Kit Tossmann didn’t have to think for long when asked about the Turning Point on her artistic path.
“Someone wanted to pay me for my art,” she says. “Until then I never really thought of myself as an artist.”
Kit creates with fabric: liturgical banners, stoles and other vestments, and art quilts using inspirational themes under her studio name Kit Tossmann InSpirit Designs.
“What I really want to do with my art is to speak to the souls of others and reach them in a spiritual place within themselves; to uplift and possibly challenge as well.”
|Kit stands in the basement studio of her home. The quilt in the background is called "Jar & Water."|
Photos by Patti Hartog
Kit says her mother taught her to sew and Kit was inspired by the stained glass and symbolism in her father’s church. She graduated from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, with a degree in psychology and art.
|Kit surrounded herself with people she could learn from which contributed to her success as a quilter. |
This quilt is called "Peace Be With You."
Kit admits her artistic path contains a series of turning points, each one taking her art up another notch. “So many people and experiences came together to help me along the whole way. When I joined the Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists, that put me in touch with other artists — knitters and traditional quilters. They shared their work with me, and I attended workshops and learned different techniques. They were very encouraging.”
|This quilt is called "Peace Rising."|
Kit also acknowledges the invaluable support along the way of her husband Juergen Tossmann and daughter Aubrie.
She was also inspired by the work of Vikki Pignatelli and her book Quilting Curves. One of the techniques — it’s a product, really — that allowed Kit’s sewing to soar was Wonder-Under, a fusing web that let her easily incorporate curved pieces of fabric in her quilts and banners.
|One of Kit's initial sketches of a quilt.|
Kit has created art pieces for Presbyterian Church (USA) headquarters, Center for Women and Families, the chapels at Norton Suburban Hospital and Brooklawn Child & Family Services, and shared her knowledge in teaching workshops. Her art quilts have been selected for each of the four Sacred Threads exhibitions founded by Vikki Pignatelli.
|Kit works on a stole for a pastor.|
Her quilt design with its white dove in flight, Peace Be With You, graces a greeting card, and her piece Let the Justice Roll Down Like Water was chosen for the cover of the book Act Justly, Love Tenderly by John Neafsey.
Kit uses an electric — “but not computerized,” she affirms — sewing machine and thinks of fabric as paint. She is drawn to designs showing movement and is influenced by nature and the seasons. Her first banners were large — 8 foot by 4 foot — but she has moved to creating on a smaller scale. “I don't get down on the floor anymore,” she says with a smile.
So her path, it turns out, has been full of graceful curves that match the contours of her work.
“My artistic growth was always the result of the collective influence of others, and their validation helped me overcome my fears of rejection,” she says. “If one can muster up the courage to present her gifts to the world, whatever they may be, someone will validate them and that in turn fosters confidence and promotes feelings of competence. The amazing thing about the creative process is that something comes into being that was not there before and could not come into the world without that particular person giving birth to it.”