Happy FriYAY, creative friends!
Welcome to September! It's been another week full of friends and adventures. I love watching Jem's imagination grow by the day, and Ian grow more and more confident on his feet.
Today, I'm thrilled to share an interview with the lovely Jennifer Sampou. Jennifer is known as a quilt and fabric designer, especially for her works that shimmer; she is one of the most encouraging people I've met on Instagram; and she is a beautiful writer. I know you'll enjoy learning more about her, and I hope you'll order a bit of her newest line, Shimmer On. She was so generous and sent me some, and it is even more elegant and bold in person than in photos!
1) Tell us a little about yourself-- your family, hobbies, creative background, etc. Being the youngest of 5, I pretty much had total freedom. I grew up next to big woods in a small farm town outside of Boston. My summers where spent running around shoeless, unkempt hair, catching polywogs, building tree forts, climbing trees as well as sewing clothes for my stuffed animals and making terrariums. ( I was not a doll girl at all! total tomboy.)
My mom wasn’t quite a hippy, she was too responsible for that kind of life style, yet she had those tendencies. Creative, maker, cook, baker, loved music, easy going. My dad had a traditional corporate job but at home he worked with leather and built stuff in the evenings and weekends. Both my parents are salt of the earth and they were never afraid of tackling new things. We grew up making new stuff out of old stuff. And it usually came out beautfiful with a little elbow grease, a keen eye and commitment. I owe all my stoking of creative fires to my parents who let me run wild and free. As long as I was home for dinner when the cow bell rung and took a bath once a week. All was good. Don’t ask if I ever brushed my teeth. I have vague memories of water picking but that was mostly used for shooting my big brother.
2) Metallic fabric is your "signature move," if you will. What first inspired you to try metallic designs and what about them really makes your heart sing? Nature. Combined with a curated approach to well designed simplicity, artfully presented. Yes, Shimmer lines are my latest signature look. My third line, Shimmer On is just shipping to stores now and I love it. Octagon Shimmer is my favorite quilt pattern- which is based on the spider web design of course. It’s the subtle pearlescent sheen that catches the light that makes my heart sing. It’s the shimmer of silver that evokes light bouncing off the water or rays through a dewey clump of grass on the early morning walks. It’s the idea of slowing down and listening/watching the earth in all her glory, ever changing with the light. Pensive moments in nature when things unfold in front of you. Things that are never noticed or enjoyed unless you quiet yourself and take the time.
3) I think your work always stands out in a crowd. How do you keep your ideas fresh and inspiration flowing? Thank you so much. How very kind of you. I am true to what I love. I think my ideas are fresh because they are reflecting what I see in the world. I am curious, excited and see so much beauty around me that it makes my heart full and my goal is to translate that to fabric and quilt design. I love to create spaces that surround me with the same intention. We must do our best to let our individual gifts shine. All of us have so many gifts buried within us. It’s our job to coax them out and share them with the world.
4) How is creative community important to your work? It’s everything. I cannot design in a vacuum. My sister is a singer/songwriter, my other sister is a faux painter/interior designer, my best friends are painters, quilters, jewelry makers, architects, musicians and travelers. I am surrounded by people living creatively and it gives me energy and inspiration to be brave and embrace an artful life. I used to feel uneasy about claiming that I am an artist or felt it was a frivolous path. Not anymore. I own it. And that in itself is liberating. Because I am being honest. I feel so grateful and thankful for all I have, everyday. Kindness and love is infectious. A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. (James Keller)
5) What advice do you have for other makers on their creative journeys? Surround yourself with people who support you. Surround yourself with people you respect and admire. Go with your gut. Meditate so those crazy little monkeys in your head take a nap once in a while. Love your family as deeply as you possibly can and forgive as much as you can. If you are in a situation that is difficult and sad, try to find some silver lining to keep your chin up. The only thing constant is change. There is always a light at the end of a tunnel. Read amazing books, listen to music that feeds your soul. Shut out the naysayers, the critics and judgers. Stay on your path. Live the life you want to live.
Isn't Jennifer beautiful and encouraging?? Her perspective on things makes me feel surrounded by beauty and strength. Thank you, Jennifer, for taking the time to share with us! All of these gorgeous photos are Jennifer's, and you can find more on her Instagram @jennifersampou. While you're on Instagram, I would love to connect with you, too! You can find me @stringandstory.
Tomorrow is Saturday! That means the String & Story Newsletter! I have so many ideas for this week that I actually started a list! Isn't that exciting?? Please join me tomorrow morning for coffee and newsletter reading! (Plus, you'll receive a lovely free PDF called "3 Easy Steps to Improve Your Free-Motion Quilting")
See you soon!
PS I'm Monday's stop for this fabulous hop-- come learn the good, bad, ugly, and fabulous of me learning continuous curve quilting, be impressed by Dorie's genius, and enter to win a free copy of the book! It's a #MachineQuiltingMonday that I'm extra excited to share!