While pursuing a degree in molecular biology and masters in biomedical illustration, Sue Benner created her vision of the microscopic universe in painted and quilted textile constructions. Her early work propelled her to become a studio artist in 1980, working primarily in the medium which later became known as the Art Quilt.

Sue is an innovator in her field, creating original dyed and painted fabrics which she combines with recycled textiles to form fields of structured pattern, vivid beauty, and riotous variation.

Sue’s artwork is in many private, corporate, and institutional collections. She also lectures and teaches workshops nationally and internationally in the fields of surface design, textile collage, fused quilt construction, and artistic inspiration. Her work has been juried into Quilt National seven times, and she served as a juror in 2009. 

Living in Dallas, Texas, with her husband, Craig Jett, and their two sons, Sue works in her studio built in the backyard of their family home. However, a part of her heart resides still in her home state of Wisconsin.

Sue Benner with Cellular Structure VII

There is always an underlying structure in my work, a set of rules. I think of each piece as a small world where I can declare the laws of nature. 

My love affair with fabric began with my first memories of the clothes my mother made me, recalling exact hue, fiber content, and weave. In the ensuing years, my mother taught me to sew, carefully and creatively. 

My father always had a pencil in his hand or behind his ear, drawing on napkins in restaurants and painting on the weekends. He inspired and encouraged me in art. 

My education in molecular biology and medical illustration still figures in my work with an underlying sense of structure and organizing principles. I see a direct connection between the concept of quilt and the assembly of units to make a larger whole.

I work on 5-10 quilts at a time, often in two different series. This way of working suits the nature of my mind. Series and ideas overlap, playing off of one another. I use my visual vocabulary to weave my work together, creating patterns and layers of meaning.

I revel in the simple act of placing one fabric next to another.

