Meet the Maker: Modern Quilter Lorna Slessor
Lorna Slessor is a quilt designer and Production Editor at Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine, who’s striking designs and bold colour palettes bring quilting into modernity. We’ve asked Lorna a bit about herself and her journey as a quilter in anticipation for some exciting projects she’ll be contributing to the Hobbycraft blog!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what your work involves:
I’d describe myself as a modern quilter, combining bold patterns and contemporary fabrics. I love working with white space, bright colours and striking shapes (and I have a weakness for patchwork curves!).
How did you first become interested in quilting?
Unlike many quilters who sew their first quilt after having their first child, my quilting journey started pretty young. My mum (a quilter herself) taught me to sew as a child, and I’d always loved raiding her fabric stash to make things on her sewing machine. I started a job at a specialist patchwork and quilting shop when I was 16 (I just liked the pretty fabrics at the time), and from that point I couldn’t really escape it! I definitely I have my mum and Isabelle Saulet, the owner of Creative Quilting, to thank for my current quilty habits!
Where do you find inspiration?
I work as Production Editor at Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine, so rarely a day goes by when I’m not surrounded by amazing quilts, talented designers and beautiful patterns. There’s a massive community of modern quilters out there, and you only need to go on Instagram to be inspired by someone’s latest project. It’s pretty much impossible to not want to get your rotary cutter and sewing machine out when you’re constantly exposed to the talent out there!
I’m also guilty of spending a little too much time on Pinterest; I’m always scanning it for patterns, colour palettes and inspiring imagery (when I’m not scanning it for food). When it comes to inspiration for my own quilt ideas, graphic design and architecture are big on my pin-list. I love striking quilts that play with lines and composition, mixing angular shapes with modern curves and block colours. My recent obsession is turning Bauhaus art into quilt blocks, and working out how the designs can translate into fabric. I have a gridded sketch book full of ideas… one day they’ll become real, just give me time!
How do you select your fabrics and quilt patterns? Does one inform the other?
Generally I’d lead with one over the other, but I currently can’t get enough of quilts made from solid fabrics. I like it when the piecing is the focus, so at the moment I’m keeping it simple with solid colours and clean white. Although (like many quilters) I do have a stash of novelty patterned fabrics that I love, but know I’ll never cut into. Only the other day I went to a quilt shop to buy plain white backing fabric and left with a fabric covered in astronauts… guilty!
The one style of print fabric that I can never resist is when designs are screen-printed (or have a screen-printed effect). If I find a fabric collection that I love, then a simple quilt pattern that will really show off the prints is a must. Luckily for me I always have a pool of magazines I can dip into for ideas.
What other crafts do you partake in?
I’ve always dabbled in all sorts of crafts – bits of dressmaking when I was younger, cardmaking and scrapbooking when I worked at docrafts, at university I even taught myself to crochet… that didn’t last long! Throughout all my hobbies, quilting has always been the thing I’ve come back to.
In keeping with my love of screen-printed fabric, I really enjoy screen printing myself, and recently made a pair of cushions with screen-printed illustrations of myself and my boyfriend (back before I chopped all my hair off). He’s totally embarrassed by them but they make me smile!
Tell us about a piece of work that you are particularly proud of:
It’s always exciting when something from your head successfully translates into a real life quilt block, but the piece I’m the most proud of isn’t actually one of my own designs. It’s a quilt of firsts for me: using the first quilt pattern I ever proofed for Love Patchwork & Quilting (Let The Light In by Kristin Esser from issue 55), it’s made of gorgeous fabrics from the Arroyo collection by Erin Dollar, who I had the pleasure of interviewing as my first Designer Profile for LP&Q, and it’s the first quilt I made for our first flat in Bristol. Plus, it gets used almost every day, which always makes my heart happy!
What are 3 tips that you would share with a budding Quilter?
- Measure twice and cut once. It’s the classic crafter’s saying, but it couldn’t be more true! Quilting isn’t a cheap hobby, and if you’ve just spent your hard-earned money on the exact fabric you need for a quilt, you want to make sure you’re cutting it right!
- Don’t skimp on the equipment. Like I said, it’s not a cheap hobby, but once you’ve got the basics you’re set for years. You’re going to want a reliable cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler, and a machine that you’re comfortable sitting at for hours (because you will, trust me).
- Explore, experiment and find your style. I’m used to the raised eyebrows and confused looks I get when I tell people I’m a quilter, but I think they ‘get it’ a little more when they actually see what I’m talking about. Quilting isn’t just traditional floral prints and twee designs, reserved for pensioners and the Amish… there’s a massive pool of modern quilters and contemporary patterns out there, and there’s really no limit to what you can make. Once you discover that there’s no stopping you!
What’s next for you in 2018?
There are so many things I want to learn this year! Firstly: Foundation Paper Piecing. For any strangers to FPP, it’s a clever quilting technique that uses paper for super-accurate piecing, and there are so many amazing designs I’m desperate to try. I’m completely intimidated by it, but one of these days I’ve got to give it a go.
I’m still very much in the early stages of my quilting adventure, and transforming my ideas into workable instructions for others to follow is still relatively new to me. With a few secret sewing projects coming up, I’m looking forward to putting a few more designs out there and really developing my style as a quilter and (using the term optimistically) quilt designer… watch this space!
Issue 60 of Love Patchwork & Quilting is out now! Keep up to date by following them on Instagram @lovequiltingmag