Who is Patricia Belyea?
At age 53, Patricia Belyea made her first quilt out of old clothes from Goodwill. Once started, Patricia worked on quilting projects during every free hour (and hours she should have been working). "I was a fish who didn't know I was a fish until someone showed me the water," she explains.
On one of her many trips to Japan, Patricia discovered vintage yukata cottons. These hand-dyed fabrics with graphic patterns and luscious colors seemed ideal for making striking quilts.
A self-taught quilter, Patricia developed a technique for adding curves to her quilt designs. This piecing approach, called Complex Curves, complements the lyrical designs of the Japanese cot tons she uses in her work.
Today Patricia and her daughter Victoria co-own Okan Arts, a cottage business that imports vintage Japanese textiles. Okan Arts offers its remarkable textiles through an online shop and at trunk shows. The company also sells the Sashiko 2—a Japanese sewing machine that makes stitches that looks like hand quilting.
Patricia speaks at quilt guilds and teaches workshops around the US. She also writes blog posts about quilting and Japan at okanarts.com/blogs. In 2017, her book East-Meets-West Quilts: Explore Improv with Japanese-Inspired Designs was released by Abrams.
In January 2020, Patricia and Victoria took a group of 16 quilters to Japan for Okan Arts’ inaugural Tokyo Quilt Festival & Japanese Textile Tour.
Whenever she can, Patricia is in her studio creating innovative quilts with Japanese textiles. Currently Patricia is working on a quilt series that incorporates yukata cottons and her newest curved piecing technique—Inserted Curves.