S  U  E    B  E  N  N  E  R
textile artist

EXHIBITIONS - selected

Exhibit IV, Fine Line Designs Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Door County, WI, 2012
Walking Through Time, ArtQuilt Gallery NYC, New York, NY, 2012
Selections from the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection, Visions Art Quilt Museum: Contemporary Quilts & Textiles, San Diego, CA, 2012
Faculty Exhibition, North Country Studio Workshops, Bennington College, Bennington, VT, 2012
Contemporary Visions of Surface Design: Textile as Painting/Painting as Textile, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, MA, 2012
Art Quilts XVII, Vision Gallery, Chandler, AZ, 2012
Layers: The Walsh Collection, Arnot Museum, Emira, NY, 2012
Paint and Stitch:  Art Quilts, European Patchwork Carrefour, Ste.-Marie-aux-Mines, Alsace, France, 2011
Sense of Adventure, Festival of Quilts, Houston, TX (traveling exhibition: Cincinnati, OH; Grand Rapids, MI; Long Beach, CA), 2011
Pushing the Surface, Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, Coshocton, OH, 2011
Happiness: Quilted Expressions, Quilt/Surface Design Symposium, Riffe Gallery, Columbus, OH, 2011
Lone Stars III: Texas Quilts Today, 1986-2011, Festival of Quilts, Houston, TX, 2011
ART in Embassies,
U.S. Embassy, Vientiane,Laos, 2011; Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 2004
Invitational Quilt Exhibition, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, 2010
Fifth Dimension, Katie Gingrass Gallery, Milwaukee, WI, 2010
Cream of the Cloth: Quilts from the Marbaum Collection of Hilary and Marvin Fletcher, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, 2010
Art Quilts: Contemporary Expressions from the Collection of John M. Walsh III, Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ, 2010
Baylor Contemporary Quilt Invitational, Martin Museum of Art, Baylor University, Waco, TX, 2009
Full-Spectrum: Natural Fibers, Quilts & the Textile Arts, University Art Museum, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, 2009
Reservoir: John M. Walsh III Collects, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, CA, 2009
Quilt National, Dairy Barn, Southeastern Ohio Cultural Arts Center, Athens, OH, 2009(as juror); juried, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1997, 1995, 1993, 1989
The Quilted Surface V, Cultural Arts Center, Columbus, OH, juried, 2009
RE-USE: Quilts Gone Green, The Works, Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology, Newark, OH, juried, 2009
New Beginnings: Quilts by Texas Quilt Artists, Irving Arts Center, Irving, TX, invitational, 2008
Structure, Surface and Expression, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC, invitational, 2008
Material Matters: Quiltmaking in the 21st Century, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH, 2008
Sue Benner: New Work, Jane Sauer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, solo, 2007, 2006
Pieced Together: Historic Quilts and Contemporary Fiber Arts, Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, Lancaster, OH, invitational, 2007
Give and Take, Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, 2007; & Riffe Gallery, Ohio Arts Council, Columbus OH, 2007
Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection, Visions Art Quilt Gallery, San Diego, CA, 2007
Exhibit IV, Fine Line Designs Gallery, Door County, Ephraim, WI, 2006
SAQA: The Creative Force Then, Fall International Quilt Festival 2006, Houston, TX, invitational, 2006
EXPOSED: Contemporary Art Quilts, Noho Gallery, New York, NY, juried, 2006
Explorations II, Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, OH, invitational, 2006
The Art of Crafts in America, Chautauqua Center for the Visual Arts, Chautauqua, NY, invitational, 2005
Art Quilt XII, Alegre Retreat, Gateway Canyons, CO, 2010; Santa Fe, NM, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002
Annual Contemporary Quilt Exhibition, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, 2004, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
The Edge of Color, Marie Park Private Dealer, Dallas, TX, two-person show, 2004, 2000, 1996, 1992
Festival of Quilts: Featured Artist, Birmingham, England, solo, 2004
Explorations, Wesserling Textile Museum, Mulhouse, France, invitational, 2003
Fresh Color, Fine Line Designs Gallery, Ephraim, WI, two-person show, 2003
Art Quilts Now, Paine Art Center, Oshkosh, WI, invitational, 2003
Fabric Constructions, Leedy-Voulkos Gallery, Kansas City, MO, invitational, 2003
Thirteen Moons Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; solo or two-person show, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000
Inspirations, Improvisations, Interpretations, Quilt & Art, Mülheim am Main, and Kloster Irsee, Germany, 2001
Oxymorons: Absurdly Logical Quilts, Museum of the American Quilter’s Society, Paducah, KY (and U.S. tour), 2001
Sue Benner: Homeland, Fine Line Designs Gallery, Ephraim, WI, solo, 2001
Abstract Connections, Art and Cultures Gallery, Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI, three-person, 1999
Pushing the Surface, Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, Coshocton, OH, 1999
The 5th Quilt Nihon Exhibition, Tokyo, Japan (and tour); Judge Tadanobu Seto Prize, 1998
Visions: Quilt Expressions, Museum of San Diego History, San Diego, CA (and U.S. tour), 1998, 1996, 1994, 1992
Transformed: Textiles as an Expressive Medium, Natal Society of Arts, Durban, South Africa, 1998
Quilts: A Vibrant Journal, Museum of the American Quilter’s Society, Paducah, KY, solo, 1994
Quilts Now, Oklahoma City Art Museum, Oklahoma City, OK, invitational, 1994
Quilts: A Vibrant Journal, Lucy Berman Gallery, Palo Alto, CA, solo, 1994
Quilts: A Vibrant Journal, Neville Public Museum, Green Bay, WI, solo, 1993
Crafts National 27, Zoller Gallery, Penn State University, University Park, PA, 1993


