Tell me a bit about your shop:
LONNI ROSSI FABRICS
70 Rittenhouse Place / Ardmore, PA 19003 (Just off Lancaster Avenue in The Main Line)
Store Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM
When did your shop first open its doors?
My first location was a few blocks away on County Line Road (about one block from Carlino’s) I was only there for about a year before moving to my present location on Rittenhouse Place, where I’ve been since August of 2003.
(“A Kiss in Time”The first quilt I did with my new “LITTLE LONNI’S” group, inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting, “The Kiss.”)
What made you decide to start the shop?
I wanted an outlet for my commercially printed quilting fabric, as well as my custom designed artcloth and home decorating fabrics. I have licensed my designs to Andover Fabrics, Inc. of New York since 2001. I also wanted the space to offer classes in surface design and quilting.
Does your shop offer classes? If so, what types?
I offer beginner to advanced classes in silk screen printing on fabric, Thermofax screen making, printing on fabric with found objects, stencils, stamps, and a technique I developed using string-wrapped objects as printing tools.Very popular is the fabric painting class I teach at my warehouse in Broomall.
This Fall we are offering quilting classes for beginners, as well as some specialty classes in free-motion embroidery and quilting, free-hand machine embroidery (no computer designs here!) doll-making, and project oriented classes like tote bags, handbags, fabric flower making, and some art to wear.
I am also taking a bold step and starting a monthly “Art Quilt Techniques Support Group” which will meet in my shop/studio on the first Wednesday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. Group size is limited to the first 15 people who sign up. If it gets any larger, I’ll have to find another place for us to meet!
Do you have sewing machines in the shop?
Only the two Bernina’s that I use to make sample quilts with my commercial fabrics and my art quilts.
Is there any particular supply you’re partial to?
I really only carry Andover Fabrics (my stuff and a few other designers) plus some Sulky products.
What’s unique about your shop compared to others out there?
Well, it’s more of an open design studio with a small shop attached! Consequently, it is a “destination shop”…a place you don’t want to miss if you are a quilter visiting the Philadelphia area. I have busloads of quilters visit in the Spring and Fall from all over the US and even Germany and Spain!
What’s your vision for the shop in the next 2+ years?
The economy has made keeping the shop going a bit of a challenge…but somehow we are getting by. Our online store and my international and national reputation as a fabric designer keep people coming back for more! In the next two years I hope to build the class offerings, and produce and market more of my custom fabrics to local interior designers and customers.
Anything else you’d like to mention regarding the shop?
Most people who enter the shop for the first time have the same reaction: Wow…what a creative place! They seem at first, to be overwhelmed by the color and textures they see on display. But seeing me painting fabric, or working on a quilt seems to get them pretty jazzed and they end up asking about classes and how they can have fun too!
Now for questions a bit more personal...
Tell me a bit about you:
Lonni Rossi, Wynnewood, PA. Married, two (grown) children, one gorgeous Granddaughter!
Member of Heartstring Quilters / Bala Cynwyd, PA
Co-Founder of Art Quilt Elements (formerly Art Quilts at the Sedgwick)
Former Graphic Designer and Creative Director of GPA Marketing, Inc.
Former Teacher of Graphic Design & Typography (Moore College of Art & Design, and Drexel University )
Fabric Designer for Andover Fabrics, Inc. (2001-present)
Do you sew or quilt? How did you get started sewing/quilting?
Yes, yes and yes!
What do you like best about quilting?
All of it!
What is the hardest thing about quilting?
Not having enough time…
How much time do you sew or quilt during an average week?
It’s my job…so at least 30 hours a week!
Do you name your projects or label them?
(The Grass Quilt: A commissioned art quilt for a local physician. It started out as a piece of white fabric that I painted as layers of color in a landscape. The piece is 80” wide x 32” deep and is heavily quilted and thread painted over the entire surface. Completed May 2010.)
What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?
I think I really need to learn how to relax…
What is your motto?
When in doubt, LIME GREEN!
