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Judith Baker Montano portrait

About Judith Baker Montano


Judith Baker Montano is a Canadian fibre artist who grew up on the historic Bar U ranch in the beautiful foothills of Alberta, Canada. Her great-grandmother was a master quilter and her mother taught her needle skills at an early age. She attributes the rich, embellished ethnic influence in her work to living next door to an Indian reservation and a Hutterite Colony where she observed beautiful handicrafts. Eight years overseas in England, Germany, and Japan was another profound influence on her artwork and outlook.

Judith attended the University of California at Chico, graduating with a degree in Art and Journalism. Upon graduation, she painted with the San Francisco Art Guild. She started quilting in 1976 while living in Houston, Texas. There she was an active member of the Kingswood Quilt Guild. Judith made her first prize winning quilt in 1982, winning Best of Show at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was a special victory as her great-grandmother won the same award in 1934.

She began to concentrate on applique quilting and "Pekisko Memories" a quilt depicting her childhood home, won Best of Show at the Texas State Fair and the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, British Columbia. It also won the Mountain Mist award, the Margaret Steel award for design and color among others. It was presented to the Bar U Historical Museum in 1995 and represents ranching in Canada.

At the same time, Judith was running a successful antique shop and tearoom. For six years, people enjoyed her European menu and hospitality in an old, converted church. In 1982 she closed the shop
to pursue a full-time career in fibre arts.
Her designs soon turned to clothing and crazy quilting. Using rich fabrics, vibrant color combinations, embroidery, beading and punch needle, original pieces took on a unique style. Judith's Indian heritage appears in many of her art garments and embellishment projects.

Experimenting with materials and sewing machine, Judith created a machine method of crazy quilting using a five-sided centerpiece, which proved to be fast and effective. This led to teaching classes and her first book on crazy quilting. Over the years she has become the leading expert on crazy quilting and embellishments.

Judith has been honored to be spokesperson and endorser for both
Kanagawa Silk Company of Tokyo, Japan and W.F.R. Ribbons, USA, distributors for Mokuba Ribbons of Tokyo, Japan. She designs for Treenway Silks and Robert Kaufman Fabrics Co. Judith received the prestigious "Governor General's Centennial Award of Canada" for her work in the arts and representation of Canadiansliving abroad.

Judith has done commission work for many international firms. Her art garments have been featured in several fashion shows and have traveled around the world. Her work has been featured at the Denver Art Museum, Denver Colorado; Profiles Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; and the Dairy Barn in Athens,Ohio. Her designs have been featured in dozens of magazines. She is an associate editor for Belle Armoire, Art to Wear.

Judith has appeared on TV shows such as the Carol Duval Show, Simply Quilts and The Quilt Show. She has produced tutorial videos and DVDs. Judith's career has taken her from painting, to quilting, to crazy quilting and embellished embroidery artwork. Although her work keeps evolving, crazy quilting always appears in new designs and she has turned it into a contemporary art form. She is renowned for her fibre landscapes, which incorporate all aspects of art and needlework techniques. Judith incorporates a unique combination of her photography, watercolors, pen and ink illustrations and friendly prose along with her needlework designs and love of color. An accomplished fiber artist, Judith is also a qualified teacher and lecturer.

Judith resides in La Veta, Colorado with her husband Ernest Shealy and
an ever-growing menagerie of pets.