Yvonne Porcella


Since I am an older quilter, I am familiar with many of the early pioneers in quilting, and one of them was Yvonne Porcella (photo above is from 1993).  I just learned of her death after her six year ordeal with ovarian cancer, and thought I would pass on pictures of her creativity.  Upon her death, the Modesto Bee wrote:


I lived in the Bay Area when she was well-known, and it was another quilter, Elinor Peace Bailey who told me about Yvonne and told me I should learn about her and look at some of her work.


So I purchased this book, and fell in love.  You can buy it for a penny on Amazon right now.  And then I bought another:


Here is some of her work:



(from here)



(many images from here)



Asked to reflect on her career, how it began and what drives her as an artist, Porcella says:  “As a child, motherly love taught me to knit and sew, and rip mistakes and make it right. Curiosity led to self education, enhanced by a collection of books, visits to museums, and exploration of textiles from other countries. Imagination generated inspiration and freedom led to invention. I learned creativity comes from making your own rules, understanding the limits of your chosen materials, and having confidence in personal skills.”

I’ll miss your influence and quilts, Yvonne.  Thank you for teaching me not to be afraid of color.


14 thoughts on “Yvonne Porcella

  1. Thanks so much for this introduction! At first I thought “Freddy Moran”, but Yvonne’s twist is different and I love it! Bought book 🙂

  2. Thank you for introducing me to her! My mom loves quilting, so I may have to get her some of these books for Christmas. 🙂 I am very new to quilting and haven’t had time yet to learn about all the names in quilting, aside from Kaffe Fassett, whom I know because of his knitwear. Yvonne’s work is really amazing – abstract pieces of art! I’m going to enjoy reading up on her. 🙂

  3. I remember hearing Yvonne’s name, but have never been familiar with her work. The caliber of her talent is beyond compare, and perhaps she was ahead of her time with all that modern-looking improvisational piecing. So bright, which completely suits a Californian. I’m sorry to know of her passing. Thanks for sharing her work!

  4. This is where I feel like QNM is really a loss. That is where I learned and was inspired by great quilters like Yvonne (she seems like Jen Kingwell’s long lost sister, right?). I can remember just being enthralled by amazing work like hers. Funny, it wasn’t my style at the time, but I ADORE it now!

  5. I’ve known of Yvonne’s work for a long time but not in any detail. I think I was first introduced to her through QNM and then saw some of her work in a book. It’s always been there tucked away in a corner of my mind. She had a marvelous love of color and even whimsy at times. I especially liked the colorful nature and play of her more structured pieces. Thanks for sharing this. I was sorry to hear of her death but it’s so valuable for others to know of her work.

  6. Beautiful tribute—so nice of you to post it. So much attention now goes to the ‘modern’ world of quilting, which would not exist without quilters like Yvonne.

  7. I love the contemporary art feel of her designs, and that last photo–well, how could you NOT love that?

  8. I hadn’t heard of Yvonne’s death until I read your post. I guess it doesn’t make the news here in Nebraska. I have many of her books and, like you, have been influenced by her work over the years. She will be missed in the quilting world, but her quilts and her pushing the front of quilting forward will be long remembered.

  9. Thank you, Elizabeth, for letting us know about her passing. I “met” her through Quilters Newsletter – how I’ll miss that magazine! – and saved the article so I could look again and again at her work. That last long quote is really terrific on the sources of one’s art. It reminded me that you had to write something – for an Upppercase publication?

  10. You yourself are so great with color that if you say her books are fantastic, I would not disagree. I am not familiar with her but two of her books will be waiting for me when I arrive in Florida. Thanks for the tip on Amazon for her books.

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