Marti Michell has developed tools, designed quilts and enticed people to quilt for more than 30 years! Learn more about this multi-talented quilter in this interview from Quiltmaker magazine and at her website: frommarti.com.
What do you see as the most significant development in quilting during the last 20 years?
One of the exciting things about quilting is that there is always something new. Twenty years ago the rotary cutter was already eight years old.
In 1972 my husband Richard and I started a patchwork kit company called Yours Truly, Inc. At the first Houston Quilt Market in 1979, we sponsored an event the day before market for shop owners and teachers. In 1982 it was almost unbelievable to attendees that we would ask a young quiltmaker named Harriet Hargrave to share some of her methods for free-motion machine quilting. There were many people who thought a real quilt had to be hand quilted!
The next few years saw a growing acceptance of machine quilting, which opened the door for the emergence and overwhelming acceptance of mid-arm and long-arm quilting. Sewing machine manufacturers have finally heard the repeated requests from quilters for larger throats. To me, the good thing is that so many more quilts are being finished and used. The bad thing is that so many, in my opinion, are over quilted!
A very close second would be the way the computer and the internet are becoming such a part of the quiltmaker’s world.
What is your most important role in the quilting community?
What I have always seen as my contribution to quilting is to develop tools, design quilts, and write books that entice people to start quilting and equip them to have a successful experience so that they continue.
I feel that just as water finds its own level, people will find what they like most in quiltmaking, but only if they start somewhere! Some people will be perfectly happy making beautiful quilts designed by someone else. Others will find textiles and quiltmaking to be the medium through which they can make their own artistic statement. Both are important!
How has quiltmaking enriched your life?
The obvious answer might be that quilting has been our family’s livelihood since 1972. The real enrichment, however, is the friends, the travel and the satisfaction we get when quilters around the world thank us for being important in their lives!
Describe a perfect day for Marti Michell.
Let’s start by signing off on a new book going to the printer, then receiving the first samples of a new fabric line and they are perfect! Follow that with a call saying my last quilt has been chosen for a magazine cover and then opening thank you notes from happy customers. This would all happen between 9 and 5. Then Richard and I would have a quiet, nutritious dinner while watching the sun set. After that I would quilt for a while (I can’t really find the line between work and play), chat with the kids and grandkids and read another chapter in the current best read. There is nothing wrong with fantasizing, is there?
Marti Michell’s Ramblin’ Aunt Sukey quilt appears in the January/February ’08 (No. 119) issue of QUILTMAKER magazine.