Alegre Retreat, Gateway Canyon Resort, CO, 2010; Santa Fe, NM, 2003
Annie’s Star Quilt Guild, Chico, CA, 2012
Arkansas Quilters Guild, Little Rock, AR, 2002
The Art Quilt Association (AQuA), Grand Junction, CO, 2013. 2011
Art Quilt Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, NV/CA, 2012-2003, 2001
Art Quilters Unlimited, Fort Myers, FL, 2008, 2006
Australasian Quilt Convention, Melbourne, Australia, keynote speaker, 2010
Canadian Rockies Quilt Art Conference, Canmore, AB, Canada, 2008
Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA, 2010
Colorado West Quilters Guild, Grand Junction, CO, 2011
Dallas Area Fiber Artists, lecture, 2011
Darting Needles Quilt Guild, Appleton, WI, 2008
East Bay Heritage Quilters, Berkeley/Oakland Area, CA, 2006, 1996
Empty Spools Seminars, Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, CA, 2013-2003
European Patchwork Meeting, Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, Alsace, France, 2012
Faithful Circle Quilters, Columbia, MD, 2013
Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, England, 2004
Fiber Artist Federation of San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, 2002
Front Range Contemporary Quilters, Denver Area, CO, 2003, 1998
Frisco Quilt Guild, Frisco, TX 2013
Guilded Lilies, Santa Rosa, CA, 2007, 2006
Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, Greenville, NY, 2012
Lions Gate Quilters Guild, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2009
Madeline Island School of the Arts, La Pointe, WI, 2012, 2011
Maiwa Textile Symposium, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2011
Merrimack Valley Quilters, MA, 2001
Milltown Quilters, Columbus, MD, 2013 
Mountain Top Quilters, Prescott AZ; lecture, 2011
Nancy Crow Timber Frame Barn, Baltimore, OH, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004
Needle Chasers of Chevy Chase, Chevy Chase MD, 2013
North Country Studio Workshops, Bennington College, Bennington, VT, 2012
North Suburban Needle Arts, Chicago area, IL, 2005
Omaha Quilter’s Guild, Omaha, NE, 2012
Out of Heart and Hand, Quilt Retreat, Cambria, CA, 2009
Pacific Piecemakers Quilt Guild, Gualala, CA, 2008
The Pacific Northwest Art School, Coupeville, Whidbey Island, WA, 2008
Patchwork Quilt Seminar in der Schwabenakademie Irsee, Irsee, Germany, 2000
PIVA, Engadiner-Quilt-Kollegium, St. Moritz, Switzerland, 2006
Professional Association of Appraisers – Quilted Textiles, Fort Worth, TX, panel, 2009
Queensland Quilters, Brisbane, Australia, 2010
Quilt & Art, Mülheim am Main, Germany, 2000
Quilt Gallery, Kallispell, MT, 2012
Quilt National 2009, Athens, OH, juror
Quilt Nebraska, keynote speaker, 1993
Quilt/Surface Design Symposium, Columbus, OH, 2013-2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1992
Quilters Quest, Fort Stockton, Port Angeles, WA, 2001
Quilter’s Sew-ciety, Redding, CA, 2012
Quilting Adventures, Round Top, TX, 2012; New Braunfels, TX, 2008; Boerne, TX, 2007
Quilting-By-The-Lake, Syracuse, NY, 2010, 2001
PRO Chemical & Dye, Fall River, MA, 2010
The Stitchin’ Post, Sisters, OR, 2010, 2012
Studio Art Quilt Associates, various locations, keynote speaker, 2010, 2001; panel, 2009; lecture, 19
Tucson Quilters Guild, Tuscon, AZ; lecture, 2011
Women Who Run with Scissors, Green Bay, WI, 2011

