A young Rudee Ann Rudd Rodríguez improvised on the childhood tradition of selling lemonade, opening a stand to hawk her handmade dolls instead. It was an ordinary beginning for someone destined to become one of Indiana’s extraordinary fiber artists.
“Perhaps my artisan beginnings were at an unusually young age,” says the quilter from Lanesville. “My embarrassed parents discovered me peddling hand-sewn dolls to willing patrons in the courthouse offices across the street from my father’s dry cleaning business in Cadiz, Ky.”
Her mother taught Rudee Ann to sew, a skill she enjoyed and used to make her own clothes and teen fashion statements. When she married and moved to Southern Indiana in 1971, she discovered quilt making and turned to her mother for instruction.
“I shared my excitement about the dozens of handmade quilts I had seen raffled at summer church picnics around Corydon and Lanesville,” Rudee Ann says. “My mother had pieced many quilts as a teenager during the Depression and was pleased to get me started on my first quilt. She continued, and remains in spirit, as my model of creative drive, inspiration, perseverance, character, and integrity.”
The work gratifies Rudee Ann’s creative expression. She selects multi-patterned, multi-colored swatches of fabric, the kind best known for the time-honored scrap quilt. She draws on a lifetime of observation, travel, experience, encouragement, and practice as inspiration for her designs, colors and patterns.
Her quilts are distinguishable for what she calls the “visual layers of surprises.”
“They begin with the excitement of color and shape, followed by the stimulation of juxtaposed color and scale, discovering the relationships of different areas within a piece,” she explains. “They reveal subtle whimsy, and lastly, create an entirely new delight by the line of quilting which further elevates design within the overall composition.”
Rudee Ann’s work also engages students in visual arts, with funding provided by the Harrison County Community Foundation for arts enrichment classes at Corydon Junior High School, where Rudee Ann taught art during her 34 years in public education. That funding is a result of Rudee Ann’s Capitalizing Designs Quilt Project, which she originated, developed, and directed. The project culminated in 16 major works of art created by more than 100 volunteers in three states, using the original designs by her Corydon students.
Date / Time