Technique: Pattiy Torno: Quilts With Multiple Dimensions

0708torn1_600x419_2Renowned quilter Pattiy Torno’s attention to detail results in fabric creations that have multiple dimensions.


by Stephanie Kaplan



Front Back
Acceptance of Not Perfect
2006, cotton fabric, wool batting,
and cotton embroidery floss, 58 x
83. All artwork this article
collection the artist unless
otherwise indicated.

Pattiy Torno believes her quilts should be viewed from both sides. “I like my quilts to have a front and a second front,” Torno explains. “Neither is better—the front allows me to play with lots of colors and different fabrics, but often the second front is more quiet where I play with larger shapes.” For example, the back of Inevitable almost stands alone as a separate quilt with its large floral pattern. Despite the differences in pattern and color between the fronts and backs of her quilts, Torno states, “I am a person who paints the undersides of everything with as much attention to detail as I paint the top. There is no place to hide—all aspects of the piece must speak to the quality of the whole.”

Peace of Mind
2006, cotton fabric, wool batting,
and cotton embroidery floss, 83 x 96.

Torno’s sewing skills make the back of her quilts more interesting. In contrast to the triangle pattern on the front of Acceptance of Not Perfect, the back of the quilt displays a banquet table with the stitches from the triangle pattern showing through the fabric. The layering of the geometric stitching pattern over the table replaces the texture of the varied cloth triangles on the front of the quilt. According to Torno, “The quilting often shows up better on the back than on the front, so it is important to want to look at both sides.” The artist’s mixture of machine piecing and hand quilting produces the details that make both sides of her work so appealing. “Paying attention in life makes the simple pleasures that much more sweet,” Torno explains, which is evident in the attention to detail in her remarkable quilts.

0708torn4_600x397_2 0708torn5_600x395 0708torn6_600x395 0708torn7_600x393
Front Back Front Back
Dignity and Respect
2006, cotton fabric, wool batting,
and cotton embroidery floss, 58 x 86.
2007, cotton fabric, wool batting,
and cotton embroidery floss, 57 x 86.

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