I am a fiber artist. With fabric and thread, design, color, texture and form,
I strive to tell stories about the possibility of beauty. I love that feeling I get when reading a book: letting the story become my momentary reality, knowing that someone else’s imagination has taken me to another place, another time, another life, where I can become involved with that for a while and forget about my own life. I hope that my original (as well as my commercial) fabrics and my art quilts do that for people who view them. My goal is to help the viewer imagine something out of the realm of their own reality and allow them the opportunity to dream about beautiful things.
(Teachers Left to right: Leslie Bellamy, Eileen Belmont Wischnia, Lynn Spiller and Susan Osborne)
Some of my Techniques: Fusing, fabric and thread layering, machine embroidery, fused and stitched-over Angelina fibers, and machine quilting.
Scanning man-made or natural found objects, or my own drawings, helps to create most of my silk-screened and painted images. I manipulate these scans into patterns using a combination of computer drawing software, and sometimes add bits of text, handwriting, calligraphy or symbols. I also take digital pictures and manipulate those in Photoshop to create line art that will later be printed as a silk-screened image on fabric.
Some Lonni Rossi History: I’ve been an art quilter for about 16 years. I became interested in quilting in the late 70’s, but didn’t make my first “art quilt” until 1994. I won my first award in 1999 in the Paducah AQS show: a first place in the wall quilt category, titled “Cabins in the Cosmos.” The quilt still hangs in AQS Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, USA.
My professional life as a graphic designer led me to explore many different mediums and cultural expressions, and in the late 70’s I discovered Amish quilts. I loved the simplicity and graphic nature of the Amish designs, and was intrigued by their use of color. In contrast to the “mass media” approach of my day-to-day life as a graphic designer, the process of making something one-of-a kind and the tactile nature of working with textiles was the creative boost I was missing! This discovery ultimately led me to designing and painting my own fabrics for use in my art quilts.
I have always been interested in photography and typography. My work often begins with one or both of these disciplines, whether I am designing a quilt or a motif
for fabric design.
Every one of my quilts in the past five years has had a little something “new” incorporated into it. Fusible elements, couching with unusual fibers, felting, Angelina fibers, metallic threads, found objects, and obsessive threadwork usually cover the surface of my quilts. I am always looking for new things to achieve textural surprises, not only in my quilts but also in the images and textures I create for fabric design.
My style is… somewhat… like Abstract Impressionism.
Abstract Impressionism is a form of art where the artist expresses herself through the use of form and color, with no objective representations. In creating painted background textures for my fabrics, my fabric painting style is similar to that of the painter, Jackson Pollock, that is, until I start adding my layered silk-screened images. Layers add depth, as well as gradations of color and meaning.
There is always a story involved in my work; the image has to mean something, if only to me. It is usually something that reminds me of a time or place, a feeling that has been left unresolved, or something I feel deeply about. But, I am not political, attached to any particular cause, or trying to make a particular comment. My images and motifs are abstract –actually quite random things that catch my attention--they are beautiful, graphic, colorful, mysterious and sometimes obscure. Nevertheless, I want to get a reaction from the viewer…to catch their attention and make them come in closer to see the details! I want the viewer to feel rewarded and happy that they came closer to see something interesting and uplifting.
What I’m working on right now:
- Art Quilts: Work in progress includes a commission for an art quilt featuring exotic grasses featuring my hand-painted fabrics, and two quilts using my hand-painted fabric to express attachments to found anthropological artifacts.
- Upcoming shows:
I’m also preparing work for a one-woman show at the Gallery at Waverly Heights, in Gladwyne, PA to be on display from December 18, 2010 until January 18, 2011.
- Sampler Quilts: Completed for 2010 Spring Quilt Market:
- New fabric collections printing now for Andover Fabrics:
“LITTLE LONNI’S” August 2010
“URBAN SHADES” Fall 2010
“BIG BEAUTIFUL BUGS!” Spring 2011
Thanks so much, Lonni, for answering all my questions! I hope everyone in the area gets a chance to stop by her shop!