The Victoria Quilters Guild (my home guild) presented their first tour of members’ studios today, and I was very excited to go and see what other quilters do. How many times do we get to go into the Sanctum Santorum of a quilter’s studio? (I always ask to see the studios of people I stay with, and usually I can get a short tour.) I was looking forward to seeing how they organize their stuff and their spaces. I already knew some of their work, and it covered the whole range between traditional quilts and surface design art quilts. I bought a couple of tickets and invited Barbara from England who is spending the month here and we hit the road.
Our first stop was at Sharon White’s studio. In 2008 Sharon won the highest honour from the quilt guild – the Silver Thimble Award. She is a past president of the guild, and continues to lend her hand to lots of areas, including the raffle quilt every other year. She has a great welcoming smile I always enjoy seeing her. She lives not far from me, and she (like me) has her sewing room in her spare bedroom. Happily, though, it’s not a problem when the quilting stuff migrates to other places in her home! She has a large quilt hanging at the entrance that she can replace with a design wall – great idea! Her sewing machine is tucked into a doorless cupboard in the room, and she’s been able to fully use the shelf and clothes rack to hang extra things.
It’s a very full room, but she has it all very well organized. I learned about the value of shoe boxes for organizing things – and how important labels are on the outside of the boxes!
From there we drove up to Bette Anderson’s Studio, which is in the garage. It’s not as bad as you might think – her husband had a bright modern room built on top of the garage which Bette has all to herself. She calls it her “Girl Cave”, and it’s entirely white and red!
I’m taking notes of things I’d love to have in my purpose built studio – when the time comes….
Before we stopped for lunch, we visited Lenny DeGroot’s studio. You can see some of her amazing work and learn about her here. I have always been impressed with Lenny’s work whenever she showed something at the guild. She is very generous with her talent and often teaches her techniques to guild members. I had no idea how much she had done, nor how far afield her quilting interest stretches. Lenny has a great husband too – they added a room to their house so that she could have her own studio. It was neat as a pin, with everything hidden away in drawers and a cupboard, and a mass of quilts EVERYWHERE. She doesn’t have UFOs – she finishes everything. I was amazed at how little stash she has, considering how many quilts she makes.
Every year the Victoria Quilters Guild holds a garage sale, when we can sell quilting stuff we no longer want to other quilters. Every year Lenny contributes lots. It takes considerable discipline to keep the stash this small! And there’s only one shelf of books too. What an inspiration.
And a lovely display of her quilts on the wall of her studio. (There are quilts everywhere in the house, of course, plus her needlework as well.)
Her husband is a gardener, and the gardens are amazing. This is the view out Lenny’s studio window. It’s dahlia season here, and we were all out in the garden taking pictures of the magnificent blooms.
After lunch, Barbara and I headed north again to Daphne Greig’s studio. Remember her from the last blog entry about the yard sale? I can attest to the fact that she still has lots of stuff to make quilts! I asked her what her favourite part of the studio was, and she said the $300 chair she bought a few years ago. We spend so much time in our sewing chairs, they need to provide proper support. She also loves the “L” shape set up with her sewing machine. Here’s a picture of her stash – and remember, she just sold off a lot of it last week!
She loves the clear plastic bins so she can see what’s inside each box.
We were running out of time. I guess we didn’t start our tour right at 10am and here it was already 3:30! We only had time for one more studio (although there were two left). We headed to Laine Canivet’s studio. Of all the quilters we met today, Laine is the furthest into Surface Design and art quilting. She makes books, does pictorial and abstract art quilts and makes commissioned works. I commented that she must have a huge stash of stuff, what with all the areas she’s involved in! We started the tour in her basement.
In the basement Laine does her printing, stamping, rolling, painting and dyeing. Upstairs is her sewing room. Her fabric stash is only a small part of what she works with.
Laine says of herself that she is easily bored, which is why she’s tried her hand at so many things. It was impressive to see her setup. I’m hoping I can take a class with Laine someday to learn how she uses Lutradur, an essential material in her work.
It was a privilege to see all of these quilters’ studios. It’s also a great way to get to know people in the guild. Although this was the first studio tour done by my guild, I hope there will be others. Maybe you could suggest it for your guild? From all accounts, it’s a great reason to clean up your workspace, if you know 70 quilters are coming over!!!