First, tell us a little bit about your history with arts and crafts.
I started sewing when I was about 15. Beatlemania and the British Invasion was in full swing and I wanted the cool clothes I saw in the imported English magazines everyone was reading at the time. They just couldn’t be found in Chicago, so I took my mother up on her offer to teach me to sew. The first thing I made was a pair of royal blue wide wale corduroy pants that never did fit very well. But I was bitten by the sewing bug, and made clothes for myself and my daughters for years. I’ve also had embroidery, cross-stitch, and macramé phases, all of which seem to wax and wane. I was beginning to explore art quilts when I stumbled into digital fabric printing and launched Cosmic Quilts.
You could sew anything in the world, why bags and quilts with galaxies on them?
Simply because the NASA images are beautiful pieces of abstract art, and many of them look great printed on fabric. I wanted the images to take center stage, so I started with mini quilts and simple wall hangings. And that got me thinking about other things I could make that people might find useful. Tote bags and device covers are a perfect fit; because they’re simple things, the images aren’t compromised by a lot of seams and stitching.
What is the most fascinating thing you have ever learned?
The first thing I thought of is something I read about 20 years ago in Lewis Thomas’s wonderful collection of essays, The Lives of a Cell–that the mitochondria in our cells are really tiny aliens. Their DNA and other inner structures most closely resemble those of bacteria, not humans. They are, as Dr. Thomas put it, “total strangers.” Wow.
Creating items with nebulae and galaxies on them, leads me to believe that maybe you have a nerdy or geeky streak in you? Am I right? If so, what other geeky hobbies/tendencies do you have?
I’ve never thought of myself as particularly geeky/nerdy, but I suppose the tendencies are there. For instance, I’ve seen almost all of the Star Trek episodes, from all the different series except the original. But I’ve never been to a Star Trek convention and I don’t own a uniform. And I enjoyed all of the Stargates, and Battlestar Galactica, and the original Star Wars stories. I love it in book form too, especially Ursula LeGuin, Patricia Anthony, and Greg Bear, to name a few.
Who is/are your idol(s) and what do you admire about him/her(/them)?
I admire many artists: Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr, Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent Van Gogh, to name a few. I don’t know much about Chagall, Kandinsky or Van Gogh; I just love their individual styles and use of color. Carr had a difficult life but never abandoned her work. I admire O’Keeffe even more since I moved to New Mexico and can see and feel the landscape for myself. Working with my “cosmic” images has helped me to appreciate her abstract work. She painted what she felt in a way that was hers and hers alone.
I think all artists who achieve what these people have achieved have a drive to create that’s like breathing to them, it’s necessary to who they are.
Everyone has a dream or a goal for their arts. What is yours?
My goal is to continue to improve my skills, learn new techniques, and have a great time doing it.
What would you say to others trying to meet their dream?
Go for it. Now. Don’t wait.
Finally, where can we find you and your amazing art?
You can find Cosmic Quilts at http://www.etsy.com/shop/CosmicQuilts?ref=si_shop