Good morning, Creative Rockstars!
I am so excited to introduce you today to Michelle Collins of Meesh Quilts! Michelle and I have one of those "small town" kind of histories together. We go to the same church, but it's a large church, so it ends up being a bit like being in a small town-- we know a lot of the same people and have heard OF each other, her husband and I were in the same grade at the school, we've crossed paths, etc. But recently, we reconnected on Instagram because in the 12 years since we were in the same school, we have both gotten married, had babies, and become quilters! Is that fun or what?! I love Michelle's sweet spirit and refreshing taste, and I'm thrilled for all of us to get to know her better!
1. Tell us a little about yourself— your family, hobbies, creative background, etc. My family consists of me, my husband Daniel, our 6 month old daughter Sawyer Grace, and our German Shepherd named Malachi. Daniel and I have been married for three years and we are absolutely loving this parenting thing so far! My husband is the foundation for all of my quilting motivation and from the very beginning he has encouraged me and pushed me to pursue it and is always willing to help me make color and fabric choices. When I'm not quilting, I love being outside, talking walks, being with the people I love and eating good food (sushi and chocolate sprinkle donuts to be exact). As far as a creative background, well, thats pretty interesting because I don't have much of one. Growing up I was classified as the "jock" as I played just about every sport. I took a couple art classes in high school, and loved them but went on to focus on science and graduated from Georgia College in 2014 with a bachelors in Psychology. I have always loved putting different colors, patterns, and textures together to make a bigger, more beautiful picture (which is why I love what quilting symbolizes).
2. When and how did you start quilting? What is you favorite part of the quilting process? Growing up, my mom was always quilting and sewing. She even talked about opening her own quilting shop when she retired some day. In college, during a Christmas break, I found myself wanting to learn a new skill, and through various youtube videos, I taught myself the basics. My mom, later helped me and taught me all the things she has learned over the years as well. And boy, did I fall in love. I was not able to spend lots of time quilting (because I was in school and then working full time) but once we had our sweet girl and made the decision for me to stay at home, I knew that I would love to start again, not knowing just how passionate I was for it. If you have ever talked to me in person about quilting, most likely you know what I am talking about when I say that I totally geek out about making quilts. My favorite part of the whole process is the designing and picking out fabrics. Whenever I can go to the fabric store, I'm the happiest girl in the world.
3. Tell us about MeeshQuilts! What are you working on now and what are you hoping to do? Meesh Quilts is still a newborn and has only been a reality for less than a year. Currently, I'm working on creating lots of fun pieces that show my style and taste for inventory in my Etsy shop as well as preparing for some art festivals later this year. My dream is to create modern and classic designs that become timeless keepsakes in homes. I started out making lots of T-shirt quilts for friends and family which has been so much fun to see all their favorite shirts turn into a practical and sweet blanket full of memories. I also have been working on numerous baby quilts and blankets and hope to make some more throw quilts this year.
4. How is creative community important to your work? Creative community has been surprisingly pivotal in keeping this dream of mine alive. I did not realize the impact it would have early on, but the encouragement, and the inspiration I have received from other Etsy shop owners, quilters and creatives has kept me from quitting early on. It is so important to me to see others pursuing their creative goals and encouraging others along the way.
5. What advice do you have for other makers on their creative journeys? To give advice? I hardly feel worthy to give anyone advice, since I am still such a newbie. But there have been a couple important things that have helped me not give up. First, is to really do what you love. I thankfully had the opportunity to do that, and I know I lot of people do not get that same opportunity. When I am designing and creating a quilt I do it based on what gets me excited and not on what I think will sell. That way, I stay motivated to finish because it becomes a labor of love. If the end product just happens to be something that other people like too, then that's an added bonus. The second thing is to protect your passion. I know myself well and I know that if I drive myself crazy quilting, I will get burnt out and will lose the love that motivates me. I work hard Monday- Saturday, but I don't let it keep me from other things I love, like taking walks, cuddling with my baby girl, or enjoying a good meal with good friends. And on Sundays, I don't touch anything quilt related. As a Christ follower, resting on the Sabbath is one of the most crucial keys for me as a small business dreamer. This way I am refocused, and can create unique and beautiful pieces that are never rushed.
I would like to stay connected with you, too! You can find me on Instagram @stringandstory, and you can join my Facebook community, Quilting Rockstars, for daily fun and encouragement. Speaking of quilting rockstars-- are you ready to quilt with CONFIDENCE? If you are totally new to free motion quilting or if you aren't sure how to grow and develop your skills, I'd love to share my Top Three Tips for Successful Free Motion Quilting! Click here, and I’ll pop it straight over to your inbox!
Happy making, my friends! Have a wonderful weekend!