Many on the AccuQuilt team admired Kimberly Bennefield's work for quite sometime. Her social media is filled with bright colors, edgy graphic elements and beautiful modern approaches to traditional favorites. Just about any quilting technique you can dream of, she's given it a try and knocked it out of the park. So we were thrilled when she was interested in appearing in our gallery and joining our GO! Getter team.
While we can't have quilters in to see these beauties in person, technology has allowed us to show them off in a way they deserve.
AccuQuilt: We’re so excited to feature your work in our gallery! How did you choose the pieces to send?
Kimberly Bennefield: Thank you! I honestly tend to create quilts to give away, so some of my favorites are now with the friends and family they were intended to be with. The quilts currently in my personal collection are primarily those I’ve created as projects to learn techniques or play with color, or as a part of a project with my local modern quilt guild, Portland Modern Quilt Guild.
AQ: Is there anything we should know or think when we view your gallery?
KB: The quilts in the gallery are an excellent visual of my journey in learning to quilt. The butterfly quilt was a gift for my grandmother and she passed a few months after I was able to bring the quilt to her. Because of this quilt, I was able to see and visit her before that. The black rainbow bargello quilt was a gift for my mother, who passed back in Dec 19. Her quilt was “well loved” because she spent so much time going back and forth to dialysis and over the past couple of years had adopted a somewhat rambunctious little fur baby.
AQ: Wow, that falls right in line with how quilting creates joy and comfort. How did you find quilting?
KB: I found my way back to it. Around 20 years ago, I picked up garment sewing, mainly to create costumes and clothing for my children. But as they grow to be “too cool” for clothes by mom, I’d stop sewing for a few years. I stumbled across online schools, first CreativeBug, then Craftsy and loved the format and re-sparked my sewing mojo.
AQ: Tell us a little about your first quilt.
KB: My first quilt was the Rainbow Jelly roll quilt on CreativeBug. I enjoyed to process of finding a colorful jelly roll pack and selecting the colors to use. It helped me to discover the vibrant array of colors and prints available in today’s quilting cottons.
AQ: What are you working on now?
KB: A large paper-pieced pattern, with the text Black Lives Matter at the center. I was selected as one of a few Instagram followers to receive the pattern. I'm also trying out a new block pattern I found, called “African Queen”. It’s an excellent use of the 6 1/2” square to cut beautiful prints to represent the clothing in the block. I'm also creating Roman shades and traversing curtains for our home and updating my sewing studio to accommodate my needs. We moved into our home a year ago.
AQ: From where do you draw inspiration most often?
KB: YouTube, these days, but generally social media, from Pinterest to Instagram and with some Facebook groups.
AQ: You have an amazing approach and confidence when it comes to color. How do you choose your fabrics and materials?
KB: Thank you! From the beginning of my quilting journey, I have always been drawn to a certain modern feel to both fabrics and overall pattern. The participation in a guild of other quilters has provided me the ability to hear how others view my style. I really love deep rich colors and often like a pop of a vibrant color, like a chartreuse. But I also really love wovens, particularly those with metallics, like the Essex linens with metallic.
AQ: You play around with so many piecing styles and quilting techniques. What leads you to choose your next project?
KB: Usually it’s an excitement to learn something new or try something out in a new way. After that, it would be just for the love of a specific technique or look. For instance, the quilting using one large spiral over square shapes. I really love that look, so I try it in different color combinations.
AQ: Where are some of your favorite places that quilting has taken you?
KB: Definitely Sisters, Oregon would have to be first on the list right now. It’s such a beautiful part of the country, as is much of Oregon, but there are also so very many talented and creative and kind people there. Each year I’ve been a part of their annual outdoor quilt show has been a joy.
AQ: Who or what influences your art most?
KB: It is really challenging to pinpoint a single influence. I am influenced by life, by friends and family, by things happening around me and by how much I have learned vs. how much more I would love to learn.
AQ: What are you most excited to be working on in the next year or two?
KB: I am really excited to grow myself as a brand, I guess you could say. I want to be able to better share my joy of these creative and empowering outlets. I keep taking about starting a channel, so it’s time to put that into action, along with launching a site that really focuses on this part of me.
AQ: If people want to follow your work, where should they go?
KB: A couple of places, right now. BlackWebDiva.com is the website and brand I launched over 20 years ago. There are a few pieces there, and and associated Instagram and Facebook page - (@blackwebdiva). Coming soon will be my new website/branding for NW Pepper (nwpepper.com), which will focus on quilting and sewing. The Instagram and Facebook pages for this brand currently have a good showing of examples of my work. It is @nwpepper.
AQ: Is there anything we missed that you want the world to know?
KB: I think it’s important to mention a huge force behind the work I am able to do in this realm is my husband, Carlton. He has been present at guild events, and created sewing spaces and contraptions whenever I need, aside from constant and consistent encouragement and support. So, yea, that’s kinda important. :)
Rapid Fire Round!
Favorite project you’ve worked on: The Zebra Appliqué quilt for my granddaughter.
Favorite time to work: Anytime I can! I sneak in a few minutes here and there, especially these days.
Favorite quilting snack: Popcorn
Favorite thing to listen to when quilting: Music
Favorite way to unwind: A glass of wine
Favorite hobby outside of quilting: Bag making, Garment Sewing, Oil Paining