Read what inspires the designer of the House for Sale quilt, which appears on the cover of the May/June 2002 (#85) issue of Quiltmaker magazine.
Following are excerpts from a recent Quiltmaker interview.
How did you decide to make quiltmaking a career? What led you in that direction?
I had been an art major in college and then I stopped doing art to raise a family of five sons. While raising children you put art work aside. When my youngest started school I started teaching needlepoint. When I took that as far as I could creatively, I started looking for something else to feed me creatively. One of my daughters in law signed us up for a quilt class. I told her I didn’t really like thread and she said, “Just get in the car.” So I did.
I’ll never forget standing in the quilt shop that day, looking around at all the fabric. My heart started to pound looking at all those colors. I realized that when you raise boys, you don’t sew. It must have been 25 years since I was in a fabric store. I think there used to be polyester and double-knit and brown–that’s what I thought of when I thought of fabric stores and it killed any ideas of doing anything with fabric. When I walked in there, a whole new world opened up for me. That was 11 years ago, just after my 60th birthday–I was done parenting–it was my time now–and I was looking for something totally absorbing and exciting that would satisfy that artistic place in my soul that needed it. That’s how I started quilting.
What inspires your work? How do new ideas come to you in quiltmaking?
I’m usually inspired by a visit to an art museum or a trip that I’ve taken or perhaps it just takes a piece of fabric I never know when I start to make a quilt what it’s going to be. I don’t know if it’s going to be traditional or what–it just takes the synchronicity of some little episode that triggers an idea. For instance, a month ago I was in a quilt shop and I saw a piece of fabric that said “Gracie” on it–I have a granddaughter named Grace–so I bought it and brought it home and that quilt went together very quickly and it was a no-brainer. Another example–last summer my husband and I were lucky enough to take a trip to Finland where I bought a bunch of Marimekko fabric. That’s been the inspiration for lots of quilts that I made. I was also in a museum recently and saw a display of lots of big, bold florals–those images will surely show up somewhere in my quilts sometime. Inspiration is very elusive and there’s just no set formula to it.