Good morning, and happy FriYAY!!!
We took a little break for Market season, but I'm so glad to be back with you! Today, I had the delight of interviewing one of my very favorite longarmers, Sherilyn Mortensen. Her work is precise, dynamic, and stunningly gorgeous, plus she's kind and encouraging. Her work TOTALLY makes me want to be a Gammill Artist! Just WOW. Also, Sherilyn LOVES emojis (yes, please!), but, unfortunately, they didn't copy over to this post very well. So just imagine all the cute smiles and hearts and things! Without further ado, I know y'all will enjoy getting to know Sherilyn!
1) Tell us a little about yourself-- your family, hobbies, creative background, etc. Hello everyone!! I’m so thrilled HollyAnne invited me to participate with her. She is a wonderful gatherer of creatives! So inspiring!
My name is Sherilyn Mortensen. I was born in Salt Lake City, UT. I grew up in Utah and Mesa AZ. I’m #3 of 6 children. 2 older sisters, 2 younger brothers and a younger sister. I met my husband at Brigham Young University while I was getting my bachelors degree in Elem. Ed. We have 3 children, 2 boys and a girl. We raised our children on a cattle ranch in central Florida. Yes! There are cows, A LOT of cows, in Florida! It was like stepping back in time and raising our kids in the glorious 50’s. A true blessing for our family! Our oldest son is married and attending dental school in South Jordan Utah. They have an adorable 15 month old little girl. Our first grandchild and she is a genius, just ask her Grammalyn!
Our second son is attending graduate school in Mechanical Engineering at BYU. Single, smart and very handsome!! A great catch! Just ask his mom! And our daughter teaches 7th grade English (this deserves an award, by itself!) in San Jose while her husband is working for Walmart headquarters.
I also have a dog named Maggie and I love her to pieces!!! You dog/cat/pet lovers get it!
I’ve always enjoyed creating anything with my hands! My grandmother and mother taught me how to crochet and tat (a lost art) and I’ve been creating ever since. While all my friends were in chorus classes in junior high and high school, I took every art class available, just hanging out with the most interesting but likable characters junior high and high school art classes had to offer! Haha!
In the 90’s, I mastered the art of tole painting and even sold several art pieces to Deseret book store. In the early 2000’s I discovered the world of quilting and have enjoyed this art form ever since. I’ve enjoyed working with two of my sisters in their business Sew Kind of Wonderful. The 3 of us are Gammill quilt artists and hopefully inspiring other quilters in this creative community.
I also love to read, learn about different cultures, FaceTime my brilliant granddaughter, exercise, and serve in my church callings.
2) What does your daily quilting routine / practice look like? My average day goes something like this... I get up between 6 and 7, exercise for an hour, get ready for the day and begin working on whatever quilting project I’m in the middle of. I usually skip breakfast then I try to resist the urge to snack on my favorite junk food throughout the day then finally eat something semi nutritious around 3. I know, it doesn’t make sense! Haha!
I “clean up” (which usually just means, I turn off my sewing machine) what I’m working on at about 4ish, “swish” through my house (if I cleaned like I quilt, my house would be so dang spotless! ) figure out dinner, hangout with my hubby, hit the hay! Throw in a few 100 extra things in between all that and that is basically my daily/quilting routine. Some nights, if sleep is escaping me, you might find me in my studio, quilting on my long-arm or doodling quilt designs on my I-Pad Pro. It’s surprisingly relaxing for me.
3) How do you keep your machine quilting so fresh, vibrant, and dynamic? Great question! I’m a doodler first, then I quilt it out! It works like magic for me.
I also take full advantage of my Stitch regulator. I know there is differing opinions about stitch regulators but I’m a believer! I didn’t have one for 3 years, which I’m very grateful for. I learned to quilt without one, (a Gammill Classic) which actually helped me become even a better quilter. Now with a Stitch regulator, a whole new world has opened up to me. I’m able to do more intricate/micro/decorative quilting I wasn't able to do quite as well before.
And, probably the most important thing when it comes to dynamic quilting...I really try to relax. If my pebbles, swirls and feathers are out of whack, I realize I’m all tense. I then relax and breathe and all of a sudden I’m back in my quilting groove. If I can relax enough, Its almost (almost is the key word) like getting into a zen like/meditative state, if that even makes sense. It does to me anyway.
4) How is creative community important to your work? This on-line creative community has been such a huge blessing to not just me but to so many creative people in the world. I LOVE IT! I love that it is so easy now to inspire and encourage each other. There are so many encouraging, kind, and positive people in this community. I feel like my circle of friends has expanded into the thousands! So much love, inspiration, positive energy, and encouragement in this community!
5) What advice do you have for other creatives on their journeys? If there’s one thing I’ve learned the most on my own creative journey...it’s that there is abundance in this community! There is room for everyone! I tell myself all the time...”If you create it, they will come”. You know from Field of Dreams...just worded a little differently! My advice would have to be....come from a place of abundance, not scarcity...there is plenty of room for all! There are so many more things to create than there are people to create them...so we’re good!
Thank you, Sherilyn! What wonderful insights and encouragement! I especially love your abundance mindset, and I wholeheartedly agree! There is plenty of room in this wonderful quilting world for all of us, and being welcoming to one another is such a gift and joy! Thank you, too, for these gorgeous photos of your work. Just WOW.
Y'all can find Sherilyn on Instagram @sea_sherilyn_sew and you should TOTALLY follow her so you can see her amazing work every day! I would love to connect with you on Instagram as well. You can find me @stringandstory!
Are you feeling inspired to practice your quilting, too? I would LOVE to send you "3 Easy Tips to Improve Your Free Motion Quilting." These foundational steps make sure that you're quilting begins on the right foot to be the best it can be and to grow into something even more beautiful. I'll send this PDF straight to your inbox, so you can check it out right away!
Happy FriYAY, my friends! I hope you have lots of quilting time this weekend!