Sunday, October 08, 2017

Member Spotlight: Stephanie B.

Here we go with another year of Member Spotlights!  For our first spotlight this year, I'm super happy to have our very own guild President, Ms Stephanie B!


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?
My school years were spent studying art... originally I had wanted to study history, but I have such a bad memory for names and dates, I figured that probably wasn’t a good fit for me. So instead I went into art, eventually ​finding my way to photography. This was in the very, very early days of digital photography and editing software so most of my work was done on film and in a darkroom... I enjoyed it, but it also made me deeply appreciative of the “Undo” feature in Photoshop! ;) I still have a soft spot for black and white photography.
My day job is an unexciting office job, doing scheduling for a large call centre. Completely unrelated to what I studied, I work a lot with Excel, formulas and reports... everything is digital and every Monday I start the process all over again. I think that is why I have come to enjoy sewing and quilting so much. It exercises my creative muscles, I have something tangible to show for my time and once a quilt is made, it stays made! Until I come up with an idea for the next one... ​

How long have you been quilting?

I first tried my hand at quilting about 13 years ago, and I was horrible at it. I mean, _really_ terrible. It was for a fibre arts class I was taking at Concordia, and it was such an unpleasant experience I swore off sewing completely for a few years. Then in 2007, I wanted to make a handmade Christmas gift, and I decided to give quilting another try. That one didn’t turn out so great either, but I stuck with it and after a lot of YouTube videos and trial and error, I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.

What first got you interested in modern quilting?

I was drawn to modern quilting pretty much from the start. I can appreciate the skill and technique of traditional quilts, but I just can’t get excited about all that beige or tiny floral prints. ​Sashing isn't my idea of a good time. ​
So when I came across Elizabeth Hartman’s Tokyo Subway Map quilt (sometime in 2010?), I knew that was the kind of quilting I could get into. Then when I saw the Gee’s Bend quilts for the first time, I was absolutely blown away, and I knew I had to learn. Being self-taught, it was a little intimidating at first, but I love that modern quilting embraces and celebrates the off-kilter and the imperfect​ - that suits my style just fine.

How did you find the MMQG and why did you decide to join?
I don’t remember exactly, but I came across the MMQG online… probably searching for quilting resources around Montreal. At the time the guild was meeting up in Laval, which was too far for me to get to after work in the evening, so I kept an eye on the blog and when they moved the meetings to St-Henri in 2013, I decided to go check it out. I didn’t know anyone, but the group was so nice ​that ​I joined and have been a member ever since!

Whose techniques/style/philosophy do you most admire in the modern quilting community?

I don’t have a particularly strong opinion when it comes to technique or style, ​I have lots of different things I like. In terms of philosophy, however, I am firmly in the camp of Maddie Kertay. She a former quilt shop owner who champions inclusiveness and support in the quilting community, and has a great post called “You can have sex on my quilt” that wonderfully sums up my thoughts on the quilting process and end product. (Plus she has a cat named Ruth Bader Kittensburg).

Do you have any favorite quilting-related social media accounts that you follow?
I really enjoy following Amy Ahlstrom, Libs Elliott, Katie Pedersen, and the Social Justice Sewing Academy… their Instagram account is incredible, I love their use of quilting and sewing in their activism.

Where do you look for inspiration or ideas for your quilting projects?
If I am looking for a pattern to work from or a technique to learn, I enjoy browsing Pinterest or Instagram. There are some incredibly talented designers out there and sometimes its fun to buy a pattern and just follow instructions. If I want to come up with an original design though, I tend to just look around. I have an hour commute to work each day, so I spend a lot of time people watching and looking out of windows. I get ideas from the architecture, patterns and colors I see… Montreal is a great city for design inspiration.

What is your favorite project that you have completed? Why is it your favorite?
Usually the current project I'm working on is my favorite, but of all the quilts I've made I think my first quilt (unofficially named the 'Tim Burton quilt') is my favorite. I still sleep with it every night (as do the cats) and it has become very soft over the years of washings. It is a bit wonky, there are parts I would do differently if I were to make it now… but looking at it I can still see every design decision I made and every seam ripping lesson I learned, and I love every stitch of it.

What would you consider to be your quilting ‘superpower’?
Pro-craft-inating… is that a superpower? I can get an amazing amount of crafty/quilty things done when I *should* be doing something else.

What is your favorite part of the quilt making process? Why?
I actually really like collecting (hoarding?) patterns, ideas and supplies. It might not be part of the quilt making process, per se… but when inspiration strikes, I really love to sit down and pull a project together using what I have on hand. Piles of books, patterns and ideas, and a healthy stash of fabric waiting to be turned into a quilt… I love that. There’s so much possibility there!

What project or technique is next on your “to try” list?
I think it’d have to be free-motion quilting. I usually do straight-line quilting, but I’m getting a bit bored with the same few patterns, I need to branch out and do something more interesting. I just need to find the right project to practice on.

What is the best quilting tip or technique you’ve discovered?
Nesting your seams! While I’m totally a fan of improv and imperfection, I also find it incredibly satisfying to sew a perfect corner. When I’m trying to pull off a nice, sharp corner on a block, I use the nesting seams technique I learned from Sew Can She. Total game changer, for me.(

What is the best bit of quilting advice you’ve ever received?
​Patience. I hate that word and I am possibly the least patient person in the world, but I have to grudgingly admit that it comes in handy from time to time. My tendency is to rush through the making process to get to the end product (and then move on to the next project), but I have learned that I'm not happy with the end product if I rush the process. So, quilting has taught me to slow down and take my time; also to enjoy the process rather than just get through it. Yes, I may have to rip out that whole line of quilting or redo some seams, but in the end I'm so much happier with the end result, so it's worth it.

Describe your creative process in three words:

(Well, okay, *mostly* nothing ;)

Describe/share pictures of your creative space:
I use half of our spare room for my sewing space. It can be a bit tight when working on a big project, but it works. ​

I recently got some bins to try and organize my fabric a bit better... all it has done is made me realize what colors I am lacking and go buy more ;)

And a few of my quilts:

1 comment:

  1. Such a great interview, Stephanie!! And I totally agree that having a well stocked supply cabinet is super practical when inspiration hits!!