Betty Busby played at “Arts and Crabs” with her two little sisters as a small child, and continued her obsession through graduation from the Rhode Island School of Design, with a ceramics major. She founded and operated a ceramic tile manufacturing firm in Los Angeles, and sold it after 18 successful years in order to move to New Mexico to raise her son. She is a published fiber artist and teacher, and maintains a busy exhibition schedule nationally and internationally.
Betty Busby lives and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Betty majored in ceramics in college and received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design with a focus on sculpture, and also studied fiber there (as well as at the Kansas City Art Institute). She eventually invented a process in her studio to make stoneware tiles and had to learn how to install them herself because professional tile setters refused to work with them. This led to her starting her own company in California called Busby-Gilbert Tile, Inc. She operated the firm for 18 years and then sold it in order to retire to New Mexico. The company is still in operation today.
Betty began quilt making in the 1970s. She picked old clothes out of trash cans and took apart curtains and dyed them. Today she works with all types of fabric and non woven synthetic material.
She works alone so all of her pieces are designed and handmade by her.
When asked what her design process is, she said, “One thing leads to another. A recent progression started with rocks. Then rocks + plants, then rocks + trees + water, then trees + rocks, then trees by themselves. (I’m) still stuck on them.”
I asked about the profound influences on her work and style, and Betty said, “My ceramics professor at RISD, Jun Kaneko, showed what it is like to make art #1 in your life.
She also said, “My sister, Kitty, for letting me share a house with her and have the time and space to make things.”
Betty has a goal of helping to make fiber art more fully integrated in the fine art world. She says that more exposure and aiming to reach the highest level in the medium is what will get fiber artists there.
As a member of Studio Art Quilt Associates since 2008, she has volunteered to help organize regional exhibitions all over the world, giving the artist members the opportunity to hang their work in gallery settings.
When asked what the weirdest thing she ever made was, she said, “I chopped the head off a dead mouse I found and substituted a sardine head. Didn’t smell very good.” Yikes! I think I’m glad she prefers to work with fibers.
Betty Busby Albuquerque, New Mexico Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: bbusbyarts.com
selected exhibition history
- Quilt National, multiple
- Art Quilt at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 2007, 2008
- World Quilt Show Xll, Best of United States, 2008
- International Quilt Association “Celebrate Spring”, award, 2009, 2008
- Art Quilt: Cultures, Judge’s Award, 2008
- Pacific International Quilt Festival, Honorable Mention, 2006
- Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta, first place, 2006
- Threadlines, second place, 2008
- “My World in Black & White”, Gitner-Moore Memorial Award, 2009
- “Sense of Time” SAQA show
- Northern New Mexico Quilt Fiesta, first, third place, judge’s award 2008
- Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival, Best Pictorial, 2009
- MQX, Judge’s Award, 2008
- American Quilt Expo, Des Moines, Ia, 3rd place, 2008
- Road to California, 3rd Place, 2009
- Quilt Odyssey, Judge’s Award, 2008
- National Quilting Association, Judge’s Award, 2008
- International Quilt Association, Houston, 2008, 2009
- Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta, Best of Show, Best Pictorial, Best Quilting awards 2009
- Quiltscapes at the Whistler, best in Show, 2009
- The Brush Art Gallery, 2009
- American Quilter’s Society Quilt Expo, first place, 2009
- Denver National Quilt Exhibition, second place, 2009
- Art Quilt: Transitions, 2009, 2 awards. Cary, NC.
- Fuller House Gallery, Los Alamos, Impressions Show, Judge’s Award 2009
- Gallery 101 Main in Collinsville, Connecticut
- TAQS in Taiwan
- Johnson’s of Madrid, New Mexico
- Sacred Threads, Ohio
- Studio Art Quilt Associates
- Quilt Visions
- AQS Calendar cover 2009
- SAQA Portfolio 15, cover, 2008
- Quilting Arts Magazine, “Beaded Trees”, 2009
- Machine Quilting Unlimited, “Reflections”, 2009
- Textile Arts, spring 2010
- American Quilter, pending
- Quilting Arts, cover, 2022
- Rhode Island School of Design, Providence Rhode Island
- Graduated 1974 with a BFA in Ceramics
- Kansas City Art Institute 1973