Learn How A Miami Artist Weaves A Sense Of Time Into Her Quilts


artist Regina Durante Jestrow sitting on a table in her miami studio surrounded by textiles

Textile artist Regina Durante Jestrow poses in her Miami studio.

Some American stories are never written. Instead, they are quilted deep into fabric and batting. Generations of female artisans—often nameless and unseen—have stitched their lives into patchwork patterns, a legacy Regina Durante Jestrow honors by weaving her own voice into this American tradition. Her geometric quilts are laden with memories, incorporating found materials and hand-dyed fabrics. This art form offers “a different way of thinking about the past,” she describes, “constructing your own story from what already exists in the world.”

close-up of artist Regina Durante Jestrow sketching in a sketchbook

The artist fills countless sketchbooks with potential configurations.

close-up of artist regina jestrow using a sewing machine

Jestrow uses a sewing machine to stitch her final composition directly onto muslin.

colorful threads in the studio of regina jestrow

Colorful threads await their transformation into mesmeric quilts.

close-up of various textile and an in-progress quilt in regina jestrow's studio

The artist incorporates found materials and hand-dyed fabrics into her work.

A recent work by regina jestrow composed of hand-dyed fabric fragments

A recent work is composed of hand-dyed fabric fragments.

Playing with historical quilt motifs, like the classic log cabin and triangle, satisfied the artist’s career-long fascination with geometry. “I keep finding new ways to tell distinct stories, creating new feelings and effects with the same patterns,” says Jestrow, who fills countless sketchbooks with potential configurations. From a studio space in her home, she uses a sewing machine to stitch her final composition directly onto muslin, juxtaposing various textures and adding visual depth by layering sheer materials or padding segments with stuffing. More than pure exercises in line and form, the fabrics introduce layers of the past. “They have a history to them,” she observes. “Patterns, textiles and colors can remind people of their mother’s curtains or grandmother’s tablecloths.”

Fellow Miamians may recognize their hometown in Jestrow’s recent series, “Pieces of the Landscape,” shown at Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Skolnick Surgical Tower. “I wanted to make a portrait of Miami using materials that translate our experiences into geometric pieces,” the artist says. Conjuring her early years in the city, she hunted local shops for secondhand party clothes in gold neoprene, sequins, acid-wash denim and silks.

These fragments are interwoven with fabrics dyed by hand using locally foraged elements. There’s South Florida’s lush flora in deep browns extracted from black olive trees, the sunset oranges of annatto seeds, the pale pinks of avocado pits, and the earthy reds of Shibori-style prints made from rusty metals. Whether hung like tapestries or stretched over frames, the final works capture Miami’s contradictions, its neon electricity and natural wildness.

It’s a poignant reminder that all quilts, in the end, are for remembrance—a thread that ties the present to people and places, long after they are gone.