Please tell us a little about yourself outside of your quilting career.
My quilting career is pretty much integrated with my personal life. My husband and partner Larry Goldstein and I have worked together for over thirty years now. We recently moved into an 1897 building that houses our gallery, The Art Quilt gallery of the
Laurie Swim Interior of Gallery
In the BeginningYou are one of
Like Pamela Allen, I have a Fine Arts background. My ambition was to become a painter. Since childhood, I have dabbled with needlework and clothing construction. These two came together when I took up weaving at NSCAD and after graduating, apprenticed in
I always intended to make my living from my art and that turned out to be a great incentive for concentrating my focus on making a successful career. From 1995 to 2003, I originated community art projects, mostly memorials with volunteers for historical record and social activism. Best known is Breaking Ground,The Hogg’s Hollow Disaster 1960 (7’x 20’) now housed in a ceiling to floor glass case in the Toronto York Mills Subway Station.
Laurie with her work for interview for Globe and Mail 2010
In the Gut
Tell us a little about your work as a quilt author?
Meeting Larry, whose experience was as a book publisher, changed my life professionally and personally. It was our collaboration of my writing, and Larry producing The Joy of Quilting for Viking
My recent book Rags to Riches, The Quilt as Art was also a joint effort in 2007. It is both autobiographical and a discussion of my work over a period of 15 years. The launch of this book and exhibit of my recent work took place in
Is there a common technique you use in your quilts?
I use many techniques in my pieces, many of them innovative to get the job done, needle felting, sky painting, machine embroidery and on it goes. Each piece presents new challenges from concept to completion. It keeps the work fresh as well.
More Precious than Gold
My approach is to start with an image that I feel a connection to. This is hard to describe but I believe it is an emotional response rather than a rational one. Sometimes, an idea lies dormant until the right moment, other times, it is instantaneous and I feel motivated to act fast and seize the moment. Either way, it has to be important to me because the work is labour intensive.
My process involves either photography or sketches or both. After deciding the subject andthe composition, I blow it up as a drawing for scale and take my patterns and templates from it. I then move into fabric construction. According to how large the work is, I might break it up into sections or components, sewing them separately and then reassembling them as a whole.
What are some of your favourite aspects of quilting?I like to teach and travel, but I like best teaching close by where I can access my studio and supplies.
I rarely enter shows since it ties up the work for long periods of time and I prefer the pieces to be on display in our gallery. My favourite aspect of quilting is when I am focused and immersed in a work. Having moments of being on ‘top of my game’ is exhilarating and heady stuff. I am happiest then.
How often do you get into your studio?
Every day I try to spend time in my studio, even briefly. Sometimes, it is just to catch up on emails and organize my work area. I usually have several projects on the go. Leaving some to gestate often proves worthwhile.
Many of your quilts have the theme of the ocean/water in them... can you elaborate on that?
The history of
The Boat Builders
I don’t normally bring food into my studio with the apartment so close by but I often bring a drink, most likely coffee which is what I am drinking now.
Thank you Ms. Swim for giving us a glimpse into your life! For upcoming workshops in 2013 hosted by Laurie Swim, please check out her website.