Happy FriYAYYYYY! Since I've taken over the @52Quilters account this week, I thought it would be fun to interview Chris Webb! Chris is the guy who started this project and who faithfully oversees and organizes it week after week. Hooray for Chris!
1) Tell us a little about yourself-- your family, your hobbies, your creative background, etc. I'm a Canadian maker/educator who lives in London, England. I moved here 12 years ago to do a short term internship at a museum and six months turned into over a decade! I grew up in a very handy/crafty household in Toronto where there was a lot of creativity, and I've carried quilting into my adult life after learning it from a great aunt who was an epic quilter. My regular 9 to 5 job is quite creative - I work in arts education and am a learning curator for a major arts centre in London, creating learning activity connected to our visual arts programmes, but in my spare time I make quilts and teach creative workshops.
2) How did 52 Quilters get started and how has the project developed so far? 52Quilters started as a simple idea - I noticed there was a huge surge in activity on social media from quilters, especially on instagram and I was really excited to find new quilters and link with them on this very visual platform. At the same time, not everyone is able to be a full-time quilter/blogger/instagrammer - so I thought it would be interesting to create a platform which built a big following but offered people of all levels and experiences a large community to connect with. Over nearly three years, that audience has grown to close to 10k followers, which is totally beyond my expectations!
3) What do you hope for 52 Quilters in the future? I hope it continues to offer a platform for different quilters to share their work. I've had takeovers from quilters all around the world as well as shop owners, fabric designers, curators and more. As long as it continues to offer a creative platform to people, then I'll keep organising it.
4) How is creative community important to your work? Quilting can be quite solitary - I often design when I'm alone, and sew in the morning before work, after work or on weekends. Having a creative community to collaborate face-to-face is important, but it's also nice to connect with people in meaningful ways on social media. I made a quilt-in-a-day a few years ago, and used instagram to get people's feedback on my decision making as I went. In all honesty it was a bit of a crunch, because I was making a gift that needed to be done for the next day, but connecting on social media gave me some creative feedback that I couldn't have had otherwise if it were just me sewing at top speed alone, trying to get it done.
5) What words of encouragement or wisdom do you have for other creatives along their journeys? The number one thing I've realised over the last few years is to figure out who you are, what you make and what you do best and then lean into that as MUCH AS POSSIBLE. It's really easy to feel overwhelmed by 'picture perfect' quilters on instagram and people who actually earn a living from their blogs and social media feed - that's a fantastic way to earn a living, but it can seem out of reach for a newbie. Social media can be really empowering if you have the resolve to hold yourself to the standards of your own skill and craft. Focus on the quality of the connections you make, not the number of likes, and make the things that make you happy. If you love what you are doing, and give yourself new challenges then you'll always be satisfied and people always respond best to authenticity.
Thank you, Chris! And thank you for the time and energy you put into @52Quilters! It's such a fun way to meet a new quilter each week!
In addition, I'd like to offer you a free copy "3 Easy Tips to Improve Your Free Motion Quilting." You have the ability to be a confident and skilled free motion quilter, and if you're not there yet, this is the perfect place to start!
PS Don't forget to enter Monday's #PieceAndQuiltHopAlong giveaway! Entries are open till 11:59PM EST on Sunday, October 15, 2017.