Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Inspiring People

At my quilt guild this month we had Sybil Rampen as our guest speaker. I must say that she is one of the best speakers I have ever heard! She was inspiring, her work was unique, she was generous with sharing her ideas, and she was very entertaining. In addition to being an accomplished fibre artist, Sybil is also an author and has written a book called "The Grannies", which I am giving to my Mom for her birthday. She has also written and self published a book of fibre art techniques called "Milkweed Angel" and I have ordered that for myself...let's call it a Valentine's Day present for myself!
After the meeting I was thinking more about sources of inspiration. One of the guild lectures I provide is on my sources of inspiration... I talk about 14 of my most used sources of inspiration, and show the quilts I have made from these sources. Many of the original quilts I have made were inspired by people and special occasions. Such was the occasion at a "big" birthday party for my friend Louise Hopkins...I won't give away just how "big" of a birthday this was! Louise is the person who introduced me to quilting many years ago when we met at the hospital where we were both working....she was an occupational therapist and I was a family therapist on a treatment team. At the time I met her, she was hand quilting a huge log cabin quilt. I loved to hear her talk about her quilting and invited myself over to her house to see that quilt. Louise encouraged me to buy a sewing machine, believing that I could learn to quilt. And because she believed it, I thought it must be true! Having never sewn a thing, I bought a sewing machine! From that day on, I have become more and more addicted to quilting...rarely does a day goes by that I do not work on a quilting or beading project. And because I owe my introduction to quilting to my friend Louise, I wanted to make her something special for her birthday. I started with a photo of her children that she had sent in her Christmas card the year before. I made photo transfers of that photo plus a few other photos I had taken of sunflowers. I added in some of my hand painted fabrics and some textured commercial fabrics, and used one of my favorite designing techniques. I cut a variety of fabrics into squares and rectangles, generating approximately about twice the number that I will actually use. The size of the pieces are based on a 1" finished measurement, so the squares start at 1 1/2" and the rectangles start at 1 1/2" x 2 1/2". For larger wallhangings I cut some of these smaller pieces and then increase the sizes so I have a variety of colours and sizes. Then I organize the pieces in a way that pleases me and sew them together. On quilts as small as this one (7" x 8") I do a minimum of quilting, and this quilt I finished with a two colour binding. There are a lot of things that are symbolic of Louise and her values in this little quilt and although I can see things that I would change now, I still smile when I see this photo and think of all the inspiration and encouragement Louise has given me over the past 17 years. Thanks Louise!

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