Kena currently resides in Palmdale, CA. However, she began quilting over 20 years ago while living in Harlem, NYC. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Kena moved to New York City and was a Broadway actress for almost twenty years before moving west to Los Angeles to go to film school and pursue a career in Directing/Filmmaking. It’s an interesting story, but it’s actually an experience she had as an actress that introduced her to quilting, which she talks about in one of workshop lectures!
Her artistic style is a blend of contemporary, modern improv, and traditional quiltmaking. However, it’s making portrait art quilts that really makes her heart sing! Her favorite textiles to work with are Indonesian Batiks, African Batiks, and African wax print fabrics. Early on in her quilting journey, Kena was influenced by many of the Harlem Renaissance artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Zora Neale Hurston, James Van Der Zee, and Langston Hughes, to name a few. Like them, you can see reflections of the African American experience in her work.
Kena ended up buying a Grace Q'nique 19 and moved from domestic machine quilting to longarm and she loves it! She teaches both in-person and live virtual quilting classes & workshops. A number of her classes and lectures such as “Let’s Make a Selfie-Portrait Quilt” and “The Big, The Bold, The Beautiful: Working with African Fabrics in Quilts” are available on-demand and for Guild programming.
Kena has had some of her art quilts and African fabric quilts featured in festivals as well as published in the Spring 2022, Summer 2022, and Winter 2023 issues of Art Quilting Studio Magazine and Today’s Quilter Magazine. When not making quilts, she teaches film and TV production to high school students and is an adjunct professor at a local college where she also teaches cinema and multi-camera television studio production.