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 commercial 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


PBS Fabrics

Riley Blake Designs

Camelot Fabrics

Published in

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