Thursday, October 1, 2009

Embroidery leads Dorothy Thompson to crazy quilts

Dorothy Thompson's crazy quilt, Bucolic Scene, drew me right to it. I wanted to sit right down in her little embroidered garden. It was so inviting and intricately worked and colorful with a hint of crazy. It took a while to track Dorothy down. She tends to spend her evenings working on crazy quilts and rarely ventures near a computer! But with the help of the Alliance for American Quilts and Dorothy's computer savvy friend, Carol Pope, we finally connected. She graciously shares not only photos of her romantic, beautifully crafted creations, but also a bit of herself. Please give Dorothy Thompson a warm Subversive Stitchers welcome. Maybe a raised needle salute! -- Dawn (First photo, Down the Garden Path, details)

Dorothy Thompson: Crazy quilting is my passion.

The threads, the beads, the techniques, all speak to me. Most evenings I sit and lose myself in the worlds I create. I hope that the energy and love that go into my work are transmitted to the viewer.

"Doing and making are acts of hope, and as that hope grows, we stop feeling overwhelmed by the troubles of the world." --Corita Kent

I am inspired by the area in which I live--the Olympic Peninsula of Washington--70 miles west of Seattle--the upper left-hand corner of the map. This area, although further north than Maine, has a gentle climate similar in many ways to southern England. It is a lovely region full of trees and flowers and gentle rain. I have a cottage garden and our property is also a designated wildlife refuge.

How did I get so involved in crazy quilting? My grandmother taught me to embroider at an early age. I have tried many crafts, but I always come back to embroidery. I really got started crazy quilting in 1997.

I saw an ad for the crazy quilt club by Carolyn Cibik of Evening Star Designs and joined. Once a month a magical package arrived with fabrics and threads and beads and ideas and wonderful quotations about women.

I traveled to Portland and took a course from Judith Baker Montano and then went to a crazy quilt conference in Omaha. There I saw magnificent quilts by Christine Dabbs and my horizons truly expanded. I had never imagined the level of needlework she attained! I also discovered Inspirations magazine--especially the work of Carolyn Pearce--and learned even more techniques. I've never stopped.

One of the things I like best about crazy quilting is that there is always room for something new I want to try or a new idea that seizes me.

My husband of 42 years, Earle, has a strong background in art and is my most loyal fan and best critic. I am also fortunate to belong to a small, informal group of women--Slippers and Sweats--who get together and stitch once a week. They have believed in me when I couldn't believe in myself. It was because of all this support that I had nerve enough to enter my crazy quilt, Down the Garden Path, into big shows. (Photo 1, details of Down the Garden Path)

It was juried into the Association of Pacific Northwest Quilters show in Seattle in 2006 and then into the American Quilters Society show in Paducah,, Kentucky in 2007. What a thrill!

I entered the Crazy for Quilts contest put on by the Alliance for American Quilts and was fortunate that my quilt, Bucolic Scene, won an Honorable Mention. (Dorothy's Bucolic Scene is shown in the right column of Subversive Stitchers.) Those quilts will be at the International Quilt Association in Houston this fall. Another thrill to have a quilt there!

The Alliance for American Quilts does great work in documenting, preserving, and sharing the story of American quilting. My quilt, along with the others in the contest, will be auctioned off on eBay to benefit their organization.

I teach at Quilted Strait here in Port Angeles. I have included some samples (see photos) --the crazy quilted bear, a crazy-quilted top to a sewing box, and a heron embroidery from a pyramid with a series of scenes with herons.


Anonymous said...

Dawn and Dorothy,
Thanks for sharing this beautiful work! I can see the influence of the Olympic Peninsula in your designs.

Keep up the good work,
Linda Laird
qUilT ladY aT sAn doT rR dOt coM

Elizabeth said...

What exquisite work you have done Dorothy!! Your ribbon work and embroidery detail is fabulous- something that I could only dream of. I adore your Heron!
You do live in an incredibly beautiful part of the world(we lived in longview WA for a very short time and visited the beautiful North frequently!)
It was such a great treat to meet you and to see your wonderful work here on Subversive Stitchers and huge thanks to Dawn for tracking you down!!! :)
Best regards!

allie aller said...

Thanks so much for entering the Alliance's contest and making such a gorgeous quilt for it, too!
Your work is wonderful....