PUBLISHED WORKS – selected books, journals, magazines

Adventures in Design: the Ultimate Visual Guide, Joen Wolfrom, C&T Publishing, 2011
American Craft, Commissions, February/March 1989
America's Quilts, Publications International Ltd., 1990
American Quilter, Sue Benner, May,2013
Anniversary Issue, Artist Profile: Sue Benner, 2011
The Art Quilt, Robert Shaw, Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc., 1997
The Art Quilt Collection: Designs & Inspiration from Around the World, Sixth & Spring Books, 2010
Art/Quilt Magazine, Sue Benner, Issue #10, 1998
Award Winning Works of the 5th Quilt Nihon Exhibition, Catalog, Sadayoshi Noguchi, editor, 1998
Color: The Quilter's Guide, Christine Barnes, That Patchwork Place, 1997
Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter, Katie Pasquini Masopust and Brett Barker, C&T Publishing, 2005
Colour in Art Quilts, Janet Twinn, London, Batsford, 2011
Connecting Art to Stitch, Sandra Meech, Batsford, Anova Books Company, Ltd., 2009
Contemporary Quilt Art: An Introduction and Guide, Kate Lenkowsky, Indiana University Press, 2008
Contemporary Quilts: Quilt National 1997, Exhibition Catalog, Lark Books, 1997
Dernieres Nouvelles D’Alsace, Ann Muller, Jeudi 15 Septembre 2011
Diverse Voices of Women, Textbook, Susan F, Ballentine and Jessica B. Inclan, Mayfield Publishing Company, 1995
Fabric Gardens, Exhibition Catalog, Asahi Shibum, 1990
Fabric Trends, Fabric Artist Profile, Jack Braunstein, Summer 2006
Fiberarts Design Book Four, Nancy Orban, editor, Lark Books, 1991
Fiberarts Magazine, November/December 1999
Indiana Univesity Press Catalog 2008
Launching the Imagination: A Guide to Two-dimensional Design, Mary Stewart, 4th ed., New York, McGraw Hill, 2012
Launching the Imagination: A Comprehensive Guide to Basic Design, Mary Stewart. 4th ed.,  New York, McGraw Hill, 2012
Les Nouvelles: Patchwork et Création Textile, Revue Trimestrielle de l’Association  France Patchwork, Printemps, 2012
Les Nouvelles: Patchwork et Creation Textile, Monique Lopez et Nicole Dewitz, Hiver, 2011
Lone Stars III: Texas Quilts Today, 1986-2011 by Karey Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes, University of Texas Press, 2011
Material Matters: Quiltmaking in the 21st Century, Exhibition Catalog, Columbus Museum of Art, QSDI, 2008|
Magic Patch, Gül Laporte, Novembre/Decembre [November/December] 2011
Magic Patch, Gül Laporte,  Mai/Juin [May/June] 2011, 37-39
New Quilts: Interpretations and Innovations, Quilt National ’89 Exhibition Catalog, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1989
The New Quilt 2, Quilt National ’93 Exhibition Catalog, Taunton Press, Inc., 1993
On Wisconsin Magazine, January/February 1998
Patchwork Quilt Mania,May/June, 2012
Pioneering Quilt Artists, 1960-1980, Sandra Sider, 2010
Popular Patchwork, June 2004, September 2001
Portfolio 16: The Art Quilt Sourcebook, Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc., 2009
Portfolio 17: The Art Quilt Sourcebook, Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc., 2010
Quilt National ‘95: Contemporary Designs in Fabric, Exhibition Catalog, Lark Books, 1995
Quilt National 2005: The Best of Contemporary Quilts, Exhibition Catalog, Lark Books, 2005
Quilt National 2009: The Best of Contemporary Quilts, Exhibition Catalog, Lark Books, 2009
The Quilter’s Catalog: A Comprehensive ResourceGuide, Meg Cox, Workman Publishing, 2007
The Quilter’s Color Club: Secrets of Value, Temperature & Special Effects, Christine E. Barnes, C&T Publishing, 2011
Quilting Arts Magazine, Artist Profile, Pippa Eccles, December 2010/January 2011
SAQA Journal, Sue Benner, Summer 2010
Skinny Quilts & Table Runners II: 15 Designs from Celebrated Quilters, Eleanor Levie, editor, 2009
Surface Design Journal, Exhibition Review, Summer 2004
Systems of Psychotherapy, Textbook, James O. Prochaska and John C. Norcross, Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2007
United States Embassy Vientiane, Laos “Art in Embassies Exhibition,” Vientiane, Laos, 2011
“Why Quilts Matter,” PBS video, 2011
Visions: QuiltArt, Exhibition Catalog, C&T Publishing, 1996
Visions: Quilts of a New Decade, Exhibition Catalog, C&T Publishing, 1990
Visions: Quilts, Layers of Excellence, Exhibition Catalog, C&T Publishing, 1994


M.A., Biomedical Communications: Illustration, Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 1984, 1978-1980
Studio Art Studies, University of Wisconsin Madison, 1977-1978
B.S., Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Honors Program, Phi Beta Kappa, UW-Madison Communications Award, 1973-1977

Art Quilt Gallery New York, New York
Fine Line Designs Gallery Ephraim, Door County, Wisconsin
Katie Gingrass Gallery Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mobilia Gallery Cambridge, Massachusetts