Michelle Obama © Julie Hallquist

Michelle Obama

Julie Hallquist

Tucson, Arizona, USA

Artist Statement

I love the challenge of using commercially printed fabrics to paint a scene or tell a story. Digging through my “stash” as we refer to our fabric collections and finding just the right color and texture to evoke woodgrain or water gives such a feeling of satisfaction. I also love thread – – both using it in a decorative stitch to draw attention to an area, or provide a touch of contrast, and to have it melt into the fabric and simply provide texture.

As an art quilter, most of my work is representational, but I usually include some bit of traditional technique in the design as a homage to my grandmother and the other women who kept the quilting tradition alive and passed it on to me. In this quilt the patchwork of different ethnic fabrics represents the different cultures worldwide where adolescent girls are deprived of an education.

Michelle Obama inspired me both in the two major programs she launched during her husband’s time in office as well as with the intellect and grace she brought to the role of first lady.

Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment

Michelle Obama was our country’s first African American First Lady, launching Let’s Move to combat childhood obesity and global girls’ education initiative Let Girls Learn.


Machine piecing, fused raw edge appliqué, free motion embroidery, bobbin work, thread painting, free motion quilting


Commercial cottons, silk; cotton, silk and decorative threads