Sunday, June 05, 2016

Member Spotlight: Agnes Wong

Welcome to another installment of the MMQG Member Spotlight!  This month, it is our pleasure to introduce a long-time member: Agnes Wong.  Enjoy!

Your social media coordinates (blog/website, Facebook, Instagram, etc):

What did you study in school and/or what do you do for a day job?
I graduated with a Masters degree in Ecology at University of Alberta. I worked in an aquatic ecology lab as a Research Technician, managing projects, analyzing ecological data and writing research papers. Then we spent a number of years in the western US as part of an academic gypsy family. We settled in Montreal in 2012 and I am currently a Grants Officer for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Team in the Office of Sponsored Research at McGill University.

How long have you been quilting?
I have been quilting since 2010. I used to be highly productive but recently I’ve learned to slow down and delve deep into more complex projects such as curves and applique. I’m trying blocks that are outside my comfort zone.

What first got you interested in modern quilting?
I started quilting shortly after the birth of my second daughter. At the time, I was desperately trying to find something to satisfy my creative side, something I had never before paid too much attention to. I started with sewing simple items, doll-making, needle felting, kids clothing.One day spring day in 2010, I stopped by a local fabric shop, Piece by Piece (Eugene, OR) to buy some fabric. The ladies were so friendly and supportive of my newbie endeavours. I decided to take an intro to quilting course and I’ve been hooked ever since.

How did you find the MMQG and why did you decide to join?
Shortly after taking the quilting course led by the talented Kelly Duke, the Eugene MQG opened its local chapter with Jessica Bobrowski at its helms. I immediately joined and found my tribe. It was an exciting time for everyone involved. So much inspiration and enthusiasm! I had never been surrounded by so many people with a similar passion for this craft and it was amazing.

Do you have any favorite quilting related social media accounts that you follow?
There are so many great quilters on social media, it is hard to pick a favorite. Notably I follow Carolyn Friedlander, Luke Haynes, Tara Faughnan, Mary Dugan, Libs Elliott..

Where do you look for inspiration or ideas for your quilting projects?
I look for inspiration mainly from quilters on Instagram or Pinterest boards. Metro stations and random architecture are also a great source of inspiration!

What is your favorite project that you have completed? Why is it your favorite?
I love the juxtaposition between very traditional blocks against a minimalist background. My favourite types of quilts are the ones that tell a story - an engagement story (NYC quilt), memory quilts, fabrics from a specific place and time. I think most of my quilts chronicle some chapter in my life.

What would you consider to be your quilting ‘superpower’?
This is a tough question as I don’t consider myself having any superpowers! If I had to make one up, it would be ‘fearless’. I like to try new techniques and I’m not really afraid to make mistakes as it is part of the learning process. Improvisation was one of the hardest mental hurdles for me but it is such a liberating experience to not have to think about rulers and precision cuts.
While I tend to over-think fabric choices and colour palettes, I’ll make an honest attempt at a new technique and try to make it work for me. I like to tinker with methods. In the end, I’ll still have a quilt that will keep me warm on the couch.

What is your favorite part of the quilt making process? Why?
My favourite part is the learning process - whether it is Y-seams, curves, free motion, improvisation, hand applique, sashiko, it really makes me explore and improve different skills. While there may be some mild frustration if I can’t meet my expectations but with practice, I find much satisfaction in seeing improvement. My next favourite quilting past time is ‘fantasy quilting’ which is basically my bucket list of all the quilts I plan to make in the next year or two or three. Usually these fantasy quilts contain certain skills that I want to learn or improve at. It also enables me to stock my growing fabric stash in anticipation of making these fantasy quilts into reality.  :)

What project or technique is next on your “to try” list?
My next project will be learning the Winding Ways block c.1924 (Ladies Art Co., St.Louis), later known as the Wheel of Mystery c. 1930. It produces such a nice depth and complexity.

What is the best bit of quilting advice you’ve ever received?
I have had the honor of learning from so many wonderful teachers in both US and Quebec.  I think the best advice is to just go for it. In the end, you will still have a functional quilt and you will learn something from every quilt you make. Or more succinctly:  “A finished quilt is better than a perfect one.” - Angela Walters

Describe your creative process in three words:
Explore. Learn. Enjoy.

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