Do you prefer to be called a quilter? Or a sewist? I like “fabric artist”. A bit highfaluting, but there it is. My aspiration. This blog will be the beginning of a series on those who inspire me on my quilting journey and the pursuit of that grandiloquent title, Fabric Artist.
The internet has greatly expanded the opportunity to mentor and be mentored by people who will we never meet, but we still maintain a bond and expand our creative horizons.
Today, I am singing the praises of Glenda Jean Hepburn, who lives in Australia far from my Washington State, US home. Glenda is an admin on the Esther Aliu applique group that I joined in Feb 2018 at the recommendation of another FB quilting group member.
I joined the group on a whim, as one often does. I had made two primitive applique quilts knowing very little other than applique means to attach a small piece of fabric to a larger piece and stitch around it. Of course, I was aware in a vague manner that applique was a popular sewing medium but I had never seen an applique pattern that inspired me to pursue it. I had focused on learning FMQ for a couple years and was ready for a new challenge.
Esther Aliu’s FB group was a revelation! I loved her patterns and set out to make the block of the month pattern offered at the time, Queen’s Garden. I was in. And I was in way over my head, but stubbornness is a helpful trait at times. The factor that propelled me, and kept me reaching and learning, however, was the wonderful admin group on the site.
How has Glenda contributed to my work? Well, I probably would not be in love with applique without her. Glenda is unfailingly positive, upbeat, effusive, enthusiastic and ready to find the kernel of beauty in any posted piece of work. She is also knowledgeable, helpful and always willing to take the time to assist. She is a tremendous cheerleader for the group and her comments and encouragement meant a lot to me as a newbie. When I was stumped, confused, frustrated and making inevitable beginner’s errors (which still happens!), Glenda was right there telling me I was doing great and that my work was valuable, cheering me on. She is a model for how I interact with members on my own FB group.
There is another side to Glenda’s influence. Being from the magical land Oz, Glenda’s work is infused with her experience of sights in nature wildly different from my own and these experiences are reflected in her gorgeous body of work. Her use of color is fearless, her inclusion of textures and unconventional materials brilliant and fanciful. Glenda uses kimonos, carefully picked apart; vintage blocks, old lace, recycled denim, and buttons, and transforms them all into fabulous works of art. Her work never fails to surprise, delight and inspire me. She is my model for being fearless in my applique work.
My silk on silk piece, made from a vintage silk length that was a gift decades ago, and some solid silk fat quarters that I won at a sew expo is the direct result of Glenda’s influence in my work. She often works in silk and this piece is my homage to Glenda Jean Hepburn, Fabric Artist.
Thank you, Glenda Jean!
Happy sewing all and may you find your inspirations and muse as they are needed.