Okay, everyone with me. 1, 2, 3… Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Cyyyyynthia, Happy Birthday to you!… Aaand many mooooore! Yay! Yup, it’s her Birthday and to celebrate I thought I would post this! If you’ve ever chatted with Cynthia online, you’ll know how lovely and bubbly she is, which I think comes across like crazy in this interview. (But, um… I’m kind of biased.)
In the summer of 2010 I saw a tweet from Lesley Stenning talking about a call out for a new group called the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. Hmm, seemed interesting. I attended that “keener” meeting as it was nicknamed. Holly the founder the Vancouver group asked us to put a dot on a map where we all lived. Everyone’s dots clustered in Vancouver. My dot, well… it was about 5 inches to the right of all those dots. It took me over an hour to drive out to the meeting but I was willing to do that since I hadn’t met anyone out in my area that was interested in fabric and quilting let alone modern quilting.
The “official” VMQG meeting was scheduled a few weeks later. Holly generously offered to put me in touch with a few people out my way. Perhaps we could carpool? One of those people Holly email introduced me to was Cynthia. We instantly hit it off emailing back and forth. We made arrangements to go to the next VMQG meeting. Luckily we hit it off in person too and enjoyed the meeting and our drive. However, we did realize that our drive was as long as the meeting. As we drove home we chatted and figured we couldn’t be the only two people in the Fraser Valley that were interested in modern quilting . It was decided. We would start our own guild. Cynthia set up our online presence and I secured our meeting space, Quilt Essentials, a local fabric in Abbotsford at the time. The rest you could say was Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild history. In hindsight, we really didn’t know each other at the time but what fun we’ve had ever since! Plus, I’ve had the pleasure of learning from and watching Cynthia accomplish such awesome things. Like designing fabric for Robert Kaufman!
Drawn February 2013
8″ by 8″-2″ deep
1. Of all the people I’ve interviewed, you’re kind of the trickiest because I know you so well. What are three things about your stash that would surprise me? Hehe my kindred sista from another mista! I don’t think you’ve seen a lot of my stash lately, it’s always changing. Three things that might be surprising, hmmm…
1. Seeing as we co-founded a modern guild together, you might be surprised that maybe half or more of my stash is not modern fabrics. I don’t shop by designer( is that bad to say seeing as I design fabric lol!) but by colour/print/texture so to me it doesn’t matter if it’s modern or the latest and greatest or not. I even have some Debbie Mumm, some tiny little stars that I just love, shhh don’t tell anybody. Oh wait.
2. It is not organized other than roughly by colour. No matter how hard I try to make it all pretty and fold it all neatly, it never stays that way. I took a picture of it as it is, not tidied, since it never is. I believe in sharing real life as it is, not styled or rearranged to make it look perfect and pretty for a photo, ‘cuz it never is and that’s not how I work. I have a closet full of my vintage sheets, (and other fabrics), collection but it’s really messy and overly stuffed full, so no photos of that but trust me, I have a lot of sheets. They make great quilt backs, what can I say!
3. Nothing is sacred, I don’t hoard. Anything I buy is fair game to be cut up and put into a quilt or project and is used. It might sit for a while until I find the perfect project for it but it does get used. Other than some very, very vintage pieces I have, I use it all. And I try to sneak in some of the oddballs or ones that are generally “pu-pu’d” into each quilt to show that yes! You can use older fabrics in modern ways.
Drawn February 2013
8″ by 8″-2″deep
2. What are your go to colours that you are always drawn towards? For example, when I see brown and green together (a particular green I might add) I think of you. You got me! I love brown and lime green. Or lime green and anything. Particularly that Bella solids “poison” green, (I think it’s called Tawny Olive if I remember correctly), seriously it goes with anything and everything and I can’t get enough of it! You might notice my sewing room walls are painted almost the exact same colour. And our company is called “Green Couch Designs”. I have a thing for green apparently.
But overall I think all colours depending on what I’m working on. I try to be all chic and hip with colour choices, like using a limited palette, but eventually more creep in and my quilts become a crazy mashup of colours.
3. Kind of an add on question to number 2. Picasso had his blue period and thinking about your go to colours, did you have a particular colour scheme say, in the 80s, 90s and the early 2000s? Black, black, and black for all three. No colour. The “Moody Broody Artist Chic” decades! Decades I tell ya!
I didn’t do quilting until most recently, so it was mostly garment sewing I did up ’til modern fabrics started appearing on the scene. Then I started being brave and accepting and using colour, purple was first. Now it’s all colour all the time and I rarely use black!
4. You collect vintage fabric… where is the oddest place you ever found treasure? Oh man! I found some pieces of vintage (1977) Marimekko shoved in a plastic bag in a shoe bin at one of the local thrifts. I saw the brilliant turquoise peeking out & was like hey. That looks like something. And it sure was!
That I actually am saving and have’t used yet. It needs the perfect project to showcase the large-scale print.
You always can find stuff at the bottom of bins where nobody dares stick their hands. That’s where the good stuff is!
5. You walk into the room where your stash is stored, Starr and Charlie have been having a grand time playing tug of war with your fabric. What 3 pieces of fabric doyou scramble to make sure they haven’t touched? Is there a particular reason they are your three favourite pieces? Honestly nothing is truly sacred other than my super duper old vintage pieces like one I have from my great gran, a hand beaded and embellished floral strip on net/tulle, with silk ribbons, silver beads, and truly vintage touches. It’s very fragile so I keep it stored way up high in a latched suitcase where my furry friends can’t get it. I love it because it’s truly handmade, likely from a beautiful 1800’s dress, and I like to imagine the story behind it, where it came from, and why my great gran so carefully kept it tucked away, and having it pass down to me is really cool.
I might also get pissed if they touched “my” stash- the sample yardage pieces of fabrics that I designed for Robert Kaufman, they are like my babies!
Drawn November 2012
14″tall, 11″ wide, 2″deep
Otherwise I think I would get a giggle them playing with my stuff, they always like to come and see what I’m doing and help me! As long as they don’t actually eat it, it’s all good.
We have our sit on the quilt for a photo thing too, as soon as I lay out a quilt on the floor to baste or take a photo, they go sit on it and wait for me to take a photo. It’s very hilarious!