You may know Laura as the “Dean of Corrections” of the Chicago School of Fusing. She's been writing books and teaching for many decades and her bright colored quilts are always eye-catching. I've been following her work in shows for a long time.
Her new book is a beautiful little project book of wonderful, whimsical scenes that are typical of her joyous style. Houses are all askew, tree trunks are curved and the birdhouse has paned windows! All the projects are easy, fun and colorful...basically you just cut and fuse the pieces to a background and then the magic starts.
Here are photos showing the difference between fusing alone and with 'Fanciful Stitches' added. WOW! What a change to the piece by adding a few choice stitches in certain areas.
Laura takes you step-by-step in each project to show you what stitches to add and where. There is a chapter showing how to do basic hand embroidery stitches and which threads and needles to use. Beginners to advanced stitchers can make one of these creations.
For me, whenever there is hand stitching on a quilt, my eye tends to follow and trace the lines. It draws you in and keeps your interest. I don't know why but perhaps it's the irregularity of the stitches? Perhaps it's my attention to anything done by hand?
I think I will try one of these projects in the near future. They are great little works to bring when you are flying, waiting for doctors or relaxing on a sunny balcony.
Here are my questions for Laura for this blog tour...
What got you started in textile art?
As a girl in Colorado, I joined a 4-H club and learned to sew. This led to a job in the costume department of my college where I then learned to dye fabric. My first exposure to textiles as an art form was a trip with my neighbor, Janet Dye, to an exhibit of Amish Quilts at the Terra Museum in Chicago. It was then that I realized that the fabrics I was dyeing could be turned into creating this thing called an "art quilt."
Who was the biggest influence in your art?
There is no one person. My family has given me the freedom to be myself and friends like Melody Johnson and Frieda Anderson have given me artistic support. I admire and study the work of Degas and Bonnard. My teachers from the 4-H ladies to Renie Breskin Adams have changed my life. Also, I am an avid admirer of those who illustrate children's books. My collection of picture books grows constantly!
What would you like to try next/what direction is your work is going?
For years I've wanted to work with fused felt and stitchery. The felt is in the studio and ready to go and the potential is overwhelming!
What's the best advice you have for new quilters?
Play and practice with the fabric. Give yourself the freedom to make bad stuff and enjoy the learning process.
WIN A COPY OF FANCIFUL STITCHES, COLORFUL QUILTS!!
Just comment below for a chance to win. For a second chance to win/sign up on my website and put "Laura sent me" in the comments. On May 5 we'll pick one winner at random. We can only mail to U.S. address (apologies to our foreign friends!)