Sally Sellers

I was born in Kansas, but grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a city dominated by the University. My favorite subjects in school were math, science, and writing. Nothing excited me more than having a project going, but since I couldn’t draw accurately, I never considered myself an artist. However, there was unparalleled joy in making things, and I thought that being paid for doing so would be the best of all worlds. My quest was to find the vehicle to place me in that world.

I drifted among majors in college, finally graduating from Michigan State University in Horticulture, a fairly creative outlet that served me at the time, but about which I have subsequently forgotten everything. Research work in a physiology lab made me happier, so I did that for a while, writing fiction on the side. Although I published a couple of stories rather quickly, it all seemed too tenuous. I wanted a sure thing. I realized there was nothing surer than the on/off binary world of computers and embraced the world of programming and analysis. I was at my best when I designed new code, but this was the business world, and I was constantly being urged to work faster and to “stop making everything a work of art all the time”.

Shortly after moving to the Northwest, my two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a devastating neurological condition. My faith in sure things, happy endings, and a fair universe was shattered. It was a horrible, desperate time: I was paralyzed with grief. My counselor insisted that I do something pleasurable in order to survive. I turned to the manipulation of color and form in quilts as a form of therapy.

I now know that this type of work is, as they say, what I was born to do. Creating textile art allows me the satisfaction of combining visual, analytical, and tactile needs. I have come to realize that this is where all the paths were leading all along. Whether this realization would have arrived had my daughter’s illness not forced me into a new way of thinking is a question I often ask but cannot answer. I do know that all subsequent work has been an effort to be at peace with the terms of an unfair universe.