Why quilting? Fabric, fabric and more fabric! I think that's why I fell in love with quilting. The endless ranges are always exciting for me. Knowing that with one range of fabric there are so many possibilities for creativity.
Have you tried plenty of others? I love trying new crafts and I've tried quite a few over the years - knitting, embroidery and cross stitch to name a few. I love all forms of art and creativity and I find that, as long as I'm making something, I'm happy.
Any favourite quilting memories? When I lived in Boston, I worked for Tumbleweed Quilts, in New England. It was my all-time favourite job. The shop was in a 225-year-old house that was haunted. We used to see things move on their own, hear voices and people walking around upstairs on the wood floors, and sometimes light switches would go on or off by themselves.
Who taught you your crafting skills? Growing up, I had no idea quilting even existed. I learnt sewing by helping Mum sew sequins onto my sister’s dancing costumes. Then when I was 20 and pregnant with my first daughter, I was looking for something to do at night and a friend introduced me to cross stitch. One day, I went to a local cross-stitch shop and next door was a quilt shop and the owner started talking to me about my baby and convinced me to take a log-cabin class and make a quilt for the cot. Two hours later, I walked out with everything I needed and a big dent in my credit card and I haven't stopped quilting since that day.
Any good stories from those lessons? I will never forget the first class I took - the whole thing felt like déjà vu. Quilting felt so natural and came to me so easily. Now, I have been called crazy by my family but I do believe in past lives and am convinced I quilted in my last life.
From where do you draw inspiration? Everywhere - books, TV, internet, nature and even dreams. Once I get an idea for a quilt, I usually do a quick sketch so that I don't forget it. Needless to say, I have many folders filled with sketches.
How would you describe your style? As I learnt to quilt in the USA, my designs often have lots of muted or dark colours and have a distinctly American feel. I love wholecloth quilts, American primitive, traditional and lots of appliqué.
What’s your advice for beginners? No one starts anything at the finish line. The best thing I can tell them is to enjoy the journey and the process and embrace their mistakes so that they can learn from them. And most of all, don't compare yourself to others; your quilts and creativity are yours and no one else’s.
Rebecca Stewart-Bartell, Bec Bartell Quilts –