2023 Great Madison+ LGBTQ+ Artist Survey: Bruce Seeds

by | Sep 1, 2023 | 0 comments

Bruce Seeds used to be an architect. It seemed like the thing to do. Equally proficient as a kid in art, math, and science, the young lad declaring, “I’m going to be an architect,” elicited approving grunts from the elders. “I’m going to be an architect.” Heh, heh. Sure, kid. Get ready for a ride.

And so it was: Two years at UW-Madison, then four more at University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, then leaving the Midwest to start a career in Dallas. A career almost immediately derailed by the new Computer-Aided Design (CAD) system that his firm had just bought. Turns out, the CAD course listed on his resume (the first ever offered by Minnesota’s architecture program) landed him the job. But he followed that digital bliss. Drawing, training, IT support, and even some designing served him and his employers well—until it didn’t.

He tried his hand at stained glass, culminating in a commission for a church in Texas. But feeling the need to be closer to family, he moved back to Milwaukee and designed websites until the economy of 2008 said “no.”

Shopping one day with his mom at Ben Franklin, a book called One Block Wonders caught his eye. Quilts, but in a style he had never seen before. They were gorgeous. Could he understand the instructions? Check. Did he have a sewing machine? Duh. So he bought some fabric and made a quilt. Then another. (He’s now working on quilt 50.)

He shared his work on social media where it got some attention. Then more attention. Which led to coverage in print and on television, including an interview on “Sewing with Nancy;” a one-day, pop-up at the Milwaukee Art Museum; a solo show with The Museum of Wisconsin Art; exhibits at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts and a number of galleries; a profile in the documentary “Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin;” and inclusion in a sequel to the book from which he first learned the technique.

And get this: One of his fans, filmmaker Doug Langway, asked if he could use some of Bruce’s quilts on location for his “BearCity” trilogy. Answer: Yes! Four of them appeared in BearCity 2, and Bruce himself appeared in BearCity 3 in a small role in addition to being one of the film’s executive producers.

Bruce lives in Milwaukee with his husband Jason and their two cats.

 


2023 Great Madison+ LGBTQ+ Artist Survey

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