Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Going to Guild - Thread Painting with Nancy Prince

Monday night was guild night, and our June speaker was Nancy PrinceNancy is the author of Simple Thread Painting and the newly released Thread Painting With Style.  

Since it's summer, Gracie was able to go with me.  Nancy was so gracious with her before the presentation started, asking if she were also a quilter and inquiring about her projects.   In addition to her sense of humor, clear presentation, and beautiful quilts, Nancy added to my list of important characteristics her generosity and charm with a young quilter.  After the program was over, Nancy also took time to answer questions and share her general techniques with the guild members.
Nancy told us about growing up in Asheville, North Carolina and her bold message on an Alex Anderson message board asking Alex how to rate a guest appearance on Simply Quilts.  Alex caught Nancy off guard by asking if she had considered writing a book.  As she would later when the owner of her local quilt shop asked if Nancy was a teacher, she tossed off a "Sure!" and, in Scarlett O'Hara fashion, figured she could worry about that tomorrow.  It was Alex's urging that convinced Nancy to complete her book, despite the fact that "I can't write a grocery list!  How am I going to write a book?"

She did write that book, and she did end up teaching at that quilt shop, although she assumed it would be difficult.  Much to her surprise, Nancy says, "When you teach something that you absolutely are passionate about, it's not hard at all."  

Nancy gave us a quick overview of her thread painting techniques both on and off the quilt.  You can check out a free video to give you a taste of it here.  She also has on demand videos that go into greater depth for a fee if she isn't teaching at a guild or shop near you.

Seeing the quilts in person is breathtaking.  I can't even begin to express how awe-inspiring they are, yet Nancy insists that she can't draw, doesn't use fancy tools, and anyone can do it.  
I'm not sure.  The quilt above, called "Longing for the Past," has details you keep discovering the longer you look at it.  Nancy shares a great story about standing near it at a show and overhearing a man who, after reading that the quilt took over 600 hours, said to his wife, "That woman's got way too much time on her hands."

I tried to take the shot below at an angle so you could see how the design was created and how much dimension the thread painting and the quilting add to the piece.  There are pieces, often miniature quilts, that are left to flap loose along the edges.  The horse's mane is fringe, and you can see the sleigh tracks in the snowy lane. 
During Show and Tell, we got to see the work in progress by those who were able to attend Nancy's class on Sunday.  I wish I'd signed up! Apparently, though, if you are a member of The Quilt Show, you can download the videos mentioned above that demonstrate Nancy's technique in more detail for free.

Ben also shared the exciting news that he had received the "fat envelope" from the AQS show in Knoxville!  His Sunbonnet Sue quilt is going on the road right after she gets a new binding, which Ben says the "quiltzillas" told him wasn't right.  

If only I ever get to a point where the quiltzillas notice my quilts! 

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