Payton’s work has a dynamic, energetic quality which evokes the liveliness of music. This is no surprise, as Payton is a musician as well as a visual artist. His visual medium is art quilts, in which he combines highly patterned fabrics, cut into random shapes that seem barely contained by the fabric border. One would not be at all surprised if the pieces of fabric broke through the frame and began dancing down the wall. 
— Andrea Gates, Exhibits Coordinator

Bob Payton Artist Statement

I’m a self-taught artist and folk musician who creates abstract art quilts. My hope is that these vibrant artworks will enliven and bring joy to offices, studios, public spaces and even children's rooms!

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Making the Quilts

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For me, abstract art making is experimenting and playing with fabric colors and shapes, somewhat like improvising music on the Celtic harp, five string banjo, harmonica and recorder. I find this freestyle way of working extremely engaging, imaginative and just plain fun. My design process is intuitive. Beginning with a blank square of cotton cloth pinned to an easel, I cut and affix fabric pieces, building up layers while keeping an eye on color, balance and motion.

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At a certain point I sew on a frame-like border, which becomes an integral part of the piece, and finally complete the work with layers of batting and backing, all quilted together in a non-traditional way. The works are untitled, but cataloged using Greek letters. Lightweight and easy to display, the quilts can add brightness and pizzazz to spaces.

Arts in Healthcare

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Creating art is also a visceral response to my challenging work as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, helping hospital patients with complex and serious medical conditions.