'THE ACCIDENTAL QUILTER'
I am a retired Brit living with my Spanish wife in Spain. My academic educational background and subsequent investment banking career gave no early hints of my current quilting obsession, but my art projects while at school were always dominated by colour and logic with as little freehand as possible.
I have many childhood memories of my mother and three elder sisters using a treadle Singer sewing machine to which a motor had subsequently been added but neither I nor my brother ever tried it out. We were a pretty traditional family and the boys´ jobs principally involved helping Dad in the garden. In fact, it was not until some 6 years ago that I actually got to use a sewing machine - my first lesson was a fiftieth birthday present from a friend who had been a domestic science teacher. At that time my wife had recently graduated from counted cross-stitch to patchwork and was working on her beginner´s sampler quilt. In response to my innocent question as to why her fabric was not cut straight if she was using a ruler it was suggested, in no uncertain terms, that I do it, and thus it was that I got promoted to rotary-cutter-in-chief. From there it was really only one small step to wanting to make something myself and I felt that a picture I had by Vasarely would look good in fabric. I have always liked this serigraph as it appealed to my sense of colour and geometry and, whilst the shapes of the individual patches were instantly obvious, I had no idea how to put them together. That was the challenge I set myself......
Indeed, the planning stage is still probably my favourite and, unlike many who actively enjoy being surprised and adapting as events unfold during the making of a quilt, I prefer to have a very good idea of the final result before I commit the time to actually making it, often photocopying fabric, cutting up the photocopies into my proposed patches and literally sticking them together first. It is, I suspect, this same rather up-tight personality which prevents me from being able to create the relaxed flowing curls and swirls of those whose free motion quilting I greatly admire. As a result the actual quilting stage remains my least favourite and since I feel incapable of enhancing the designs into which I have put so much effort I do my best not to detract from them by keeping the quilting to a minimum.
My perfectionist nature means that meeting points must meet at the right place and that quilts must hang flat and straight. Calling oneself a contemporary quilter in my opinion should never be used as an excuse for imperfect technique. I was fortunate enough to attend a Ricky Tims course a while ago and I well remember him telling us at the outset that he was not from the "quilt police". I, alas, am.
'The Accidental Quilter'
The Quilts Of Peter Hayward