Meet the Author: Wendy Sheppard

BLOG_Wendy-Sheppard Today on the blog, we are proud to introduce you to prolific quilt designer and first-time author, Wendy Sheppard. Wendy is a chemical-engineer-turned-quilter whose book Recreating Antique Quilts will be released in October. Wendy’s quilt designs have appeared in many quilting magazines and she blogs at ivoryspring.wordpress.com. She and her family live in Virginia.

UPDATE, 10/2/14: Wendy was on Pat Sloan’s radio show this week! If you missed it, click here to listen to Wendy talk about her book, quilting, and more with “The Voice of Quilting!”

BLOG_RecreatingAntiqueQuilts QB&B: Tell us about the theme of your new book Recreating Antique Quilts. What inspired you to want to embark on this project?

WS: The one big theme of my book Recreating Antique Quilts is to re-interpret antique quilts for the quilters of our time using contemporary fabrics and methods.  You will see quilts recreated with fun and updated fabrics, in reasonable sizes that won’t take 25 years to complete. You will also see in my book throw pillow and door banner projects that are inspired by the antique quilts.

“Continuing education” is an underlying theme that shows up in the book projects.  I love that quilting is an art that keeps quilters learning.  So I have presented the book projects to incorporate different techniques in different projects.

QB&B: What can you tell us about the process of researching the antique quilts and creating the new quilts?

WS: I think the main ingredient in the process is the love for antique quilts, and quilters of the past (many unknown).  Prior to designing the new quilts, I combed through pictures (many of them!) to decide which antique quilts to feature.  If the number of pages weren’t a concern, I would have loved to feature ALL of them!

In designing the new quilts, I generally start out with the approximate finished dimensions.  And from there, I play with the block and border placements.  Finally, I explore the fabric possibilities for the designs.  I naturally gravitate toward many colors.  I tend to not decorate a room around one main color, in a controlled manner.  So, you will see the book projects as extensions of my love for colors.

QB&B: You are an amazing quilter, do you do any other sewing?

WS: Oh, “amazing”?  Why, thank you (*blush*)!  I honestly don’t really think I am that amazing.  [Editor’s note: Wendy’s machine quilting is gorgeous. Really. You should hop over to her blog to check out pictures of her work.]  I just think I am blessed to have had the quilting related opportunities.  And because of that, my life goal as a quilter is to be an encouragement to other quilters.  99.1% of my sewing time is spent on making quilts.  The other sewing I have done is comprised of making simple (I mean simple!) projects like pillow cases, and finishing up stitched pieces into square/rectangular ornaments.  I have dabbled in garment construction, but garment construction and I do not get along.  I haven’t sewn a garment in the last 2 years – and find myself being very thankful that I have a dear friend who is kind enough to sew for my daughter… so that I don’t have to wrestle with instructions to construct little girls’ dresses.

QB&B: You are so busy creating quilt patterns for magazines and fabric companies, posting on your blog, other sewing projects, being a mom, and I could go on, why did you want to write this book now?

WS: Hmmm… why now… I think a huge reason is that at any given time, it is good to be reminded of the immensely rich quilting heritage that quilters enjoy. Being an aspiring closet historian, I have always wanted be able to highlight the historical aspect of quilting in my work. And to be able to have a book to hopefully bridge that gap between today’s quilters and quilters of the past through making the book projects… that is just too good to be true!  So, my short answer is, why not now?  My passion is for quilters today to be inspired by the legacy of the quilters of the past, and in turn be encouraged by the knowledge their work can inspire those in their circle of influence now, and those in the future generations.

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