Thursday, February 12, 2009

Me, Gwen Marston, and Bonnie

Woohoo!!! On Tuesday I met my hero, Gwen Marston. She is wonderful, sweet and so generous with her time. 

To fill in a bit, on Monday I drove four hours to Sarasota and picked up Bonnie at the airport. We visited a quilt shop, had Mexican food for dinner and basically talked and talked and talked. We spent the next day with Gwen, our marvelous Liberated Quilting leader and all around inspiration. 

Bonnie and I brought quilts to show Gwen, quilts with free-pieced letters and strings and crumbs. We were also lucky enough to see some of Gwen's quilts, which are as marvelous as I imagined. She allowed us to take some photos so that we could share them with you. 

Gwen made the center and first couple of rounds of this medallion quilt using scraps of fabric her students left on the floor during Working With Solids class. This quilt is going to be featured in the new Liberated Quilting book she's working on, so this is a sneak preview.

When Gwen is working on the hand quilting, she'll spend 1o hours a day (not including breaks) sitting at the frame working. No wonder she gets so much done.

I wanted you to be able to see the amazing details. These photos should enlarge when you click on them. I think.

Whee, both Bonnie and I got our Liberated Quiltmaking books signed.

A photo of me, Gwen, and Bonnie. You don't want to look at this one closer - I look too goofy. I'm definitely more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.

It was great to get the chance to ask Gwen questions about quilts and quilting, but also about publication. I've learned something important - just how little a quilter earns from their books unless they self-publish. A quilter will earn something like a dollar for every book sold. If they're lucky. It could be less, especially if it's a duo writing the book.

So if you have favorite quilters and want (and are able) to do more to support them, buy from them directly. They make quite a bit more money on the books they sell themselves on their websites or in their classes or lectures. It really makes a big difference. Plus you can get the book autographed.

Some of the quilts Gwen showed us were from Ideas and Inspirations, which Gwen self-published along with photographer Gregory Case. I got to see my favorite quilt Strippy which really is gorgeous. You can get the book directly from Gwen's website although it's also now available online through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and doubtless other spots as well.

I have more photos and stories to share with you, but they'll have to wait for another post. I had a great trip, but it's good to be home with the kitties.

39 comments:

Carol said...

It is always inspirational to actually speak with a person whose work you admire. Glad you were able to have the opportunity.
I see from your pictures that FL has not changed since I left there 14 years ago - short sleeves and sunshine in winter. My son went to college in Sarasota.

A Quilting Journey said...

How fabulous is this? And you were smart enough and brave enough to take photos...awesome to share that with us! I can't wait to meet her AND Freddy this summer! And I just bet that your and Bonnie's quilts totally blew her away ;)

Clare said...

You know Janice in Friends and everytime she reappears she say Oh Myyyy Gawd?

Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Were you in awe and silent, or just talk talk talk. I think I would have just clammed up.

If you are in contact with her, the Yahoo Liberated Quilters Group is knocking on 50 members and I've converted a friend in the UK who has done a stunning quiltlet. We're spreading the word!

x

Clare said...

Me again. Meant to ask if you're going to publish privately too.

quiltycat said...

Great meeting!...and how great quilts she done! This kind of people convey energy as their works.
nichi

True Blue Nana said...

What a wonderful adventure for you and Bonnie. Gwen is such fun and so down to earth. She is such a special person and quilter. I love her stories of how she lives on Beaver Island.

kathi said...

Wow, I think I am more impressed than if you had met Brad Pitt. Gwen is definitely quilting royalty, in my opinion. How great that she allowed you to photograph that fantastic quilt. I really must start using more solids.

Brenda said...

Wow! It sounds like a great meeting. Did she know about your letter quilts? Is she aware of how you and Bonnie are spreading the gospel of liberated quilting in cyberspace? Gwen may be the queen of liberated quilting, but you two are the princesses.

Lucy said...

What a thrill Tonya!! I can't wait to meet Gwen in October!

Finn said...

Congrats on getting to spend some time and conversation with Gwen. What a treat!! Love the quilt. Hugs, Finn

Laura said...

Tonya I am thrilled for you as I know what an inspiration she has been to you. Lucky you it sounded like a wonderful day.

Maureen and P.D. the Pet Dog said...

Hi Ton!! I'm so happy that you were able to meet up with Gwen! Isn't she adorable! And didn't you come away with an experience! That's how she made me feel!

YankeeQuilter said...

How cool is that! Nice you got some quilt and business mentoring!

Have yo gotten your fill of Mexican food yet?!

Kristin L said...

My head is going to explode just for you! Wow, Bonnie, Mexican food, Gwen, mentoring, road trip, quilts -- it must have been an amazing trip!!

Quilts And Pieces said...

