Today's Quilter : 2020-10-29

Jenni Smi Th L Designer Profile : 45 : 45

Jenni Smi Th L Designer Profile

jenni smi th l DESIGNER PROFILE Blossom Pincushion from Below, Quilting with Liberty Fabrics. Colourful double-gauze fabrics ‘sing’ in this simple square-based layout, with bigstitch hand-quilting adding lovely texture to the design (double gauze is a very soft and slightly crinkled fabric produced from two layers of gauze that have been tacked together with near-invisible stitches) The Liberty Design Studio was launched in the 1950s. One of the early designers was Gillian Farr, who created a popular Liberty print based on cherry blossoms. This sweet pincushion, twinned with a table runner pattern in the book, features a simple tree pattern to reflect Liberty’s midtwentie­th-century aesthetic a i d e M l o p S y k c u L y s e rt u o c l, e x i P + e g a P © e g a m I G evening a week for eight weeks, Jenni taught the group a different technique each session. From there, things grew by word of mouth. “I really enjoy teaching, especially helping people who are making their first quilt,” Jenni tells us. Initially, she carried on working from home, but a few years later, she found a space she could rent during the day at her local theatre. Then, four years rowing up, quilt-maker Jenni Smith was surrounded by creativity. “My parents and grandparen­ts were always making things so, invariably, I was encouraged to have a go too,” she says. “Then, when I was a teenager, a friend of my mother’s taught me dress-making, which is something I still enjoy, including designing my own patterns.” Quilts came onto Jenni’s radar when she was living in Toronto in 2006. Her husband was busy doing a medical fellowship and most of Jenni’s time was spent looking after their one-year- old son, but she did have a few hours to herself each week while he was at nursery. “The first time I dropped him off, I felt rather lost,” Jenni confesses, “but next to the nursery was a quilting shop, which drew me in with its incredible array of fabrics.” Striking up conversati­on with the owner, Jenni was soon signed up for some classes. She says, “From the start, I just adored mixing all the fabrics together, and it also gave me a happy distractio­n while we were away from home and the social networks I’d been used to.” FURTHER INFORMATIO­N Quilting with Liberty Fabrics: 15 quilts celebratin­g 145 years in fabric by Jenni Smith, Lucky Spool Media, 2020 In this beautifull­y -llustrated book, Jenni Smith shares her passion for Liberty prints, which have now been produced for 145 years. First, she considers the ‘anatomy’ of a Liberty print – essentiall­y, the ingredient­s which make them so special. She dips into Liberty’s incredible fabric archive, the design and printing processes, the base cloths and the fabulous haberdashe­ry department at their flagship London store. She then tells the history of the company, and its fabrics and styles over the years, through 15 projects, with one quilt representi­ng each decade. As well as giving a glimpse into this quintessen­tial British brand, the projects also introduce a range of different techniques, with patterns suitable for all skill levels. SPREADING THE WORD When the family came back to the UK a year later, Jenni had three finished quilts under her belt. Well and truly hooked, she was now fired up to spread the word. “I’m a bit evangelica­l. I am that person who will badger you until you at least agree to give it a go,” she laughs. Friends fell in love with her quilts and many wanted to learn to make one too, so Jenni would show them how to get started. But her real break came when her son’s school held a fundraisin­g promises auction. Jenni entered a promise to teach a short sampler quilt course and about half a dozen people put in a bid. So, sat around her kitchen table one 45 Join us at www.gathered.how/todaysquil­ter

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