Monday, February 29, 2016

Guest Artist Feature: Sandra Messier, Quilter

Quilting is a hobby of mine, a favorite pastime, a passion -- begun at a young age and developed over fifty years.

What inspires me to quilt? Joy -- the joy found within the process of creating a quilt and the nostalgic memories of learning to sew beside my beloved Grandmother.

These cherished memories of sitting at my Grandmother's Singer sewing machine --  smelling the fabric finishes, dust and machine oil -- the faint scent of fresh cut grass and the plum tree in bloom wafting in on the gentle breeze through an open window -- the feel of my Grandmother's gentle presence and her soft words of instruction and encouragement -- bring me JOY.

Creating at my own machine evokes these memories and offers me the opportunity to feel my Grandmother and express her love for me and sewing through my quilts.

It is my pleasure to  share with you  some of my favorite quilts.

 4 Patch Variation 

This charming quilt was pieced in the late 1990's. I made it for my daughter's bed to compliment the white picket fence headboard her father had made for her. Well, life rolls along and it wasn't until 2015, three homes later and a daughter now in her twenties, that I unearthed this hidden treasure and had it quilted.

It felt wonderful to handle the quilt and work with it again. The slightly dusty aged fabric scent tickled my nose and my memories -- of my young daughter playing while I worked on this quilt.

Pink -- the color of unconditional love and nurturing -- the color that attracts my eye in this quilt. A gift of love to my daughter.

Sunbonnet Sue 


The delicate simplicity of the Sunbonnet Sue, a popular quilting design from the early 1900's, has always appealed to me.  Prior to beginning this quilt project a refresher course in hand appliqué was necessary as was increasing my "stash" of 1930's reproduction fabrics. Tasks joyfully undertaken. As I hand appliquéd each block I envisioned "Sue" tending her flower garden creating a story, in my mind, for each.

Green is a restful color -- signifying life, growth -- the color of my garden; therefore the perfect balance for the offsetting 9-patch blocks.

 Intricate Quilting Design

1930's Strip Twist Quilt      

I selected this pattern to develop my technique in consistent seam allowances, pressing and block assembly. 1930's reproduction fabrics seemed the perfect fit --  I had fun creating this playful quilt -- I like the movement the blocks create and how the colors pop!

Yellow is a cheerful color -- bringing me satisfaction -- of happiness and hope.

Double Wedding Ring Table Runner

Ah, the challenge of the Double Wedding Ring quilt; a design not for the faint of heart.  I have long admired this quilt pattern, with its many tiny pieces and multiple curves,  and was eager to attempt one. I wisely decided the best approach was to begin small and use the blocks to create a table runner.  Amazingly it wasn't  the daunting task I let myself believe it would be.

Selecting a red and white color palette was a new experience for me. Red is an energizing and exciting color -- and I love the result. I will use red again with confidence!

Appliquéd Butterfly Quilt   

Several years ago a dear friend shared with me an antique Butterfly Appliquéd quilt she inherited. It was made as a wedding gift for her parents by her grandmother. What a lovely tribute. The movement of the butterflies and the sentimentality of the quilt reverberated through  me as I handled the quilt and listened to my friend share her memories of this quilt. Instantaneously, I knew  that I would create one -- and began my quilt two years later.

Soon after seeing my friends quilt I began supplementing the 1930's reproduction fabric "stash".  And, also, researching  butterfly templates. I selected a butterfly template  with softer edges and a more delicate appeal than the original. Many months went into the creation and hand appliquéing of 54 plus blocks -- months of wondering if I'd totally lost my mind to undertake the project -- months of daydreaming -- months of contemplating the ease and joy of a butterfly flitting in the sunshine from one flower to another without a care in the world.

Purple -- the color of imagination and dreams -- a perfect choice for the border fabric!

 Butterflies flitting in the garden!

Dresden Plates

In the upstairs of my Grandmother's home was a linen closet that contained, to my child's mind, many wonderful treasures. It was truly a special occasion when my Grandmother would let me explore the contents of this closet. My favorite treasures were her Dresden Plates which I inherited at her death. She knew they were my favorites and always let me handle them. 

To this day I appreciate the fragile, delicate fabrics and the knowledge that she created these beautiful pieces with her own hands. My love for the 1930's fabrics no doubt seeped into my soul from these childhood experiences -- from my Grandmother's influence -- a privilege that will always be dear to me.

Quilts speak to me -- the soft but vibrant colors, the faint scents of fabric finishes -- the peace and joy found in the process, in the day dreaming, the memories evoked and in the gifting of my quilts to family and friends -- they touch my inner being, my heart.

A close-up of original 1930's fabric


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