Jan and her husband live in Karrinyup, in the house they built more than 40 years ago. From the plans, the fourth bedroom was always designated as “Mum’s Room.” Over the years it has always been an area of creativity – originally used for dressmaking and school preparation.
As toddlers, the two girls sat on the floor colouring, cutting, building or threading beads and buttons. As the girls left home more room became available and “Mum’s Space” for quilting has overflowed into another bedroom. Her husband complains that it has also overflowed into the family room (hand sewing), dining room (quilting on the big table), laundry (ironing fabric), lounge room (quilting nights) and the back patio (dyeing and messy jobs).
Back in the nineties her sister had taken up quilting and she was sharing with Jan the things she had learned. On a trip around the world in 1995 they came across three quilt exhibitions and half a dozen quilt shops. Jan bought some fat quarters as a gift for her sister but she is still waiting for them. When they got home Jan thought she’d have a go at making a quilt. Her first quilt was 11 original panels of places they had visited using the fabric she’d bought for her sister – plus some extra purchases. This was the beginning of her stash and quilting passion.
Her quilting has continued to be predominately original designs inspired by their travels. Holidays abroad were restricted to school holidays, but since retirement for both of them, the favourite time to travel is autumn and spring. A trip to Antarctica had to be in summer for obvious reasons. This destination subsequently inspired a quilt.
Having a “travel” quilt displayed on the wall is a pleasant way to remember a wonderful trip every time you walk past it. Because the quilts outnumber the hanging spaces they are on rotation.
Jan loves taking workshops because she firmly believes you can never stop learning. Her favourite tutor is Gloria Loughman. Jan has all her books and has taken classes with her in New Zealand, Melbourne and Perth.
After chocolate, Jan’s weakness is quilting books. The trouble is if she reads them at bedtime she’s kept awake half the night with ideas and inspiration coursing through her head.
In the classes Jan teaches, she likes to present a technique or process that can be adapted to the participants own interests and abilities. She’s not in favour of seeing 14 or 15 clones of her samples.
Her own quilting is evolving and that is what she likes to see in workshop participants. She thinks that each new quilt should take you out of your comfort zone a little. Try a new technique, master a more complicated quilt block or use a colour that is not one you would usually reach for. Master that and feel the satisfaction of accomplishing something you didn’t think you could.
Jan considers herself to be an eclectic quilter. She’ll use any fabric, thread, yarn, technique, quilt shape or embellishment to achieve the effect she wants. Nothing is sacred. Although her stash of resources needs to be tamed, there appears to be no evidence of that happening in the near future.
Her favourite tip is –
Do what you love and love what you do – otherwise don’t do it. Our time is precious.
Thank you Jan for sharing, lots of great advice .