Elly loves her family, country, and quilt-art—in that order. As a young mother, in 1983, she self-published her first book, Spoken Without a Word. With three publishers since then, she has produced nineteen more, returning again to Turtle Hill Press® LLC, her original ‘imprimatur,’ for this, her 20th book on appliqué and Albums. Teaching is her pleasure, reflected in her Beginning and Advanced Appliqué DVDs (C&T Publishing). Her Appliqué 12 Easy Ways was translated into German, and she has produced multiple signature fabric lines with both P&B Fabrics and Robert Kaufman Textiles.
Trained in Art, History, Religion, and Education, (A.B. Wellesley College, M.S. University of Pennsylvania) Elly adores appliqué and embellishment. She designs patterns and Album quilts, stitches, teaches; researches, creates, and romances appliqué—from beloved basics to artful ‘Baltimores.’ Houston’s Quilts, Inc. has twice displayed special Baltimore Revival exhibitions, the first—juried works inspired by Elly’s books along with a retrospective of quilts by her own hand. These exhibits honored her as 2003’s Silver Star Award recipient, an award given at the turn of the 20th to 21st centuries, paying respect to a specified artist for having “made a profound contribution to the contemporary Quilting Revival.”
Elly has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum, the American Quilt Study Group, as well as across the country and on five continents. Her seminal research paper originally published as "The Marketing of Mary Evans" (thereafter published as “Doctor Dunton, Mary Evans, and the Baltimore Album Quilt Attributions”) was first presented and then published in 1989. Her work has appeared in quilt magazines in the US, Europe, and Japan, and in The Magazine Antiques, Folk Art Magazine, Victoria, Country Living, and Threads. Elly Sienkiewicz’s Beloved Baltimore Album Quilts, 25 Patterns, 12 Quilts, Appliqué Embellishments, (2010) still in print, precedes Spoken Without A Word 2014 (pending publication.)
Quilts, Inc.’s 2010 Baltimore Album Revival II exhibition accompanied their ‘Baltimore’s Daughters’ exhibit of Elly’s Beloved Baltimore Albums’ dozen quilts, all but one designed and created under her direction. Before becoming more deeply involved with Baltimore-style group-made Albums, Elly was a ‘Resident Artist’ at the Glen Echo National Art Park in Glen Echo, Maryland. There she had her first (1971-76) retrospective of wall art, fabric sculptures, and earliest quilts. After the birth of her third child in 1977, Elly established Cabin Fever Calicoes, a “Quilt Shop by Mail,” in business for eight years.
Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine’s 2009 readership voted Elly “Best Appliqué Teacher,” honoring her even as her Appliqué 12 Easy Ways! was winning the Quilt Industry Classics Award for Best Book on Appliqué. C&T Publishing sponsored two major Baltimore Album Revival Exhibitions to celebrate Elly’s books’ impact on the Baltimore Album and Appliqué Revival. C&T’s exhibitions produced two colorful catalogues reflecting upon the Revival at that stage—Baltimore Album Revival and Baltimore Legacy. More recently, the International Quilt Festival in Stitges, Spain, hung a display of ten of Elly’s group-made Revivalist Baltimore quilts in 2012.
Elly founded The Elly Sienkiewicz Applique Academy, which celebrated its 19th year in 2014. Top-rate teaching leavened by all-Appliqué daily exhibitions, good food, and girlish fun earned ‘Academy’ the affectionate nickname ‘Miss Tesaa.’ Even friends never able to attend enjoyed following Miss Tessa on her ‘List Visit’ newsletter. She had begun at the Historic Inns in Annapolis, MD; moved to the Verdin Center in Lewes, DE; then spent fifteen years at Williamsburg, Virginia’s Hospitality House, and one last year at Kingsmill Resort, also in Williamsburg.