Surrounded by Patchwork Projects: That’s Our Ellen

pokey boltonWhen I post pictures on Facebook of the team wearing sparkling leprechaun bowlers or upload a YouTube video of us getting our jingle on, you probably think it’s just all fun and games here at Quilting Arts.

patchwork projectsWell, we are a fun-loving lot, but we work hard. It’s our own fault: we keep coming up with great ideas for new special issues for you to enjoy. So when we hire a new staff member, we want to be sure they can handle both the workload and the silly shenanigans.

Our new Quilting Arts Assistant Editor Ellen Seeberger has been with us only a few weeks, but she’s already proved she can keep up with the rest of the crew on both ends of the spectrum. The moment she arrived, we set her to work on 101 Patchwork Projects + Quilts, our latest and, at 200 pages, greatest special issue.

She jumped right in, not just editing text and photos but also creating a patchwork headband project of her own, modeling it at our photo shoot, working behind the scenes, and even posing with some of the projects for the ads.

I thought you might want to get to know Ellen a little better, so we had a conversation about her initiation into the Quilting Arts fold.

Q. Ellen, you no sooner started work at Quilting Arts than you were thrown into 101 Patchwork Projects + Quilts. Not only did you create a project for the issue, but you modeled it as well! Do you make a lot of patchwork projects? What kinds of things do you usually sew?

patchwork projectsA. It was my very first week at Quilting Arts and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to submit a project proposal to 101 Patchwork Projects. I’ve made a few patchwork projects in the past, mostly as gifts: wallets, bags, a small quilt. I do love to sew and have made projects using recycled materials: reclaimed sweaters, vintage fabric. . . I enjoy the process of taking different fabrics and finding new ways to put them together.

Q. In working on the magazine, what did you discover about patchwork projects?

A. I learned a great deal from the different approaches that artists have to patchwork construction. There are so many ways to create a great finished project. Also, what I love about 101 Patchwork Projects is that it opens up the possibilities. Patchwork really is everywhere and this (huge!) collection of projects truly celebrates the many ways artists interpret the idea of patchwork.

Q. I know you collect vintage textiles. What kinds do you prefer? Any particular color, pattern, or era?

A. I love going to antique shops and flea markets. I have quite a bit of fabric from the 1930s. I enjoy feed-sack patterns. Often they are so whimsical and happy (flowers, bows) which I find fascinating and sort of bittersweet considering their purpose and the time period. Lately I’ve found myself drawn to solids, in particular coarsely-woven linen. Linen has such a rich history and so much potential for surface design.

Q. Do you just like to collect the fabric, or do you make things with it?

A. I have a hard time using vintage fabric. Sometimes I want to be an archivist. I have an inclination to preserve the fabric. It feels like a miracle that something so fragile has survived so long. But I keep telling myself that my studio shouldn’t be a museum and that I should try and use and enjoy the fabric that I have. It’s a struggle! Right now I’m planning on making some summer skirts and dresses with some fabric from my stash, so fingers crossed I won’t get cold feet when I make that first cut.  

patchwork projectsQ. Had you been on a photo shoot before? What did you think of the process? What did you learn?

A. I’ve been on a photo shoot before but not on such a grand scale. I learned a great deal. I hadn’t realized how much organization goes on behind the scenes to take a great photo. When I see a photo in the magazine, I now know about all the elements like the lighting, the list of props, the placement of the items in the shot, and so on. Of course, I also learned the importance of homemade cookies and a sense of humor.

Q. Be honest: what was your favorite part? The ironing or the modeling?

A. Tough call. I might have to say the ironing. I love ironing! Though to be truly honest my favorite part was watching my coworkers model. At the time of the photo shoot I was still very new and it was exciting to get to know the team better.

summers patchwork projectsQ. Which of the projects do you most want to try on your own?

A. Which one don’t I want to try? I love Lucie Summers’ modern patchwork vase–it’s so fresh and unexpected. And I’d like to try my hand at Malka Dubrawsky’s contemporary patchwork potholder and trivet set.

Q. How do you think working on this issue prepared you for working on regular issues of Quilting Arts?

A. I think it offered a better understanding of how the editorial process works, which is of course essential to QA. But most of all I learned from the editorial and arts team working on 101 Patchwork Projects. Their dedication to pulling the issue together, taking it from an idea to finished project, was inspiring. I feel so lucky to work on Quilting Arts Magazine and 101 Patchwork Projects, and a huge part of that is being surrounded by such creative and devoted coworkers.

Ellen, we feel the same way about you. You’re a perfect fit.

My friends, now that you’ve had a peek behind the scenes of 101 Patchwork Projects + Quilts, I hope you’re as excited to see this new publication as we were to create it for you. I can honestly say there is truly something for everyone in it.

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