CHICAGO — Artist Emily Van Hoff’s recent residency at Pendry Chicago Boutique Hotel was the public’s first glimpse of her vibrant quilting in action. The South Loop designer has created a green and gold fabric pendant inspired by the iconic Carbon brand & Carbide building where the hotel is located.

“This is the first event where people can see my work in person, which is really exciting,” Van Hoff said. “I wanted to figure out how to incorporate some of the Art Deco building details into my projects and into my quilting.”

Van Hoff quilts are colorful works of art uniquely shaped with dynamic patterns and textures. The artist’s intention is that they bring a happy quality to the spaces in which they are hung.

“I think I’m most interested in creating joyful, unexpected things,” Van Hoff said. “I just love that they’re going to homes where they’re going to be cherished, enjoyed and hopefully passed on.”

Quilting art for purchase on her website, emilyvanhoff.com, is the second act for Van Hoff. Her husband Matt died unexpectedly in January 2020, and she lost her job as an art director and graphic designer shortly after. In the midst of these sudden changes, Van Hoff channeled her grief and anxiety into sewing and creating art.

“I just gave myself some time to do whatever I wanted and then I shared those things online,” Van Hoff said. “The encouragement from Instagram helped direct where my work went.”

Today, Van Hoff makes tapestries, quilt collages and quilt patches on denim jackets, which usually sell out very quickly. Her “blanket quilts” are her most popular designs.

“I really think sewing and quilting are making a bit of a comeback right now,” Van Hoff said. “I think I’ve all been drawn to very tactile, textural things in our digital world.”

To see the artist in action, search @emilyvanhoff on Instagram.

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