Thursday, September 10, 2015

Artist Profile: Robbi Joy Eklow

Robbi Joy Eklow
Third Lake, IL 

 1. Did the change in dimensions present any specific challenges for you?  Or if this is your first time with us, how did you like the size? This was the first time with you, and the size was ok. My personal problem was that I used a single piece of fabric as the background of the quilt and the quilt backing and both shrunk up a bit with the quilting. So I had to use a fused binding to hide about a quarter inch gap that would show up once in a while. This is not unusual for me to have this problem, so I should make quilts about 5 inches too big and lop off the extra. (in a well designed fashion of course)

2. Describe your design area, specifically your work table:  what is the best thing about it? My “main” studio is a big bedroom in our house, on the second floor, at the end of the hall. I have a “working wall” which is an 8’ square area covered with bulletin boards made out of a form of homosote, covered with a layer of batting, then insulbrite, (a batting with metal in it to repel heat) and then white fabric. I also have a 30x40 piece of homosote covered with batting and heavy canvas to use as an ironing board. That lives on a corner of one of my sewing cabinets. I have two large sewing cabinets, both with flaps on the back, sitting in my studio as a giant square table. The sewing machines are on electric lifts, so I can easily change the space from sewing to other stuff.

3. What set this quilt apart from other recent projects you have been working on? It’s actually a bit smaller than I normally work. I like about 60x60”. I also started using the negative space from some die cuts I’d made with an accuquilt die I designed a few years ago. I tested out a method of machine embroidering the shapes down to the background before sandwiching the quilt and then quilting it.

4. When you get “stuck” how do you deal with a “design block”?  How do you overcome it? I go do something else. I have a lot of ideas. I do have journals and I write in them, so I could actually go back and read. But I rarely do. I think writing things down helps me keep the ideas in my head.

5. Do you work on single or multiple projects at the same time? Multiple, but all at a different phase. For example, I’m designing my next quilt and the one after that. The first one will be more of a study for the second one, but will still be a big quilt, just not as detailed as the second one will be. I am doing some quilting on another quilt and have another ready to start quilting. I’m not in a “fabrication” stage this week.

6. What do you hope people take away from your work? I just want them to enjoy looking at my work. There really isn’t a message, I just like playing with design.

7. What are the best parts of working on an art quilt:  What are your least favorite parts? I love using my own dyed fabric. I don’t like having to worry about the edges fraying. Quilts may get a little fuzzy, they aren’t going to fall apart.

8. What art/quilt-related organizations do you belong to? SAQA, PAQA, IQA, AQS, and a small critique group.

9. Do you have a preferred color palette?  yes. Why? I guess I was just born this way.

10. What do you regard as your most interesting milestones along your art journey? Getting into Quilt National back at the turn of the century. Literally going to New Zealand three times, and Australia once, parts of Canada, and Switzerland. I feel very lucky to have traveled that much just with quilting. I’ve gone to London, Paris, Milan, Rome and Florence with my husband though and I have to say, I love traveling with him the best. I’ve written two books, have a Craftsy class and have won some awards, so they are all milestones.

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