Friday, May 2, 2014

Crazy Quilt Artist Interview

On periodic Fridays, I interview artists that I admire.  Now, this is not the usual blog proprietor/ entrepreneur interview that you see many bloggers do.  I propose to ask questions of a more in-depth nature so you can really get to know the artist. I do not want to ask questions that are already covered in profile or About pages. So please take some time to read those important pages too, if you are interested in getting to know the artist.

This interview I am sure will not disappoint.  If you are at all interested in crazy quilting, as I am, you will want to know Pamela Kellogg of  Kitty and Me Designs.  She has a rich history in creativity!  Her Etsy shop banner is listed below, but it is not her only endeavor, which you will see in the interview.  

Pamela features cute and gorgeous kitty pillows in her shop. 'Cute' because they are little cat replicas, and 'gorgeous' because of the work that Pam puts into them. 

And . . .one of my favorites, a cell phone carrier for a custom order that she did!  Again, gorgeous!  

So I asked Pam:

1)  Your work is so intricate, I love it! Can you tell us what sparked your interest in crazy quilting. How did you get started?

Pam--  "I've been stitching for most of my life.  Needlework has always been my passion.  I discovered contemporary crazy quilting back in 2001 when a friend of mine sent me a copy of a Quilting Arts magazine that featured several modern crazy quilt blocks.  I was so taken with the embroidery and embellishments, I knew I HAD to try it.

"My first attempt was not that great.  I struggled at first with the concept of foundation piecing but after doing a few blocks, it started to click in my mind and eventually, I was able to do it without wasting too much fabric.

"As much as I love piecing blocks (I use an antique Singer Treadle machine to do my piecing), it's the embroidery and embellishments that I really enjoy.  Every technique that I learned since I was 8 years old can be applied to CQ. 

"Anyway, once I started, I was hooked.  Crazy Quilting is truly my passion."

Me:  An understatement, I would say! So next question:

2) As a creative person myself, I have various "work stations" all over my apartment and shuffle my work from place to place as needed. Can you give us any insight into your typical day or your work process? 

Pam's work in process - initial piecing

More detail, and the finished project you can see on her blog.

Pam - "My typical day starts at about 4 a.m.   I love the quietness of the early morning hours.  My husband and I watch the news, we drink coffee and I start stitching right away at 4 a.m.  I stitch until 7:30 and then I straighten up the house, do any cleaning and laundry that needs to be done and run errands if I have any.  By noon, I try to get to my email, my Etsy shop, my blog, Facebook and do paperwork if I have any.  I like all my ducks in a row so to speak.  I don't like getting behind on anything.

"Anyway, when I get my chores done, I'm back to stitching, usually around 4 in the afternoon.  I sit in the living room, listen to the television and stitch until my husband gets home from work.  We eat dinner and I stitch again until I go to bed usually around 8:30 p.m.  I'm an "early to bed, early to rise" person.  

"I generally take one day a week to sew up new blocks or, I use my sewing day to assemble anything that I needs to be finished.  I also spend one day a week with my mom.

"My husband and I spend time on the weekends in the Summer going flea markets where I look for vintage things I can use on my crazy quilt pieces.  Thankfully, he enjoys flea markets as much as I do."

I also love flea markets, and find awesome supplies to resale in my supply shop, but that is another story, on to the next question:

3) According to the profile on your Etsy shop, you were involved with making patterns for counted cross stitch before doing crazy quilting. Any hints about making or selling patterns?

Pam-- "Yes, I designed counted cross stitch on a professional level for many years.  I worked with needlework and craft magazines as well as manufacturers such as The DMC Corporation, Bucilla, Kreinik Manufacturing and Charles Craft. 

"I started to lose interest in it once I caught the Crazy Quilt bug.  Little by little, crazy quilting just took over and it became my main focus.

"One thing I struggled with in CQ work, was keeping my stitches even.  I guess I was used to stitching on the grid with counted cross stitch.  One day it occurred to me that I could use Waste Canvas and charted patterns to stitch the seams on my crazy quilts.  Waste canvas is a loosely woven mesh canvas that's used for stitching cross stitch designs on non cross stitch fabrics.   When stitching is complete, the waste canvas threads pull out from underneath the embroidery.

"I charted out a few patterns and starting stitching my seams with waste canvas and soon, Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatments was born.  In my first book, I explain the technique and offer a collection of charted patterns for use on crazy quilts.  There are now 3 volumes along with several how to books.  And now for the big news!!!  Starting with Spring 2015 issue, I am the new owner and publisher of Crazy Quilt Gatherings magazine!  This is the only magazine devoted entirely to crazy quilting!  It's published quarterly and is loaded with techniques, patterns and plenty of crazy quilt eye candy!

"And, coming September 1st, I will be releasing a 2015 Crazy Quilt Calendar featuring the work of 13 Crazy Quilt artists!    My mission now is to offer inspiration to everyone who enjoys needlework of any kind!  My books and publications can be found here: "

WOW!  That is big news!  We will certainly look forward to the magazine! 

Now for the last question and a quote from one of my favorite movies:  "Whatever else anything is, it oughta begin by being personal." So the personal question about family:

4) I see by your Etsy 'About' page that you are a family shop. it must be a special treat to work with and be supported by family. I assume it was not always so, how did they get started helping you? 

Pam -- "Yes, my Etsy shop is our family business.  My parents are both retired so dad takes care of shipping and my mom has always enjoyed making things so this gives her what she calls her, "pin money".

"My mom never played with my sister and I in the traditional sense.  She wasn't one to sit on the floor and play board games or Barbies.  Mom would color with us but that's about it for traditional play time.  Instead, my mother would teach us how to do things.  How to make things.  She taught us to bake, how to stitch, how to crochet, how to sew, she would play piano and we would sing.  That's how mom played with us.  So we just grew up with our creativity always being nurtured.

"For me, I need an outlet for the things I like to make and Etsy is the perfect outlet but I alone can't make enough things to keep a shop full so I asked my mom one day if she wanted to make some things and she was all for that.  Then I asked my sister and she was willing as well. 

"So working together just makes sense.  I take care of the shop, I list everything and handle communicating with our customers.  My mom actually packs our orders since we store our inventory there and my dad takes care of shipping.  Basically, dad runs to the Post Office and keeps track of things to make sure that everything gets delivered."

Thanks Pam for the wonderful, personal interview.  And readers, please stop by Pam's shop for a visit!


pasqueflower said...

What a great interview!! I might have to try the 4:00 am trick.

Splendid Little Stars said...

excellent interview! Thanks for introducing us to Pamela's work!

Duni said...

Of course I love the kitties!
I get up early, but not that early ;-) She sounds like a super organized person! Great interview!

LanasArtStudio said...

Lovely interview! I'm an early bird, but not so organized :) Have a wonderful week ahead! xx, Lana