For over thirty years Coleman worked in youth and family services and during the last two decades she has combined this experience with fiber, stitching and color to create work that explores portraiture, memory, social change and community. Learning to sew as a youngster was the beginning of her art making. It has now led to designing and fabricating contemporary quilts and mixed media art. Her work is a combination of narrative quilting that explores African American history and personal stories along with figurative work focusing on women and men both past and present. She uses a variety of fibers, threads, paper, paint and found objects to present ideas. She combines piecing and design techniques associated with African American quilts but may include raw edge appliqué, fusing, extensive stitching, slashing, paper, paint, plastic, beads, buttons and recycled materials or just about anything that strikes her fancy. Her growing collection of vintage photographs and found objects provides endless inspiration for her narrative stitched fiber collages.
Her public art experience began with a project for the Juvenile Justice Center in Alameda County California under the auspices of the Alameda County Arts Commission. For that project she designed and fabricated 4 art quilts in the Small Works category. Since that time she has created several public art projects ranging from framed wall works to large scale metal and fiber installations. She has collaborated with community and social organizations to create works about health, state and local history, imagery and roles of women as well as recycling and environmental issues.
Coleman’s work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally. She has numerous private commissions and has completed public art commissions for West County Health Center, San Pablo, CA, REACH Youth Center, San Leandro, North Berkeley Branch Library, Berkeley, CA, Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, San Leandro, CA, Castro Valley Library, Castro Valley, CA and the Richmond, CA Civic Center. Hunters Point Public Art Project, San Francisco, CA is ready for installation. In November 2012 she was a guest artist at Quilt Week Yokohama, Japan. At the beginning of 2013 her work began exhibiting in the Art in Embassies Program at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.
Her work has been presented in several publications including O, Oprah Magazine, Costco Connections Magazine, 500 Art Quilts, Patchwork Tsushin, Textile Forum, Art Quilting Studio, American Craft, Quilting Arts Magazine, Altered Couture, Creative Quilting, Crafted Lives, Textural Rhythms: Quilts in the Jazz Tradition and Journey of Hope: Quilts Inspired by Barack Obama. KQED, San Francisco profiled her work featured in the Textural Rhythms exhibition at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA in February 2010.
In 2007 Coleman was lead artist for a Creative Workfund grant project about African American health. She received a 2009 Alameda County Arts Leadership award. She exhibited jazz quilts and was an artist in residence in San Jose and Limon, Costa Rica in 2010 as part of a State Department outreach program. In 2011 she was a semi-finalist with Museum of the African Diaspora for a Creative Workfund grant about folktales . In that year her work was also exhibited in the Kaunas Textile Biennial in Kaunas, Lithuania. In 2013 Coleman and the Museum of Quilts and Textiles have been chosen as semi-finalists for the Creative Workfund grant. She recently was awarded a Center for Cultural Innovation grant.