jenni smi th l DESIGNER PROFILE and not worrying too much about practicalities. Then, when she hits on something she wants to develop further, she turns to quilting design software. The software allows her to redraft the layout and refine the details until she has a makeable project, and it also provides a good impression of how the quilt will look. “Usually the final design resembles what I was originally thinking,” Jenni smiles. Fabrics too form part of the quilt’s narrative. Jenni is mainly attracted to prints with an original creative source behind them. “As I myself like to draw and paint, it appeals to me to know that a fabric has been produced from artwork created by the hand of an individual – I love the artistry and provenance of that. I’m keen on fabrics by designers such as Kaffe Fassett, Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross – and I absolutely adore Liberty prints,” she enthuses. ago, when the youngest of her three children started school, Jenni took the plunge and opened the Jenni Smith Studio, based in a mill on the edge of Ilkley Moor. Her Studio Manager, Kay Walsh, is one of the students who attended her promises auction course. As well as studio classes in quilting, dress-making and textile art, they also offer online tutorials and even a virtual course! “My dream is to encourage everyone to make just one quilt in their lifetime,” Jenni states. “I don’t mind if they never make another, or maybe they’ll come back to it years later, but a quilt is such a lovely item to have made.” To help realise this vision, earlier this year, Jenni launched Just One Quilt. This online course guides students step by step through the essentials of making a quilt, which they can follow at a pace that suits them. “Just One Quilt is everything I wish I’d known when I made my first quilt – and several quilts after that – and it underpins everything I do,” Jenni remarks. Above left, Berry from Quilting with Liberty Fabrics. Liberty started producing their own pattern books in the 1880s and part of their practice has always been to archive these designs, both as a reference library and as a resource for its in-house design team. The Wiltshire berry print created in the 1930s was revived and recoloured in the late ‘60s, and has been reimagined for today’s new Lasenby quilting cottons “My dream is to encourage everyone to make just one quilt in their lifetime” VISUAL STORY-TELLING Above right, As well as encouraging others to take up the craft of quilt-making through classes, Jenni also produces quilt patterns. “For me, a quilt is all about the story it tells,” Jenni comments. “I studied history of art at university and am intrigued by analysing signs and symbols to ‘read’ an artwork or object, so I think that’s where my fascination with using fabric and thread as a means of communicating a story comes from.” Generally, Jenni begins by writing down ideas of what she wants the quilt to say, sometimes researching the subject to inform her thoughts. Once a plan starts to formulate, she makes handdrawn sketches, giving her imagination full rein Jenni with her Argyll Quilt in the Liberty Heritage Suite. This quilt alludes to Liberty’s iconic 1920s heritage-listed building on Great Marlborough Street in London. This quilt is a project in A PASSION FOR LIBERTY Jenni has been enthralled with Liberty Fabrics’ wonderful designs for as long as she can remember. “As a young child, I had a lazy left eye, which meant attending appointments at our local hospital in Burnley. My grandmother used to take me and afterwards we’d often call in at the shop attached to the nearby mill. I’d make a beeline for the Liberty cottons, which were so pretty and delightfully soft to touch. Occasionally, I was even Quilting with Liberty Fabrics 46 Join us at www.gathered.how/todaysquilter
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