Tell us how your creativity has woven itself into your life’s journey to make you what you are today. (What instances helped give you the confidence/motivation to pursue this as a career?) I’ve been sewing since I was a girl (too many years ago to count!) and when the USA celebrated our Bicentennial in 1976, I was introduced to quilting...there was no going back to “regular” sewing after that! Quilts are now part of most of what I do.. they and the fabric to make them are everywhere in our house.
I started my quilting career by making quilts with traditional patterns, and then realized that hand appliqué and quilting were my favorites. I began teaching quilting during that time...it’s wonderful watching a new quilter gain confidence and start creating pieces on their own...and I got my National Quilting Association Judges’ Certification shortly thereafter – it seemed like the kids and my husband were learning as much about quilts as I was – you should have seen them at shows, telling ME why a quilt won a ribbon!
In the early 80’s the focus of my work changed to specializing in pictorial appliqué quilts, mainly with ice hockey and baseball themes in collaboration with my sports fan husband. That led us to meet many great people and having one of my quilts selected to be part of the permanent collection of the Hockey Hall of Fame & Museum in Toronto, Canada...that then led us to meeting a bunch of wonderful Canadian quilters.
I’m never far away from a quilt or quilt idea, always on the lookout for new fabric and techniques. My family has been an integral part of my creative journey whether critiquing a quilt-in-progress, accompanying my on a quilt shop tour or becoming a “quilt judge” when I was working through the certification.
In addition to working on making my Etsy shop a success, I’m working on a series of family pictorial quilts...so many quilts, so little time!
|Ready for Some Football!|
What is your favorite item you have ever made? What inspired you to make it? I think my favorite item would have to be making the quilt titled “Welcome to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field”...there was a big controversy in Wrigleyville, Chicago when it was decided to put lights into the baseball field – prior to that, the residents of that neighborhood prided themselves in playing baseball “the way it’s supposed to be – on natural grass during the day”. So when the lights finally went in, my husband and I started talking about how this was the end of an era...what better way to celebrate the tradition than to make a quilt commemorating the original field. The quilt is hand appliquéd and quilted showing the field and surrounding buildings (no lights in sight)...all baseball fans know about the ivy covered brick wall behind the warning track in the outfield, so the quilt features a pieced “brick” border with appliquéd ivy.
A couple of years after I finished the quilt, we were at a baseball card show with Ernie Banks (“Mr. Cub”) and Willie McCovey (San Francisco Giants) as guests...instead of getting a baseball card signed, we asked that Mr. Banks be in a photo of us with the quilt. When he saw it, Mr. Banks called down the hallway “Hey, McCovey, this is what real Cubs fans do!”...it was a day we’ll never forget.
Are you trained as an artist? If yes, what degree(s) or certificates do you hold and where did you earn it/them? If no, how did you learn to make the items you offer in your shop? In a word, “no”...I’m lucky to have a good sense of color and design (that you really can’t be taught, I don’t think) so that has helped me tremendously in my quilting. My background in sewing translated easily into quilting and I took my cue from the old saying...”How do you get to Carnegie Hall?...Practice, practice, practice!” Making time for me to practice quilting techniques and buying a good sewing machine has made it easier to develop my style. Having good tools is so important because working with inferior equipment will sap the creativity right out of you!
I belong to an online quilt group (Quilt with Us sponsored by Connecting Threads) and one of the discussions was about learning paper piecing (sewing fabric onto a paper foundation to increase accuracy and make quilt & block assembly easier). One of the projects was a quilted bib with a paper pieced center medallion and the light went on in my brain. I made several bibs for my granddaughter and the rest, as they say, is history!
|Dress for Success|
What is one thing you will be going out of your way to learn more about in the coming year to benefit your business? It may not be strictly creative, but I’m going to learn to use my Etsy website to promote my business...there are a lot of bib makers out there, so I have to separate myself from the crowd. My husband says that me and computers are dangerous together – I know just enough to make me think I’m a geek that almost always gets me into trouble!
There’s a lot to web design and I need to learn more about it!
What steps are you taking to ensure your products follow applicable child safety laws? I’m very careful not to use components that would be dangerous...I use a NO PVC plastic liner to make my bibs waterproof and the pacifier clips I use are certified lead free. All the bibs are made from 100% high quality cotton fabrics (prewashed to remove any excess dye & sizing) and I stay away from metallics and/or glitter since we all know that kids put everything in their mouths and I’m not sure how safe that would be.
I don’t have a brick & mortar store or a blog…yet…so please visit my shop or FB page!