For this week’s Worldwide Wednesday trip we are off to Mexico to meet quilting expert, Linda Carlson.
Linda, and her twin sister, co-design fabrics and teach quilting all over the world, but what inspires Linda to lead this creative life?
As tradition dictates I should firstly introduce you all to Linda.
Readers, this is Linda (and her twin sister).
As always, Linda was asked the same series of questions that all other participants were asked so let’s hear what Linda had to say.
Please can you provide a brief introduction to yourself, where in the world you are and let everyone know what you currently do in the arts/crafts industry.
I live in Mexico, MO where my home is my quilting studio … all over the house as my hubby claims!
Currently, I co-design fabric with my twin sister as the Designing Duo and teach quilting classes nationally and internationally.
When did you begin working in the creative industry and what was the seminal or defining moment that put you on that path?
I made my first quilt in 1975 for the birth of my first daughter, read every quilt magazine, dog earring the patterns I wanted to make, but realized I would never live long enough to make ALL of them.
The large 4-block patterns subliminally said, “there’s only 4 of us to make. You can make as many as you want.” I loved the boldness of the applique’ or pieced motifs, so I plunged into that style/set with motivated abandon.
I started teaching professionally in 1994 after my first book with AQS was published, Roots, Feathers & Blooms: 4-Block Quilts, Their History & Patterns.
Is what you do now what you imagined you would be doing when you first started out?
Oh my goodness, no!
I’ve always loved fabric both for color and design, but little did I know that love would extend into designing fabric!!
Thinking back through the years, what memorable responses have you had to your work?
Four things come to mind.
When my antique 4-block quilt collection was featured in one of the National Quilt Museum galleries in Paducah, KY in 1996, a woman came up to me and said she and her husband were having problems, but visiting my quilts, he thanked her for bringing him and said he thought they should try to do more things together. The experience reinforced my belief that quilts evoke all sorts of emotions and responses.
Once when I taught several workshops at the American Quilters Society show in Paducah, a lady paid for her 8 year old daughter to be in my quilt design class saying she thought it was important to broaden children’s artistic talents in various disciplines.
A third memorable experience was teaching at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX. Two students from Japan and mexico didn’t speak English, but one’s daughter translated into Spanish everything I said. My numerous small group demos also helped both ladies go home with great starts on their projects.
Because of my numerous opportunities to teach nationally and internationally, I was honored with the G. Andy Runge Ambassador Award for promoting my home town wherever I went.
What has been most important to you as an artist or crafter – a mentor, support, knowledge, advice, information, funding, family, friends … etc?
The outpouring of thanks from all my students since the mid-1970s for encouraging them to do the best they can while marching to their own inner creative self.
Remarks on evaluation sheets such as “Linda is so patient, finds words to explain the technique in different ways so everyone can understand at their skill level, and makes sure everyone knows how to finish the project on their own,” lets me know they feel they got real value for their class fee.
How have you changed during your career and do you see room for more changes in the coming years?
Instead of concentrating on the 4-block quilts three of my books were about, my classes now reflect quilts made with my 5 fabric lines for the young, teens and young-at-heart.
We design our fabrics with some juvenile prints, but many more high contrast graphic motif prints that appeal to the modern contemporary and “the new” traditional fabric lover sewists.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
Coming up with fabric theme ideas is at the top, making the samples, and teaching the technique featured in the quilts!
Who/What inspires you the most?
My twin sister, Diana Henage is the artist creating our fabric collections. Seeing her take my ideas and fleshing them out in her own unique style and twist is just plain fun!
One drawing inspires another related design so often, that many times we have large collection proposals.
How would you describe a creative life? Fun, challenging, rewarding … etc?
My creative life finds me constantly seeing design motifs in catalogues, calendars, floor tiles, flower beds, that would be wonderful in fabric!
Because I am the traveling quilt teacher of our Designing Duo, finding time to create the quilts, take care of the website and blog, cut and prepare customers purchases, do social media is a full time job.
Although when we have a new line debuting at a spring or fall Quilt Market, somehow I can wring out a couple 27 hour days at crunch time.
What would be your dream project?
Finishing the quilt my home Prairie Pine Quilt Guild members made blocks for when I was the first president …. 26 years ago!
Teaching, writing 4 books and designing fabric got in the way of adding an applique border and quilting it.
What wouldn’t you do without?
Gee, that’s a hard question. Not having a hand project would be difficult as I don’t like to waste time just watching TV.
I multi-task to get things done while I’m being “entertained”.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, my sister & I are working on several different fabric lines. All the themes are fun, trendy and bright!
What future project(s) are you most looking forward to?
Using the fabrics to showcase our new lines in quilts, clothing and small projects.
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What hobbies (creative or noncreative) do you have?
I like to read and go fishing! Trout, Crappie, Bass are my favs to eat, so I’m always ready to plan a day or week long trip to our favorite streams and lakes.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
When I taught second grade before quilting full time, I taught myself Braille so I could prepare assignments for two blind children in my class. I loved it so much, I transcribed Shel Silverstein’s A Light In The Attic for the Library of Congress where it resides today for check-out.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
Follow your color instincts for home decor when selecting fabrics. Choose what you like and it will be pleasing to walk into each room!
Just remember to have a balance in light, medium and dark values. Even three different cream prints will read as light, medium and dark when placed beside one another.
Where else can we find you? (Blog, website, twitter, facebook etc)
- My blog is attached to my site: http://www.lindacarlsonquilts.com. Be sure to sign up for our Newsletter that can be found on the Blog page.
- My Facebook fan page is: Linda Carlson Quilts
- Twitter is @ljcarlson1
I don’t know about you but I am really starting to love these Worldwide Wednesday blog posts as I am getting to hear from some incredibly talented and passionate people.
I particularly like hearing how Linda went from a “traditional” career into one that she was passionate about – wouldn’t you like to do this also?
I’d like to thank Linda for taking part in this series of blog posts and wish her all the best for the future – I’ll be keeping an eye on the fabric designs that the Linda and her sister bring to market in the future – perhaps I can incorporate them in my foundation paper piecing projects…?
Anyway, our time in Mexico is at an end I am afraid – I wonder where we will end up next time?
If you have any comments regarding this post, please feel free to use the comments section below.
Many thanks for taking the time to visit and read – I’ll see you next time.