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Artist & Quilter: Gene Black

March 24th, 2010

gene-full_and_happyWe’d like to introduce to you to another nominated quilter whose blood just seems to flow creatively.  He is an artist of all sorts from painting to quilting to jewelry making. He tell us his story and is for sure a creative inspiration.

Quilting History:
I have a history of quilting from both grandmothers but I didn’t start quilting until March of 2008.  I had taken a class in high school where I learned to use a sewing machine, so I knew how to sew a seam.  A co-worker and good friend convinced me to take a paper piecing class she was teaching.  She even furnished the fabric.  Well, surprise!  I was the first in the class to finish a block.  So, I took the follow up class and made a table runner.
About the same time, my niece was nearing graduation and had been accepted to college.  I was so proud of her going off on her own to school. I decided to make a quilt for her as a graduation/going away present.   I slaved making the blocks but I got the top all finished.  I attempted to free motion quilt it , but ended up ripping out a lot of stitches.  I finally decided to tie the quilt.  It looked great to me and she loves it.
I continued to quilt and make other quilted items.  I have made several quilts, table runners, quilted purses, quilted journal covers and even a quilted case for my e-book reader (a first generation Kindle.)  

Who or what inspired you?
I have so many inspirations I can’t name just one.  My co-worker inspired me to start quilting with her class.  Prior to that she started to get my interest when she brought in hand work that she did during our lunch breaks.  She did hand appliqué and would bring in an occasional quilt to show me what she had done.  Little did I know that she was trying to seduceGinger Jars me into becoming a quilter.
Two other big inspirations are of course my grandmothers.  Both of them were quilters and had very different styles.  One was very traditional, making precise blocks and exact appliqué.  The other made quilts to be used and keep you warm and comfy.  While they are not “showpieces,” the quilts she made by hand with the wonky  seams and crooked quilting lines that rival Gee’s Bend quilts, are some of my most treasured things.   In honor of  Granny, these quilts are still used on the bed in winter to keep me warm.  When I am snuggled under one of Granny’s quilts, I still feel her love.  I hope my quilts inspire that feeling in someone too.

Finally, I am inspired by the vast group of bloggers that I have met on the internet. WOW!  Blogland is filled with generous, kind and (sometimes) hilarious people.  I have seen the face of God in these creative souls.  How could I not be inspired.

Do you have a funny or unusual quilting story?  
A great many of my readers say that I am funny. So of course I can’t think of a funny story to go here for nothing.  However, I will tell you how I came to do my first sewing on a quilt – long before I even thought about making a quilt.   I was in the Great Smokey Mountains at Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood.  A friend and I had gone to enjoy the mountains and see the park. As we’re walking through the park  we saw an exhibit. Or so, we thought.  There was a wood building that was open on both sides.  Inside was a quilting frame with a quilt on it. We walked over to look and a nice lady in an old fashioned dress came around the corner and started talking to us.  This exhibit was a quilt in progress.   It seems that some group was making a quilt to send to Bob Hope in appreciation for his work with the military.  As part of the exhibit they were asking park guests to assist with the quilting.  My friend quickly declined.  I planned to do the same but the lady took my arm (rather firmly) and guided me to the side of the frame.  The needle was there and stitches were in progress. “Just make small stitches thru all the layers” she instructed me.  Gee, I mind pretty well most of the time, so I grabbed the needle and tried it. I Gene Blackquilted a couple of inches worth.   Now the truth is, I can’t tell you if I did decent stitches or not. I can tell you that maybe the lady was just being nice when she said,  “ You did great, you should be a quilter.”  Or maybe it was an omen. Ha ha.
One piece of quilting advice you would give to any quilter or aspiring quilter?  Don’t be afraid to try.  There are no quilt police!  Your seams can be crooked, your points not quite matching and it will still be a quilt that is loved by someone. (trust me on this!) After all, even the best quilters made some not perfect quilts when they were starting out.   Have fun, explore the vastness of things you can do with quilting.
(oops, was that more than one piece of advice?)

I don’t know about you, but I held a smirk on my face the whole time I read through our interview with Gene. He is sweet and fun!  You can visit his artistic paintings at his website Art By Gene Black and please stop by his blog as well for some fun giveaways and good reads! Oh! I almost forgot. He has a store on Artfire, as well!

11 Comments »

  1. Lindi 's creative mind says

    A lovely interview with a warm, fun, caring man. I have followed Gene’s blog for a while now, and I enjoy every post! His artistic talent is well worth checking out, too. :)

    March 25th, 2010 | #

  2. Anonymous 's creative mind says

    I loved reading this interview, so glad he became a quilter,yay! I’m off to read his blog.

    March 25th, 2010 | #

  3. fleurette 's creative mind says

    I Loved reading this interview,so glad he became a quilter, yay! I’m off to read his blog.

    March 25th, 2010 | #

  4. Tango 's creative mind says

    Great interview!! Love to hear how one got started quilting & that there are no quilting police! Fun!
    Gene you rock!!

    March 25th, 2010 | #

  5. Tonya 's creative mind says

    We love us some Gene, great interview. :mrgreen:

    March 25th, 2010 | #

  6. Judy C in NC 's creative mind says

    Way to go Gene!!! You sound like a very happy, creative, and energetic person that would be easy to know. I would love to see you do a quilt of your painting “Hibiscus Morning”.

    “Wrapped in Loving Arms” would make a wonderful quilt label.

    March 25th, 2010 | #

  7. Rhonda 's creative mind says

    Gene is a great guy and fellow quilter. He is very creative and I’m so happy that he was chosen for the Stitchin’ Heaven Howdy interview!

    March 25th, 2010 | #

  8. Sandi 's creative mind says

    I enjoyed reading the interview about Gene (“met” him in Blogland about a year ago). I love it that he shares about his granny’s as inspiration. Also, anyone who starts with paper piecing and continues to quilt is one talented artist. Took me years to master PP and I have a friend who still finds it challenging! :-)

    March 25th, 2010 | #

  9. leta 's creative mind says

    Great interview! I am an admirer of Gene and follow his blog!

    March 25th, 2010 | #

  10. Greg 's creative mind says

    Gene is a man of many talents. It’s an honor to call him FRIEND!

    March 25th, 2010 | #

  11. Elizabeth 's creative mind says

    That was a really fun interview. I especially loved your first encounter with quilting! Gene, glad to know a little more about you.

    March 27th, 2010 | #

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