Fiber artist Melinda Bula teaches you how she plans her “Renegade Thread Play” quilting in the November/December 2017 issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited. We sat down with Melinda to ask a few more questions about her work.
When did you first learn to sew? When did you make your first quilt?
When I was about 9 my mom taught me to sew. I wanted to make clothes. I made most of my clothes in high school.
I had a job at a fabric store while I was in collage majoring in art. I loved to watch the instructors teach their quilting classes. That inspired me to make my first quilt when I was about 18 or 19. The store owner was so sweet, she let me dig in the trash and take found items back to my art classes where I would make my conceptual art pieces with. I was sewing paper together that I dyed like a quilt. This was about 1975. But when I got home from school I was making a quit all by hand. I have been incorporating sewing and art since I was 19. Who knew?
What is a technique that you have never tried that you would like to?
I have tried almost every technique. I love everything about the quilting world. There is so much creativity out there and so much to learn.
If I had the time, I’d like to make a Modern Quilt. I’d also like to Longarm quilt it. I sew on domestic sewing machine… my BERNINA is my girl!
What advice would you give to a beginner in machine quilting?
Don’t give up! The more you sew the better you get. I think we quilt teachers forget to tell our students that we all have ugly quilts in our closet. We too had to make crappie to get good! So don’t give up. Just give the ugly stuff away.
What kinds of fabrics are your favorite to work with?
I love it all. I admit I have a problem. But I know I’m in with a good crowd of other fabric addicts.
For my art quilts, it’s all about the color. So I look for just the right color when shopping and I sometimes have to go to more than one store. I like batiks and hand dyes, and I now have been dying my own fabrics. This way I can get just the right color. And it’s fun… but messy.
What kind of projects are you working on next?
I took a photo 4 years ago in Hawaii of these yellow flowers. I can’t get it out of my mind. That will be my next project. We just moved to a new house that has a great studio space and as soon as I get all the boxes unpacked that is the quilt I’m starting. I already have it named “Hilo”. But first I must find the box that I put my scissors in!
Thanks, Melinda! For her article on “Renegade Thread Play” and to see more of Melinda’s beautiful quilts, check out the November/December 2017 issue now!