Friday, May 11, 2012

Quilting Espresso

365 Days of Creation - Day 9 - QuiltingEspresso

There are so many artisans and smaller shops that simply don't get their due on big marketplace sites like Etsy or Artfire. Just like in the brick and mortar world of shopping malls, these smaller stores often sit in the shadows of the big box stores and stores with much larger inventories to select from.  While these small shops have beautiful items, oftentimes taking much more time to create and requiring just as big a commitment of resources, the reality is that being found in a sea of hundreds or thousands - or in some categories, even millions of listings - can be akin to trying to kindle a blaze on a blustery day. (You'll understand that reference later, I hope!)  Today's shop - QuiltingEspresso - is one of those shops. So, I am honored to introduce you to this shop and its owner and resident quilter, Kathy:

I've enjoy getting to know Kathy over the past couple weeks as we've exchanged convos on Etsy in preparation for this post.  She's been a hoot to work with, and she's shared some of her amazing personality and outlook on life through her answers to my questions:

Tell us how you decided on your shop name.
For 10 plus years, this name has been attached to my quilting and the dream of someday owning a quilt shop, or owning a coffee house. Back then, my husband and I even shopped coffee houses that were for sale in our native land, southern California. The name Quilting Espresso was decided and recorded as a business name at that time, over a cafe mocha at our favorite coffee cafe (no, it wasn't Starbucks---yet.) Those dreams have yet to materialize in the way you would hope--- today, I have an inexpensive espresso machine and a husband who fancies himself a barista, making me cafe mochas every day, and a lot of quilts under my belt with a HUGE fabric stash, in a very umm..."relaxed" atmosphere. Relaxed means everything is everywhere in my studio (sure, we can call it that), but I know where everything is (most of the time).

Most people have something or someone they look to for inspiration - what or who is yours?
Hmmmm....I really think I look to myself for inspiration, triggered by so many things...mostly the ocean and anything having to do with it, but seeing a bright or unusual patterned quilt in a magazine or book inspires me to make the same, only in my own way. You know, the same but different. Mine come out very different, never as perfect, of course! Another deeply rooted inspiration might be the history of quiltmaking, it's purpose in different cultures, keeping such an important craft the world over alive in my little corner. :)
Who did you learn your craft from? Was there a reason you chose that particular craft? How have you been able to improve your technique(s) from those early beginnings?

Well, I'd like to give my grandmother and mother the credit, but when I asked, "how do you make a quilt?" I did not receive instructions, but did get "are you crazy?" looks from them, because to know me doesn't bring to mind "quiltmaker". So as usual, I embarked on the quest with determination. Once I started, THEN the "that's not right"s, "why did you do it that way"s, and "those stitches are too big"s came flowing from my maternal loved ones, and I was grateful, which means I rolled my eyes and said "NOW you tell me!" When I asked, "how do I hem it?" My mother sauntered out of the room laughing, and my grandmother finally showed me what she knew, called binding, and the only way (so she says) that she knew how. All of my quilts are rolled bindings from the backing to this day.
I was able to improve all of my techniques, how could I get any worse then? After my husband and I were married (he giggled through the above story trying to get me to marry him), he was the one who came home with my first cutting mat and rotary cutter, always one to bear gifts of love. I had no idea what to do with them! Poor guy. After that, and managing to not slice my finger off, more quilts came, along with learning on my own, with magazines and books. Grandma and Mother were quite impressed, Grandma learned quite a lot and even got her own mat and rotary cutter!

What is the special appeal of working with fabric and creating quilt designs?
Growing up, I witnessed my Grandmother sewing all the time, she was quite the home seamstress and made crazy quilts with the leftover fabrics. This was during the 70's that I remember most, and wow, putting a bunch of colors together that don't match, what a magic trick! However, I've always been a person who is particular about...well, just about everything (I don't like the word picky, either), so colors are scrutinized or simply disregarded in my eyes---until they jump out at me. Amazingly, my stash contains every color possible. My daughter's love of fabric colors MIGHT have something to do with that. The same goes for quilt patterns, and rarely have I followed a pattern all out, because while we all say, 'I can make that', there are those of us who end up with a different outcome. Like me!
Designing a pattern is a challenge, and usually comes out of not having enough of a certain fabric I want to use for a pattern. I try to improvise...and end up with nothing like the picture! Designing my own is a challenge, and my most recent was accomplished---a large quilt constructed of nothing but used Starbuck's aprons, front and back. I created it upon request for my most frequented Starbuck's store manager and staff, all of the aprons came from them, and was for the 40th anniversary---it has 40 siren apron patches. I named it "the Siren Star". The appeal? The excitement it aroused during the year-long process, and knowing the repurposed/upcycled outcome is treasured---and will be used. :)
Name one thing that not many people know about you.

I quilt. Apparently, I don't fit the image of a quilter. Oh, and I used to be Smokin' Hot. :)
What surprised you most about the business side of crafting/selling your art?
I've always given away my quilts--- as gifts, made as gifts on request, made them for my daughter, our beds, etc. I didn't try to sell them before Etsy, because I didn't think they were a sellable product. So basically, I haven't been surprised yet :)
If you could be a crayon, what color would you be?
I asked my daughter this question on my behalf, and after some thought (and realizing what I was wearing at the time was not an acceptable answer) she said Lilac. Something about dainty (she got the 'are you crazy' look), light, pretty, it's not tacky80's bright, reminded her of exotic flowers (nice save, precious!)

My own answer would always be, whatever my daughter's favorite color is, sometimes it changes. The last few years (she's 17) it's been aquamarine-ish blue, that turquoisy beachy color. Why would I want to be my daughter's favorite color? Because it's my daughter's favorite color.
If you had a time machine, what historical era would you transport yourself to?

Ancient Greece, European Renn, Roaring 20's, Swinging 40's...the 50's, the 60' long as I'm an independent, fashionable woman.... and Smokin Hot:) 
So there you have it - the whole story from one Smokin Hot quilter!  Stop by Kathy's shop to check out her original designs (if you're a Starbucks© aficianado, you'll love her Starbuck's bags - and if you're into eco-friendly, you'll love the story behind them.  Ask her, she'd love to tell you!

A huge thank you to Kathy - and to everyone who's stopped by Mystic Wynd to follow my 365 Days of Creativity.  Hope your weekend will be off to a creative start!!



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Woohoo! Look at me go! lol THANK YOU Karen, you ROCK your hotness!
Quilting Espresso

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