Thursday, March 13, 2014

15 Minutes of Play - Victoria Findlay Wolfe

The Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild had the experience of listening to Victoria Findlay Wolfe lecture on February 28th about her quilts, history, process and book, 15 Minutes of Play. She was super inspiring, engaging and fun to listen to. Plus, her quilts are amazing!

On screen is a sample of her made fabric. She pulls from her scrap bin
and sews fabric together randomly until it is large enough for her liking.

Victoria presented some insights to her creativity while also acknowledging her family's quilting history, which as Cathy Lynch stated, "was something I could completely relate to and understand." Her grandmother and her quilts are one of her greatest inspirations. Victoria strongly believes that everyone should be creative every day. Through some trial and error, she determined that 15 minutes was her magic number to feel creatively fulfilled. She spends it sewing scraps into made-fabric, playing on her design wall, and looking at fabric for a new project among other things - warm up exercises to get her started moving on bigger projects.

A quilt top made by Victoria's grandmother made of
fabric scraps from clothing and other items.

"One of the biggest things that I took away from her lecture was her statement that if there is something I have done, a work in progress, that I have packed away because I hate it, do not be afraid to cut it up and make it into something new." - Elizabeth Timmons

Victoria has an upcoming exhibition of 12 Double Wedding Ring quilts
(including Double Edged Love which one the Best in Show at QuiltCON 2013)
at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts.

One of the challenges in Victoria's book is to make the quilt that you
said that you would never make.  In her case, it was a cow quilt.

Many of our members were able to spend the Saturday after the lecture working with Victoria in a workshop setting. The workshop encouraged all of the participants to expand their "normal" way of creating blocks. They explored making fabric from scraps and different blocks techniques like sewing hexagons by machine and inset seams. Victoria encouraged everyone not to be afraid of these techniques. Cathy Lynch said, "from looking at everyone's samples at the end of the day, I think the people ere definitely trying new things, which I think makes for a successful workshop."

Thank you, Victoria for inspiring us and letting us learn from you!

Lecture photographs provided by Charles Cerrone Photography. Workshop photos from Victoria's 15 Minutes of Play blog.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Member Spotlight: Rhonda Namba

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm married and I have one daughter, Alexa, who is a medical student. When I'm not quilting, I'm pretty crafty (scrapbooking, upholstery, redoing old furniture). My husband and I bought a turn of the century house in Philadelphia for our daughter and we spend most weekends working on restoring it. It's a lot of work, but has really been fun. I also love to bake. I am constantly working on new recipes. The Food Network is my true obsession.

This quilt was made for Rhonda's daughter (who is an Olympic swimmer) to take with her to college.  

During your presentation you talked a bit about how living and traveling to Japan and Hawaii has inspired you. Can you talk a bit about that?

I think that because both places have a strong background in quilting and textiles, it was easy to be inspired. In Japan, I so enjoyed seeing all the different fabrics (indigo, kasuri, yukata, shibori). I especially loved all the beautiful textiles they used in the vintage Kimonos. Absolutely beautiful! In Hawaii I so love the bright fabrics and the the appliqué techniques they use on the Hawaiian quilts. The handwork is absolutely stunning.

Fabric for this quilt was brought back from Japan...

Many of us were gobsmacked by the "Wedding Dress" quilt. Can you talk about the process of designing and creating that quilt?

Well, the quilt was designed as a gift for my niece who wore a beautiful, yet simple Vera Wang wedding dress. The top of the dress had a pleated top and the back had delicate shell buttons all the way down the back. I played around with one square and once I had a look I liked, I thought duplicating it made a simple, but elegant quilt. The quilt was made with two different fabrics, one that was white and one that was ivory. They were similar but different enough that they worked together, but showed the variation in the fabrics. I thought an all white quilt might be a little boring, so fabric variation seemed to be vital.

Pictures do not do this quilt justice.  It's absolutely stunning.

What's the funniest  thing that ever happened to you while you were quilting or during a quilt project?
I can't think of anything funny or odd, but I have definitely started a few quilts that I just didn't like as the project progressed, and I just couldn't ever finish them. I bring them out occasionally, hoping I will be inspired, but so far, to no avail.

Rhonda's use of color is inspiring and bold patterns is inspiring!

What is the one quilting tool that you absolutely could not live without?

Definitely, the seam ripper. I tend to be a perfectionist, so I don't hesitate to pull out a seam if I don't think it's perfect.

What does being a member of the PMQG mean to you?

So many things. I love being part of a group that likes to chat about quilts, projects, and all sorts of other things (Downton Abbey). I especially love our retreats and our sewing days. They remind me of the quilting bees that my grandmother just to participate in. The camaraderie is fantastic. I am so in awe of everyone's talent. I so look forward to our monthly meetings.

Thanks going out to Rhonda for sharing her quilting journey with us.  It's amazing to be a part of such a talented group of modern quilters!