)

                 Penn Cove Pottery Gallery, Coupeville, WA 

2005   Perceptions in Reality  Latimer Quilt & Textile Center, Tillamook, OR 

2004   Perceptions in Reality  LaConner Quilt Museum, LaConner, WA                     

2003   Perceptions in Reality Three Uppity Women Penn Cove Pottery Gallery, Coupeville, WA  


2016 Unmade Bed, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts Langley, WA

2010 Hidden Among Us Good Cheer, Langley, WA

2009 Move, Baby, Move, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, site specific

             Memorial, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts Langley, WA


 2016 Unmade Bed, The Exhibit, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts Langley, WA


 2010 Whidbey Island Arts Council 


“Memorial Placed at WICA”, South Whidbey Record, April 15, 2009

Professional Affiliations:

Member of Surface Design Association

Past President Contemporary Art Quilt Association

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
— Cesar A. Cruz, Human Rights Fighter