Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Quilter's Journey

by Cindy Lindgren

How does one become a quilter? The stories can be as different and beautiful as the quilts they create. This is HandmadeMN member, Nancy Hovland's story of her evolution.

"I believe every artist starts out at some point during their life with an interest and desire to create something beautiful. It could start at an early age, or later in life. It doesn't really matter if it's something you love to do. I used to think I wanted to pursue a career in art but after a failed attempt to get accepted into the National Art Honor Society in high school, I pretty much gave up. Not enough talent, I decided. At that point I wanted to draw, paint and other areas like that. Little did I understand that there are many ways to express creativity as well as so many opinions on what is good art.
Nancy Hovland
One thing I did start early and continued with for years was sewing. I first started out making Barbie clothes at about age 10. As if she needed more! My mother was willing to buy patterns for me and I used leftover scraps of fabric from the clothes she was making for me. That's another story. However, that's how I learned to read patterns and put something together.

I decided to make this into a business opportunity! I put the clothes into my Barbie closet/suitcase and went door to door trying to sell these fine items. Those were the days when people actually answered their doors. Those who did listen to my sales pitch looked at me with confusion and ultimately rejection. Oh well. My Aunt Opal was my champion and bought several Barbie clothing pieces from me, supposedly to give to my cousin. Everyone needs someone in their life like Aunt Opal.
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Fast forward to 1980 when I spotted a quilt store near my house. I so wanted to learn to quilt but was nervous. I wouldn't even go in the store so I called them instead! The woman who answered, asked if I could sew and after I said yes, she said then you can quilt. So I signed up for a class and since then continued to take many classes at many different shops. Materials, tools and methods have changed over the years.

In about 2009 I decided I didn't have enough room in my house to keep making quilts but I didn't want to stop. I read an article about Etsy in a quilt magazine and decided to open my own shop  called Hartford Avenue Quilts. In addition to selling my quilts on Etsy, I do art shows and continue to take classes. Like any skill, creating is a learning process that never stops, nor should it. I am now using a software that allows me to create my own designs. 

Over the years I've owned a total of four sewing machines. I love fabric, I love all kinds of styles and colors. I love to see how I can put something together that I think is beautiful. I also love quilt stores, quilt shows and quilt magazines and books. I have no plans to stop learning and creating."

You can meet Nancy and see (and buy) her quilts at St. Anthony Park Arts Festival on Saturday, June 3rd, in St. Paul. Here's more details at this link.


Sharon Parker said...

That's a really great story. And what beautiful quilts!