Good morning, my friends!
I hope you here in the Southeast are all safe now that Irma has exhausted herself. My friends in Houston-- God bless your resilience! Hang in there and keep rebuilding! In the West-- please be safe from all those fires!! In a world of natural disaster, let's do what we do best: focus on our loves of creativity and quilting.
This morning, I'm pleased as punch to introduce the one and only Natalia Bonner. I mean, have y'all seen her quilting?? On Craftsy's All You Can Watch Day, I watched Natalia's class, and loved it. She was sweet enough to reply when I talked about the class on my Instagram stories, and even sweeter to say yes when I asked if I could interview her!
1) Tell us a little about yourself, your family, your creative background, etc. I'm a mom of two, a girl and a boy, and I have a cute husband that does all of the laundry. I've been sewing for as long as I can remember, it's something that just kinda came natural to me. My mom sewed, my grandparents sewed (yes, my grandpas did too), and I'm sure my dad has probably touched a sewing machine before. When I was pregnant with my daughter, just over 10 years ago, I, along with my crazy pregnant brain, decided to quit my full time job and become a stay-at-home mom. But, I knew that I'd need a hobby to keep me busy. So, one crazy Thursday night I got the idea that I'd buy a long-arm machine, then I'd have something to do at home. That Saturday, I went to my Gammill dealer, and I was scared to death, so scared that I didn't even touch the machine, but I bought one. Since that day I have been crazy about quilting. I really do love it! I am so grateful that I took that leap of faith and bought my first long-arm machine. I've had so many dreams, bigger than dreams I could have ever dreamed come true. I've written 3 books and co-written 2. My first fabric line, Thrive, will be in stores this fall and I couldn't be more excited about the future of quilting.
2) In your Craftsy class you teach how to break quilts down into shapes beyond the piecing, but you also talk about how quilt tops speak to you about how they should be quilting. When a quilt top isn't talking, how do you start the conversation and start the quilting? This is the hardest question in quilting. Really most quilts do speak to me, and when I say that I mean. When I look at a quilt the first thing I determine is if it's more modern or traditional, this can totally dictate the direction of my machine quilting. On a traditional quilt I generally stick with more traditional motifs, feathers, soft curves, a little bit softer quilting. For a more modern quilt I can play more with straight lines, heavy quilting, more modern feathers. Sometimes I load a quilt onto the machine and I still have no idea how I'm going to quilt it. I generally will start with the border and then from there I can generally draw some inspiration.
3) Where do you find inspiration for your quilt patterns, and what does your pattern writing process look like? Oh, great question, our piecing patterns are a collaboration effort. My mom, Kathleen and I design them together. Generally one of us will come up with an idea, maybe something that we've been inspired by in nature, then I sketch it on the computer. From there we bounce the ideas back and forth until we both love the quilt. As far as writing goes, I'm very visual, I'd be happy if patterns were only pictures with no words, so in all of my books and our patterns there are a lot of illustrations, yes there are words, but we make sure that they are all full-color with plenty of illustrations.
4) How is creative community important to your work? The creative community is the only reason I'm able to work from home, live wherever I want to live and some days, the thing that keeps me going. I feel like a positive group of people that "get you" is possibly one of the most important factors in my creative journey. :)
5) What encouragement do you have for other makers on their creative journeys? We all start somewhere. My quilting may look really amazing to you, but remember I started somewhere, we all have to start somewhere, if you never start you'll never know how good you could be! :)
Thank you, Natalia! What gorgeous work! Y'all can find Natalia (as well as these gorgeous pictures and more like them) on Instagram @nataliabonner. One of the things I'll be spending my weekend doing is practicing the ruler work I learned in Natalia's Craftsy class! I'll post pictures on my Insta @stringandstory-- I'd love to connect with you there!
I'll also be writing the String & Story weekly newsletter of tips and resources. Sign up to receive it and also receive a free PDF called "3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Free Motion Qulting."