jenni smi th l DESIGNER PROFILE treated to a few pieces, so they’re like old friends and evoke very fond memories,” she reminisces. Her passion for Liberty was reignited when she started using them to make clothes for her children when they were little. Smitten, Jenni began to collect her favourite prints and also to find out more about the designs. “I’m now a Liberty geek,” she says. “I can name most of their prints and the stories behind them – but there is always something new to learn. And, of course, the cottons are just so beautiful to work with.” A few years ago, at the Spring International Quilt Market in St Louis, USA, Jenni was introduced to the Liberty team that was developing a range of cottons specifically for quilting. Although Liberty has been designing and printing fabrics for well over a century, their Lasenby quilting cottons were an exciting new product. Subsequently, Jenni designed quilt patterns to showcase some of the new quilting prints, and thoughts for a book started to take hold. “Liberty Fabrics has an incredible heritage, so I thought it would be amazing to tell their story through quilts,” Jenni says. “2020 is the store’s 145th anniversary, so a project for each of the 15 decades would be a fantastic way to celebrate their journey.” Determined to turn this ambition into reality, Jenni set about finding a publisher. Lucky Spool Media loved her idea and Liberty was on board too. As well as the projects inspired by different periods throughout the brand’s history, also gives an insight into the company’s remarkable fabric archive, its Design Studio and their bespoke printing process – all of which combine to make their fabrics so special. “Writing the book was a steep learning curve,” Jenni admits. “But it was a wonderful experience – and it’s a joy to share my love of Liberty with others. I keep a notebook full of my dreams and ambitions and, in 2016, I wrote ‘ Work with Liberty’. Although it’s taken me four years, I’m so proud that I didn’t give up. I truly believe that if you are passionate about something and you’re willing to pursue it then good things can happen.” Arthur Above, from Quilting with Liberty Fabrics. The pattern of this quilt gives the impression of peacock feathers, which was a popular design during the Aesthetic Movement that was at its peak around the time when Liberty was founded by Sir Arthur Lasenby Liberty in 1875 MEET THE DESIGNER Jenni Smith has been sewing for the last 25 years and her goal is to share her knowledge and enthusiasm, and to inspire a new generation of makers. She teaches in her Ilkley studio as well as online via her educational platform Her debut book will be published by Lucky Spool Media this autumn (see panel on page 45). Above right, Jenni with her Argyll Quilt outside Liberty’s London store. The log cabin design is a nod to the mockTudor façade, with the hearts symbolising that the store is the spiritual home of Liberty fans worldwide. This quilt is a project in www.justonequilt.com. Quilting with Liberty Fabrics Quilting with Liberty Fabrics Quilting www.jenni-smith.co.uk with Liberty Fabrics Jenni Smith Sews @ jennismithsews 47 Join us at www.gathered.how/todaysquilter
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