Oh finally! You got to meet her! What a fun time you 3 must have had!!!! My head is still reeling at the thought of 10 hours a day quilting! wheh!

jmbmommy said...

What fun!

ROZ said...

Super visit, and I love Gwen's quilt. I save all my scraps.

Fiona said...

How great to see a photo of the three of you together - all artists whose work I admire!

Nine Tomatoes said...

Wow... I'm still not over the "10 hours a day" part. No wonder is right!

Tazzie said...

I'm so thrilled that you had such a wonderful time. Gwen's work is amazing, and you were able to see it close up and personal and spend wonderful time with her and Bonnie too. Sounds like my idea of bliss!
*hugs*
Tazzie
:-)

the Campfollower said...

Such an awesome day! I would love to be there too! Gwen (you and Bonnie too!) has inspired me to start the Bushfire Quilt Project. Quilters from all over the world are making wonky star blocks and sending them to me where my quilt club and I will assemble, stack and quilt them and send them on to victims of the Victoria (Australia) Bush Fires. I would love to let her know about it too...do you think I could call her or would that me strange. Last I checked she didn't have an email.

http://flickr.com/groups/bushfirequiltproject/

Cheers!
Tia

jude said...

i am so impressed with gwen's quilts and the spirit she embodies in her free approach, and her respect for quilting....say hi for me,

KnitOneQuiltTooKristin said...

What excitement! I'm so glad you and Bonnie got to meet Gwen. That quilt is wonderful and I can't wait for the latest books. Have you seen the appeal in Blogland for wonky star blocks to make quilts for the bushfire victims in Australia? They have posted Bonnie's maverick star directions. I'm going to go make some asap.

Passionate Quilter said...

I bet your head is still spinning! What a fabulous 3 days you've had. And good for you getting to spend up close and personal time with someone whose work you so admire. I can imagine the sleepless nights you'll have thinking of all the inspirational things that have come up since meeting her. :)

KathieB said...

What a great opportunity to meet one of the real champions of quilting. I've long admired her approach to quilting and her respect for the traditions and history of it all. She deserves a MUCH wider audience. Lucky you...

Joyce said...

Aren't you the lucky one! She is one of my quilting heroes, along with you and Bonnie.

comicbooklady said...

awesome!! One on one time with her! Lucky you! I bet she loved your letters!

sewkalico said...

Wow! You must have a blast. Just recently bought Gwen & Fredi's book, thanks to your advice. Sorry I didn't buy it direct now!

sewprimitive karen said...

I wonder how Gwen goes about self-publishing her books...what an excellent thing to do.

Quiltdivajulie said...

I am SO excited that you got to spend this amazingly wonderful, in-depth, FUN (!) quality time with Gwen... how totally awesome (and with Bonnie there, too).

SO very VERY happy for YOU!

BUMBLE BEANS said...

That sounds like it was a very FUN day! How nice! She really does do some beautiful things! I need some of her and yours and bonnies patience with all that hand quilting!It's amazing... May I can get hypnotized, to be able to sit that long and just hand sew....

be*mused jan said...

Have you recovered yet? :-) It must have been a thrill to spend some time with Gwen...as I expect it was for her, too! After all, you are probably her biggest fan, and considering all of us out here who love her work, that's saying something.

Lynda said...

Lucky you! Glad you found Gwen just as nice as she seems in her books. And you don't look goofy, you look a bit serious, which is good for a quilter!

Cher said...

what a dream come true for you Ton-I am thrilled with the photos-and how generous Gwen was to allow a photo of a quilt upcoming in her latest book. I will be sure to order direct from her for her latest one unless I am able to buy it in July from her at Sisters. I bet you are still on cloud nine from that wonderful visit

Library Gal Quilts said...

Hi there, I am thrilled for you! I get to take a class with Gwen in July at Sisters and can't wait. I re read Mary Shaffer and her Quilts this past January and it really shows how truly dedicated Gwen Marston has always been to quilting and the best part, the people who have inspired her get extra special attention. Without her efforts, alot of quilt history would have been lost. Pam in Chico

Brit said...

Wow! How cool! looks like you all had a great time.

jovaliquilts said...

Sounds like a totally incredible day! Didn't know that quilters made more from books purchased directly from them -- I'll keep that in mind from now on. Gwen's new quilt is just wonderful, and I love that she made it from scraps her students left on the floor!

Maria Peagler said...

What a delightful day you had! I got to see Gwen's lovely applique quilt when she visited my guild in Georgia - and I took a class from her.

And as a quilt book author, I appreciate the comment about supporting us directly. The figures Gwen gave are true for all authors, not just quilting book ones. The numbers aren't huge. But you have to ask yourself why you are doing it. If you love what you do, it doesn't seem like work and you figure out a way to make a living at it.

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