All of my life I have surrounded myself in art, drawing, playing with color and getting my hands into any medium I could mold into my personal expression. I have never stopped my quest for learning new ways to express my creativity, but always return to fabric as my chosen medium, quilting in particular. It is only recently that I have felt that I have worked hard enough at one skill to be comfortable with presenting myself as an artist.
Now that I am truly focused on what I love, machine quilting on a domestic machine, the rewards are many. From the moment I wake in the morning, until I go to bed at night, I dream of quilts. I love working with beautiful fabrics, talking about how I construct my quilts, writing books, designing patterns or teaching others to find satisfaction in completing their own quilts. I have truly found fulfillment in my life, knowing that every day I am doing what I was put on this earth to do.
About Heirloom Quilting Designs
Founded in 2002 as a platform to provide original, artistic quilting designs through Machine Quilting Books, How-to DVD’s, complete Patterns for Machine Quilted Projects and Packets of Machine Quilting Designs created by Joanie Zeier Poole, and to promote Joanie as a professional domestic machine quilting teacher.
My quiltmaking career began in ancient times, when sandpaper was glued to cereal boxes from which templates were cut, and a scissors was used to cut each patch of fabric! My first quilt was a gift for my soon-to-be husband, made in secret during the summer after we met at UW Whitewater where I had my first formal training in studio art. Over the years, I attended classes in interior design, needle arts as well as quilting classes. I have learned all the traditional quilting methods and have experienced all of the new innovations the industry has produced. At first, I quilted only by hand, but as demands for my time increased, so did my desire to quilt more quickly.
1985-89 I put my drawing skills to use self-publishing patterns for miniature quilts and dolls. After four years, I decided to put that aside to concentrate on raising two sons and operating a home decorating business.
1998 My first venture back into the quilting industry was to create images used in the production of, Stick-N-Stitch by Pieces of the Past (chosen by Quilter’s Newsletters’ Tools Review-2001).
About that same time, the quilt world was undergoing a major change, from hand to machine quilting. I was intrigued by how a home sewing machine could be used to produce lines of stitching that created patterns just as my pencil did when drawing illustrations. I was held back, afraid, and relied on the big stitch to finish my quilts.
In the spring of 1999, I saw the heirloom machine quilted work of Diane Gaudynski for the first time. I could not take my eyes off the wonderful designs and tiny stippling! I met Diane and in February 2000, I attended her Heirloom Machine Quilting workshop and my life has not been the same since! I immersed myself in drawing new designs and kept the words of Eleanor Roosevelt in my thoughts as I worked…”The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams.”
I began dreaming of a new future for myself, one where quilting would take center stage. I returned to school, knowing that if I wanted to bring my designs to the market, I needed to learn computer technology. While a student, I began exhibiting my showpiece quilts where my original designs caught the attention of viewers as well as earning awards at major quilt shows. My quilts exhibit narrative images, initials, and dates to dedicate them to the special people in my life. Checkerboard and basket weave background textures are my personal signature.
In 2003, with our two sons off to college, and my new degree in Graphic Design, I began Heirloom Quilting Designs to promote myself as a professional educator and to distribute quilting designs that add an exciting new dimension to the art of quilting. I have written four books on design and refined free-motion quilting, and am developing nationally distributed products for the industry.
The Joy of Teaching
Even after 40 years, I still love everything about quilting and now I am privileged to share my expertise and innovative ideas providing hands-on machine quilting workshops. The classroom has become a very comfortable place for me; making students feel at ease puts them in the best frame of mind to learn.
My students have truly made my life richer; the rewards are gratifying and somewhat unexpected. When I began developing classes; creating a curriculum to ensure students success, I really had never considered the benefit for me beyond my daily fee. Now, after class, students thank me and tell me that what I taught them has changed their life. Wow! While I am truly amazed by those words, I relate to them because there was a time that my teacher, Diane, changed my life in the same way. I remember saying those same words to her.
Just one more thing, whenever I am asked what it was about the classes I took from Diane that impacted me to make changes to my life, I have to say that she ignited a flame that I now know has always been within me. From the information she taught, I was able to gain confidence and an insistence that I expect more of myself in striving to master whatever technique I used to create a quilt. And, the quilts just keep getting better and better. Thank you always to Diane, my friend and teacher.
From the first seeds of inspiration, right through to that very last stitch, each step of quiltmaking is important and can be so much fun! Enjoy the process and delight in your progress. Do your best and you will achieve a great sense of satisfaction in your work?