You may recognize Bob from previous Fancy Tiger blog posts. If you don't recognize by his face, you will definitely recognize him by his stunning quilts. A prolific knitter and quilter, every time you see Bob he is working on something new and amazing. He has been a long time honorary Fancy Tiger and host of our gentleman's craft society, Man Made. Let's learn a little bit more about Bob!
Tell us a little about your creative self. What inspires you to create?
All sorts of things! Sometimes it’s color or pattern; sometimes its a new technique. Sometimes it's the material I’m working with. I’ve always loved making things, and I’m often drawing patterns I find interesting that end up getting translated in some form to a quilt design. Many times it's something in nature, not directly translated, but more of a starting place. Sometimes its just loving a pattern that someone else created, and taking joy in just making something fun!
For me, creating is also this amazing combination of a very personal act of physically putting things together into an object in the way I want, but at the same time a very public act, as once something has been made, and I put it out there for others to see, interpret and use in the way they see fit, and I lose any control of how people will think of it and use it. It’s a little intimidating, but the risk of getting disappointed by someone’s not liking something I do is so outweighed by the possibility of bringing joy and beauty into someone’s life.
When I create things I feel that quilts best represent this, as they can be both beautiful and the most wonderful physical representation of love, as you can physically wrap yourself up and feel the comfort that is there. In my desire to create, it’s often about the use that comes (wearing a knit or cuddling under a quilt) combined with making it look beautiful.
Tell us about the person who taught you to do what you do.
I give my Mom a lot of the credit for my crafting habits. My Mom is skilled in many different crafts (quilting, sewing, basketry, crochet, knitting, cross stitch… I could go on) and I learned a lot of things just watching her. One of my favorite memories is a memory of being young enough to play with my matchbox cars underneath my Mom’s quilting frame as she hand quilted her quilts. While she denies the credit, I can honestly say it was watching her that really set my interests in crafting and making at a young age.
I also had some great teachers, particularly in college, that helped me look more critically at what I make, and to really appreciate the value of handwork and the craft side of the arts.
Stephen West Herbivore Shawl
Tell us about some of your favorite projects you have made/what type of projects you like to work on.
I have done a lot of different things, but for the past few years I’ve been pretty absorbed with quilting.
One of my favorite recent finishes, for many reasons, is my Orion quilt. I was inspired by Amber’s Zodiac contellation blocks, and at the time she didn’t have an Orion pattern, so I just designed my own, using some of her techniques. I chose Orion because it is my favorite constellation, and the first constellation my Dad taught me to identify when I was little. The words I added at the bottom are a personal reminder to look for the good in life. Even in the darkness, there’s light.
I’ve also been really enjoying handwork more recently. Different uses for smaller appliqué blocks that are more portable have been good for my social life as well, as I’m not always tied to my sewing machine!
What is next on your crafting horizon. Do you have a new (to you) craft you want to conquer?
I’d love to get into dying. Being able to not only design, but dye the fabric the way I want is a fun idea. Being able to have a hand in the materials and the design takes the creating to a different level. I’d love to explore and learn more about that, particularly the possibilities with indigo.
While you are sewing, what is your favorite music to listen to/show to watch?
I’m a sucker for Netflix, but it usually has to be something I can 1/2 tune in to. It can’t be too intense, or I find myself getting involved and abandoning the crafting. Fun movies I’ve already seen are great as I can just have it on in the background. However, my absolute favorite is anything narrated by Sir David Attenborough. His nature documentaries just kind of sooth my spirit while sewing, and the mix of the beautiful images and the interesting facts are pretty amazing. And interestingly enough, often spark new ideas for further projects!