keep an eye on this space as i feature a different artist every month in 2021. years ago, i asked a friend, an artist, to write a profile of her work, as if for a newspaper or magazine article. i said i would do the same. i see these features in books and magazines all the time. i think writing a piece would force them to define their work and style, but not to confine their work. she never wrote the feature for me, and i never wrote one either. the artists i know need some space. they need to speak about themselves. they need to be acknowledged. acknowledge themselves. most of the artists are my friends, but as the year wears on, i may need to look a little farther to find someone willing.
JANUARY- meet jude. neighbor. quilter.
i met Jude in her front yard circa 2013 when i moved in next door and invited myself into her quilt club AND her life. she didn’t skip a beat as she welcomed me to the next meeting the third tuesday of the following month. she probably never guessed i’d still be showing up 8 years later. we’ve come a long way and Jude and her 13 year-old granddaughter Emma (!) have become some of my very best friends! read my interview with her below and then check out her Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/cjudygo/. even better, check out the Queen Bees quilt club that she started in March 2008- their Instagram is pretty new, but their quilting is legit and their history runs deep https://www.instagram.com/208queenbees/.
Jude usually spends most of her time at quilt club fixing the tension on everyone else’s sewing machines.
a little about you: I love to create! I have been a creator for as long as I can remember. I remember playing school with my little brother when I was in kindergarten and he was two. I made a book for him to read. I had to ask my dad how to spell all the words in the book, ha ha, and then I expected to teach him to read it! I still remember the book, random pieces of paper stapled together and written in various crayon colors. At about age ten I took a big interest in sewing. I received a little toy sewing machine for Christmas and made myself an apron with no instruction. Just figured it out. It was royal blue with pink thread. I got the fabric from our next door neighbor. My mother didn’t like to sew and it always bothered me. She thought sewing was for “poor people”. Our family was generously cared for by my father, although I wouldn’t call us affluent. (My mother probably would have, it was very important to her, but not important to my dad at all.) Only poor mothers made their children clothes, but as a child I was very jealous of clothes my friends had that were made (and very lovely) by their mothers. It was something I told myself I would learn how to do. I wanted to know how to sew for my family when I grew up. I went on to sew dresses for myself in jr. high and prom dresses in high school. I was mostly self-taught with a little help from neighbors and mothers of my friends. It came easy to me and it was easy for me to figure out. I realized in high school when trying to help a friend sew a dress, that it did not come “naturally” to her. The more I tried to explain, the more frustrated she was, and to my knowledge she never sewed again. I was likely not very patient with her either, but it opened up my eyes to the fact that we all have different talents. She was a prolific reader and went on to be an English teacher. She could explain all the books I couldn’t understand with an amazing understanding of twisted plots, foreshadowing, etc. It was over my head.
As time went on in college I became interested in jewelry making and other creative endeavors, although creating with textiles will always be my love.
your creative style: I would call my style traditional with a modern twist. I am especially drawn to older textiles and items made with them, such as vintage quilts. I like to “use what I have”, and buying in excess without using things already available to me never feels quite right. I like to upcycle denim, vintage sheets, flour and feed sacks, etc. and become creative, seeing what I can get inspired to make with them.
where do you find your materials– favorite place: I am always on the lookout for vintage textiles at flea markets, thrift stores, and yard sales. I love a good fabric store, but the thrill of the hunt is what really gets me going. The feeling of saving something someone else has discarded makes my heart happy.
who/what inspires you: Artists who use creative ways to make beautiful items, especially out of previously discarded ones. Bonnie Hunter is a well-known prolific quilter who makes quilts from men’s shirts (among many other quilts). Many quilters now are making coats out of vintage quilts. Allison Jensen and Allison Harris are both young mothers who have written incredibly easy to follow quilt patterns that are very pleasing to my eye and my style. I am amazed at what they create with small children at home and what confidence they have at a young age. (I am especially enjoying quilting at this stage of my life).
social media? Yes or No?: I post some of my “makes” on Instagram, but that is the extent of my social media life. *wink wink*
who are your heroes: My neighbor Carla, my paternal grandmother who was the very best person I ever met, and my next door neighbors who basically raised me. There aren’t enough hugs…
what motivates you: I have always been fascinated with how sewing machines work. I love to sit down and let the hum of the motor soothe my soul and relax me. It is motivating for me to set aside time whenever I can to just sit down, lose myself in a project, and totally relax. It takes my mind off my everyday worries and transports me to a never ending mental list of inspirational ideas.
favorite movie/book/celebrity crush: Love the movie “The Holiday” cause I love Jack Black! Am not much of a reader but I do enjoy the books by Jojo Moyes. My biggest celebrity crush right now is Daniel Levy! (but you’ll have to fight me for him!– carla)
3 things no one would guess about you: 1- I always have to sleep with an electric blanket or hot water bottle, even in the summer. I am always cold. I rarely get “too hot” in the summer. 2- Growing up we had a maid. I never learned how to cook or clean. It has been a rough learning curve. Ha Ha I still hate to cook. Have never enjoyed it. Not one bit. 3- My hair was never curly until it went gray!
Posts of Interest
Feb 24, 2020
Jeffrey Klein is the author of Curious Botany, the most-read blog about rare plants on the internet.
Feb 24, 2020
Jeffrey Klein is the host of the award-winning Embreea Talk podcast from PLNT and NPR.