Sunday, August 30, 2009

Interview with Pam (For Quilts Sake)

I listened to an interview, recently, with a chef who assigned her children a night each week to cook. Rather than encourage the children to pick different recipes, she suggested doing the same recipe for a period of time. She wanted them to experiment with seasonings, toppings, cooking techniques and really understand the nuances of the dish before moving on to the next. Instead of limiting the children, this approach invited experimentation with each specific dish and resulted in broadening the children's understanding and mastery of the foods they prepared.

This approach to exploring a medium is not new or limited to cooking and may be applied to artistic endeavors as well. Sometimes placing barriers (artificial or real) on a project increases creativity and brings about surprising and wonderful results.

Pam is the talented quilter and fiber artist behind For Quilts Sake. She offered to talk with me about limitations and the creative process.

It is with great pleasure I bring you this interview.

"I never liked sewing," Pam tells me, "but I loved fabric so I took a class on how to piece and quilt by hand. My education and work experience has been as a graphic designer and also as an instructor of both graphic design and desktop publishing. I enjoy doing other artwork--watercolor painting, photography, mixed media and press flowers--but it's the quilts that I'm compelled to work on."

"I loved the final result of quilting by hand," Pam continues, "but it took too much time. I taught myself how to use the sewing machine and I'm pretty much self-taught from books and just trying things. Sometimes I get an idea like a flash and other times the fabrics tell me what they want to be. After making many quilts for myself and for friends and family, I decided to create some of my own designs, both in a traditional quilting style and also as art quilts."

Pam opened For Quilts Sake (Etsy) in November 2007, and offers handmade, unique and customer art quilts and quilt-related items, including watercolor paintings, fabric mosaics, quilted postcards and quilted necklaces. "What interests me about traditional quilting is how a quilt square can look completely different if the shapes that make up the square are in different colors or tones of the fabric. I am also interested in the secondary patterns that emerge when quilt blocks are arranged together."

When Pam gets stuck on a design or life throws her some challenges, she turns to Nature, other artists, doodles and limitations to help her work through the problem. "I believe that limitations can be powerful when trying to break through creative blocks. By limiting myself to certain colors, textures or styles I'm forced into looking at different ways to look at these constraints and (hopefully) push through them and create something new."

Pam combines her love of quilting and her concern for the environment by coordinating a fundraiser every year for a small, privately owned nature preserve called Glen Helen. Glen Helen's mission is to provide science-based, experiential learning in the outdoors while fostering respect for the natural environment and empowering people to act in its interest. Among its offerings is an Outdoor Educational Center, Trailside Museum, Raptor Center, and Nature Shop.

"Glen Helen has school groups come in to learn about the environment," Pam explains. "Some of these are city kids who don't have much opportunity to experience nature. Because it isn't covered under the state park's budget, Glen Helen has to be creative about how they get their funding. We've organized fund-raisers, done maintenance on the buildings, as well as giving monetary contributions."

The Nature Arts and Crafts Show Pam coordinates to benefit Glen Helen is going to be held Saturday, November 21 from 9am to 5pm and Sunday, November 22 from 11am to 5pm.

"This year's show is full," Pam says, "but artisans interested in setting up a booth for next year may contact me through my shop or website to get on the mailing list for the 2010 show."

If you are interested in the show but cannot attend this year's event, you may also make donations to Glen Helen at this link:

As for what shoes Pam wears? "Bowling shoes...funky and different, yet familiar and playful. Cool in a retro sort of way but not cool in a what's hip right now sort of way."

You may find out more about Pam and her work through her website, Etsy shop or blog.

Pam is a member of the Quiltsy Team.

For more information about the Glen Helen Nature Preserve:

Glen Helen
Nature Arts and Crafts Show


Berry Blue Creations Handmade Items said...

Fabulous interview. I've read several of them now. I love the questions and the answers.

Mystic Silks said...

Pam, is an awesome talent. I love her artwork in quilts.

Plus, I love the name of her shop.

When I see her shop name, I always say, " Oh, ForQuilts Sakes!"

Great interview!

ArtSnark said...

wonderful interview! Great shoes too :D