Kathy and Joe DeForest have spent most of a life time in a collaboration of living together. They grew up less than ten miles from each other in New York's Finger Lakes farm country. Their grandparents were friends and neighbors. Kathy and Joe went to high school together, became high school sweet hearts, married, and have lived most of their lives in or very near their home towns of Genoa and King Ferry, New York.
Kathy began honing her sewing skills as a child. One of seven children growing up in a family of upholsterers, she first picked up a needle and thread in her 4-H Club The Live Wires. Her mother Ruth Quigley an upholstery professional and the driving force of the family owned upholstery shop, instilled precision and attention to detail in Kathy's stitching.
Kathy made her clothes through High School including prom dresses and eventually her wedding dress and helped out in the family upholstery shop, where she gained great appreciation of color and texture of fine textiles. She started her first quilting project with crushed velvet scraps from her mom's
shop. It is a quilt top that has the weight of old cast iron flat irons and it still resides in a trunk of unfinished projects.
Kathy went to nursing school and became a registered nurse and later became, and is still an operating room nurse. This has allowed her to increase her sewing skills working with sutures in the operating room.
Kathy's serious quilting began with enrollment in a quilt class in 1989 taught by local quilt artist and appraiser Eugenia Barnes. She attended classes of quilt artists Libby Lehman, Nancy Crow, Jane Sassaman, David Walker, Mary Stori, Melodie Johnson, Barbara Olsen and Catherine Anthony. Kathy has taught classes in free motion machine quilting and elementary piecing at quilt shops and at Wells College.
Joe's background in college was theatre and he has spent his career acting, directing and doing scenic and lighting design in regional and college theatre. Joe got involved in the quilting process in 1992 when Kathy started work on a piece influenced by the Southwest and her mom. The piece was named Tuscon Ruth. Joe assisted in design layout and color selection and got bit by the quilting bug. Since then Kathy and Joe have been working together on one of a kind quilts.
Kathy and Joe work pieces independently, but are happiest when they are blending their talents to create, one of a kind quilts. A freedom or flamboyancy of color is their trademark whether working on traditional or innovative quilts as they explore designs and themes in their work.
Joe and Kathy's studio is located in their restored Federalist Farm House, where thy raised tow amazing works of art, their daughters Lilly and Zella. They currently reside with their trusty psycho kitty- Otis. Their home has been in Joe's family for five generations and continues to morph as their needs and desires change. Kathy and Joe are avid cooks, enjoy good food, good wine, and good company. Their work is nationally recognized and has prized at the NQA Show; Schweinfurth Museum Quilt=ART=Quilt Show; Pennsylvania Grand National Quilt Show; AQS in Paducah, Kentucky; and Inland Empires Quilter Guild Show in Corona, California.
Kathy and Joe continue to display their work in regional galleries and national shows. They also present slide and trunk show lectures, where they give a brief overview of the history of quilting, and they get into the nitty gritty of their approach to their work, talking about individual pieces (inspiration, concept, and construction) and engaging in informal questions and answers concerning their work as each piece is displayed.