Quilt Design Star 2011 Finalist - Maureen Walsh
Beverly Hills, Michigan
I've been quilting since…I’ve been sewing since I was about 12 years old. My mother did not sew but she bought my two sisters and myself a sewing machine and paid for sewing classes at Montgomery Wards. We made a lot of our own clothes and I made some of my first quilts in high school/college, mainly pieced and hand tied. I had other interests for a while and have gone back to quilting in the last 10-12 years.
I began quilting because… For a while, after college, I cross stitched. One of my final cross stitch projects was a 24″ x 24″ finished piece of all quilt patterns. I designed it myself and connected with a number of quilt patterns in the process. When I was all done, I decided to get back into quilting – cross-stitching quilt patterns had awakened my quilting senses. Quilting provided a much larger creative canvas for me to work on and the quilting industry (fabrics, shops, machines, techniques, online resources, etc.) provided an instant social connection and school room to learn and develop my quilting skills.
I learned to quilt… I took the advice of a very wise quilter I met at an art fair about 12 years ago and took a hand quilting class at a local community center. It taught me all the basics and I completed a lap quilt in the class – all made by hand, no machine quilting. It was great! After that class, I was hooked! I went out and bought a quilting sewing machine, started taking classes at my local quilt shop, and have not stopped quilting and sewing since then.
My quilting style is… I am a traditionalist and modern. I love using all the traditional blocks that quilters have been using for years and adding a modern and fun twist to them through fabrics, color, embellishments and design.
A person who inspired me… I am inspired daily by my 90-year-old mom, who lives with me. She encouraged me to enter this contest, has been, and will be, my biggest cheerleader and critic during this process. I made my entry quilt with her as my inspiration -- a strong woman with a giving and caring spirit who never wavers on her love and support for family, friends and others. My mom created happy childhood memories for all children that have crossed her path. She loves life, color and everything I create!
My imagination is sparked by… Initially, I draw my inspiration from the person I am making the quilt for. Most of the quilted items I make are for others. I consider the individual’s personality, interests, energy; how and where they will use the item and our special connection. I may start with a purchased pattern, but I almost always change it in some ways to make it special for the person I am making it for. Fabrics and colors play a major part of my inspiration. I draw the most inspiration from visualizing people enjoying the items I have made for them!
My favorite techniques… All of them – I’m serious, really! Let me answer another way -- my least favorite is hand appliqué, but I like to do it sometimes! I love to quilt in general and wish I had more time to do it, no matter what the technique. For me, quilting is challenging yet relaxing, creative yet mathematical, and emotional yet sometimes mindless.
Colors or fabrics I'm attracted to... I love bright colors and bold prints in quilting! I let the fabric and the colors catch my eye first. I love it when I find the perfect colors and fabrics that work just so with the piece I am creating. When I am undecided about colors and fabrics, I turn to my golden retriever Bella to sniff out which fabric and colors I should use. For a while I dreamed of being a fabric designer, couldn’t imagine a better job. Those in the industry today are amazing – there are so many great fabrics and colors available today – I want to use them all!
My fabric stash... I never used to have a stash until I started going to shop hops! During my first shop hop I decided I would buy something at each store and I haven’t stopped since. I don’t think my stash is out of control though. It is orderly and manageable.
My quilting community…I do not belong to any groups officially, but I like to browse quilting websites and blogs, attend quilt shop classes, DVR quilting shows and view online tutorials. I am a regular at a number of annual quilting shows (local and national); a dedicated shop-hopper and a reader of quilting books and magazines (love them!).
My additional hobbies/interests… I enjoy spending time with family and friends and being part of a big family. I’m passionate about my job in the communications industry. I love being at my family’s cabins on a lake in northern Michigan. I’m crazy about Golden Retrievers and have one of the best (Bella). I don’t have any children, but do have a flock of nieces, nephews and others that call me “Aunt Mo,” whom I all adore. I’m lucky and thankful that my mom is 90 years old, still alive and imparting her wisdom on myself and others every day. I’m inspired by the amazing quilting industry and what is available to me to feed my creative spirit.
I entered Quilt Design Star™ 2011 because... I voted in the 2010 competition last year and was inspired by all the amazing quilts and the process of the competition. I thought this would be a great way to connect others to today’s quilting and hopefully inspire someone else.
Links...Not at this time.
What you should know about me… I am left and right-brained - quilting allows me to use my whole self. I like the challenge of assembly and the creative process of adding all the finishing touches to a quilt.
The best part of making a quilt, for me, is giving handmade items to others -- watching their joy and seeing them with the item I made for them. My favorite quilting quote that sparks my quilting…
The best kind of sleep,
under heaven above,
is under a blanket,
handmade with love.
Forty Shades of Green (below) is Maureen's Quilt Design Star™ 2011 entry quilt.
Tic Tac Bloom (below) is Maureen's Quilt Design Star™ 2011 Challenge 1 quilt.
Bloom Catcher (below) is Maureen's Quilt Design Star™ 2011 Challenge 2 quilt.
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