Wednesday 5 September 2012

Introducing Kathy Tidswell

Kathy Tidswell is a remarkable quilter.  Her workshops are so varied and unique, and that is reflected in her  breathtaking gallery of quilts.  Kathy is  down to earth and her students adore her classes, so much so that she was CQA/ACC's Teacher of the Year in 2005.  Interviewing her was just like sitting down  for a cup of coffee with a good friend.

Please tell us a little about yourself outside of your quilting career.
My two children are grown and out of the house.  My daughter lives in Norwich England and my son in Stratford Ontario, so visiting isn't as  frequent as I might like. My husband has his own business repairing scientific equipment and travels quite a bit. I enjoy going with him when I can spare the time. There is never a problem entertaining myself while he is working. There are always museums, art shows, quilt shops and even shopping. We also enjoy travelling when he isn't working.
My dad is 90 and still lives in his own home about 100 km away. I try to spend a day a week with him making meals etc. We have a large property and a house that was built in 1784 so there is always work to be done. I enjoy gardening and we have just started a new rose garden.

How do you come up with an idea of a quilt and getting that onto fabric?
The design idea for a quilt often takes  longer than the execution. I muse on ideas, consider and also try different techniques to accomplish what I want to do. I prefer finished edges and often create a lot of extra work for myself.
Ode to Vulpes vulpes
This wall quilt was juried into the 2006 Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery Grand National themed exhibition "Wildlife".

Many of your quilts have animals in them, why is that?
Animals are a source of inspiration for me. I was trained as a biologist and I gravitate towards all things in nature and the great outdoors.

Great Horned Owl
3D Thread Applique

You have mastered the art of both 3D Thread Applique and Thread Painting, can you define the difference between the two?
 I consider 3D Thread applique a subset of Thread Painting. The 3D thread appliques are made using just one technique. I have developed the technique on my own. You can never really "discover" something new because someone else will  have already developed it but I didn't find the technique in a book or anything. I just started making birds because I felt that the stitches really looked like feathers. In order to write notes for my first class, I had to keep going back to the sewing machine to see what I actually had done. I have considered writing a book and the idea is appealing, but the fact that it consumes your life for up to two years has held me back.

Thread Painted

What are some of your favourite aspects of quilting? 
I really enjoy teaching. It is very fulfilling to give students some tools and watch them fly. I have taught the last 5 summers at the edVentures vacation summer learning program in Fredericton and my "away" teaching seems to come in fits and starts. At QC 2012 I taught 4 full day courses and gave a professional development course so that was pretty hectic. My husband has just built, in our house,  a teaching studio that will accommodate 6 students. He has recently given me a "dig" that I have not yet used it. This coming fall is quite hectic, so I have not yet organized a series of classes, but I envision having a block of 4 or 6 classes where students could build upon the knowledge gained each week and have time to practice at home.

This wall quilt was juried into the CQA/ACC National Juried Show in St. John's, Nfld. 2008

Wearable Art  at the NJS is not one of the  popular categories to enter, can you give the readers some encouragement on this?
I find entering National Juried Shows to be stressful. I put a lot of pressure on myself when making a piece that I want to be worthy of a show. I think that that is just a personality trait. I want to enter the shows but I certainly don't find it relaxing. I enjoy creating "one of a kind" garments. Years ago I saw things from the Fairfield fashion show and decided they were suitable only for the fashion runway. I decided I wanted to make unique garments that could be worn in a normal setting, so that is why I have gravitated to Wearable Art in the NJS. It is certainly no more difficult than making a quilt.

How often do you get into your studio/quilting space?
 I try to get in my sewing room at least 3 times a week.  I produce thread paintings that are framed and sold at a gallery  and arts and crafts sales, so I spend more time working on these than on quilts.

Bank Machine Blues

What are some highlights in your quilting career? 
I was pretty excited when I got the phone call that I had been accepted to teach at my first Quilt Canada back in 2000 but the highlight of my quilting career has definitely been receiving the CQA/ACC Teacher of the Year Award in 2005.  I am  also quite excited about being invited to teach in Luxembourg this fall.

What is your favourite food to keep you quilting these masterpieces?
At a meal I love prime rib roast beef, and as a snack unsalted peanuts.

We look forward to hearing more about Kathy's 'in house' classes.  No doubt they will be popular!

1 comment:

  1. Great job on this blog, Jackie!
    I love these interviews.