Robin and Her Ego Quilt

by Sandra Bruce

I met Robin Martinez Rice around 18 years ago, when she and I were both members of a creative group called “Friends to Dye For”. We met every month for close to 10 years. (You may recall seeing her in my last blog about Las Vegas, as she was one of the ladies who accompanied me on that trip in January.) During our time in FTDF we experimented with many artistic disciplines, including but certainly not limited to: dyeing fabric, polymer clay, paper collage, workshops with fabulous teachers such as Jane Dunnewold and Marcy Tilton, and many other sometimes crazy but always entertaining mediums. I wanted to focus on Robin today because she took my workshop, actually the very first one I taught, doing a self-portrait Material Matrix quilt……it is fabulous, like she is, and I wanted to share it with you. That’s her in the green apron below. Obviously a dyeing day!

FTDF dye masks copy


Let me give you a little background on Robin. She is a native Californian, born and raised in Oakland, CA and Castro Valley. She graduated from Mills College with a BS in Psychology, and Cal State Hayward with a MS in School Psychology/Counseling. Keeping her busy, Robin worked in her private practice and for local school districts as an Educational Psychologist and Marriage Family Therapist for thirty years. She then happily retired to write Fiction. Her husband, Dan Rice, is a veterinarian in Auburn and they have two grown children: Liz, who works for Cliff Consulting and Vic, who works at the Johnson Space Center as a TOPO.

I asked Robin how she got into quilting, and this is her story:

“When I was young I kept far away from sewing because I couldn’t compete with my sister and mother, who were excellent seamstresses. I decided I could teach myself to sew when I was in my twenties and had my daughter, as I wanted to make clothes for her. Around 1990 a friend introduced me to quilting after she witnessed me laboriously sewing many, many pieces of fabric together to make southwestern patterned curtains for my kitchen. Then I quilted like crazy, and made hundreds of wall hangings, bed quilts and gifts. I love traditional scrap quilts, hand-dyed fabrics and whole cloth quilts (I like whole cloth for babies and college boys – both need to stand up to lots of handling and washing.)
My retirement has brought me the time to venture out into many life-long dreams. My main focus now is traveling and writing. I just published my fourth novel, and immediately after started working on the fifth.”
Here’s a couple of Robin’s quilts that she shared with me:

And here’s a picture of Robin with one of her creations after a FTDF get-together, very fun!


Now, back to Material Matrix. Robin took the very first class I taught, and began a self-portrait quilt that is as big as mine, 80″ by 80″.


She began with the eyes during the workshop so as to work on a tough part and get the technique down. Here’s her photo, and a couple of “eye” shots. The glasses really add a nice dimension to the image!IMG_6820IMG_3986IMG_3970As the year went by and I visited Robin I was always glad to see her progress.


When the top was finished she had me do the quilting on my long-arm, which of course was a joy for me! Like mine, she made a list of her family members’ names and a list of her favorite things which I quilted into the background, making it truly a self-portrait, although she refers to it as her “Ego Quilt”.


Outstanding, Robin! She tells me that she likes to bring it with her to hang behind her at book-signings, surely it is a conversation piece.

I want to give you information so that you can go see more about Robin, and perhaps buy one of her books. She writes beautiful, fictional accounts based on stories passed down about her family in New Mexico, the land of her fore bearers. Her latest, just out on the newsstands, is called “Hidden Within the Stones” and is about members of a Spanish Brotherhood of Secret Jews in New Mexico, and is filled with history and magic!

Her website and Facebook page:

I saved the best for last. Robin made a little film about the making of her “Ego Quilt”, and it’s only a couple of minutes long. Enjoy!


4 thoughts on “Robin and Her Ego Quilt

  1. How fun it must be to have Robin for a friend! I have a hunch her little dance at the end of the video pretty well sums up her personality. Thanks for sharing her with your readers.

  2. I’m so glad I stopped to read the blog today! I didn’t know that Robin had become an author, I’ll have to check out her books. I’ve kinda lost touch with everyone and it’s been about fourteen years since we did Jane’s class.

    • Hi, Linda, long time no talk to! Nice to hear from you. Hard to believe it was that long ago we spent those glorious days in Jane Dunnewold’s studio! I just heard she moved into a better space, can you imagine???

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s