CA Small: One-of-a-Kind!

CA in her studio

CA in her studio

Linda Eisenhart and Kathryn Von Bargen

The SaddleBrooke Friday Quilt Club attracts many members who are not traditional quilters. Some label themselves as fiber artists or art quilters and each of them compliment the club’s varied activities.

Carol Ann Small (fondly known as CA) has sewn since age seven when her mother began teaching her to sew clothes and baby quilts. Later, other friends and family encouraged her to sell her baby quilts, so she began doing more quilting. CA learned that she preferred to “art quilt,” which means never using patterns and creating each piece as a one-off or unique creation. CA made her living doing precision drafting for architects and engineers, so her art quilting provided her a much-needed creative outlet. While living in Hawaii, she was hand-making clothing for a concert promoter’s assistant and became her stylist in exchange for tickets to the shows and a chance to meet backstage with the likes of Janis Joplin!

CA also lived in Napa Valley before moving to Arizona. Once in Arizona, she lived in Prescott and Oro Valley, and for the past five years, she’s been in SaddleBrooke. While in Oro Valley, she began doing workshops for friends who wanted to learn how to make some of the beautiful pieces she was creating. Her work has been sold at the Holiday and Artist Studio Tour in Oracle, the SaddleBrooke Arts & Craft shows, and at Absolutely Art Gallery & Gifts. CA is one of the few fiber artists represented at Absolutely Art Gallery & Gifts where she shows her fiber postcards, cord baskets (some with live air plants), and fabric wall hangings. CA also teaches thread painting at Cactus Quilts and enjoys watching the students go from being hesitant to having their “Aha!” moment when they realize that there are no real rules or mistakes and that they too can create a one-of-a kind piece!

Two years ago, CA Small and fellow SaddleBrooke resident Varda Main thought there was enough interest in non-traditional fiber arts to spin off a separate group of like-minded individuals and the SaddleBrooke Fiber Arts Club was born! They have not met since March but will be gearing up again soon.

Sadly, CA’s husband of 32 years, Dwight, recently passed away. She has spent some of her COVID-time moving her studio from her casita into her house doubling the space she has to host small classes. Looking ahead to a post-COVID time, CA wants to do workshops with kids when they visit their grandparents at SaddleBrooke so that they can do ice dying, create cord baskets, webbing, fabric collages, and much more. If you are interested in exercising your creativity or in having your grandkids participate in one of CA’s workshops, you can contact her at 520-400-8370 or [email protected]