Holly Clarke

About Me

I am a modern quilter and graphic designer from Winnipeg, Canada.

I have been sewing since the late ’90s when I studied fine arts and graphic design at the University of Manitoba. I learned how to sew so that I could combine a variety of textiles with found objects in my projects. I used my sewing skills and my love of fabric to create a trendy hat business that helped me pay my way through university and many years later, I started a baby clothing company called Small Potatoes, which I still operate today. In 2017 I discovered the world of modern quilting. I was instantly smitten by the intersection of shape, colour, and fabric.

I designed the first quilt I ever made by myself, not realizing that there were actual quilt patterns out there. Eventually I discovered the world of patterns and quickly realized that this was something I wanted to do, using my graphic design skills married with my love of modern quilts. In June 2019, I released my first quilt pattern called the Raw Diamond quilt.

I am inspired by the world around me, from shapes in nature and architecture, to bold visual graphics I see in various pop culture media (movies, advertising, packaging, fashion, board games). My design aesthetic is heavily influenced by being a child of the ’80s; my parents’ home furnished with mid-century modern furniture, my mother’s love of Scandinavian textiles, my Sanrio toy collection, Saturday morning cartoons, Archie comics, and record album artwork.

My go-to colour palette is bright and bold and often includes hot pinks and sunny yellows. Through the design process, I swap different colours in and out until the overall palette makes my heart sing. I love to play with colours, seeing where a design can go with different effects such as transparency and contrast. I also enjoy pairing beautiful prints with coordinating solids to honour my love of prints while giving the eye a bit of a resting place with the solids.

I lean towards symmetry and balance in my designs, so I tend to design block-based quilts. I find that during the piecing process it can be very rewarding to focus on one block at a time, knowing that it is a small part of the whole quilt. Building on traditional quilt blocks I have fun swapping out elements for modern shapes such as curves. For instance, swapping out a half square triangle for a Drunkard’s Path curve can really change the feel of a block in a surprising way. With every quilt that I design, I challenge myself to try something new, whether it is with the overall quilt design, the fabrics I use, a construction technique or the quilting process. By following this personal challenge I find that my style is ever-evolving into something that truly represents who I am.

Formal Education
University of Manitoba
Bachelors of Fine Arts (Hons.)
Winnipeg Modern Quilt Guild

Social Media Director


PFAFF Sewing Logo

PBS Fabrics

Riley Blake Designs

Camelot Fabrics

Published in

Love Patchwork & Quilting Issue 117

Love Patchwork & Quilting
Issue #117

LP&Q 110 Cover

Love Patchwork & Quilting
Issue #110

Canadian Quilters Magazine

Canadian Quilter Magazine
Spring 2022

Be Creative Magazine Cover

Be Creative with Workbox
Issue #193