Thursday 26 June 2014

Thursday Inspiration: Charlotte from Displacement Activity

Today Charlotte from Displacement Activity is joining me for Thursday Inspiration.  Charlotte's quilts cover a range of styles, but its her graphic improv-y and art quilts that really catch my eye.  I love the way Charlotte uses quilting as a form of self-expression - I always think quilting is an art as well as a craft, but you can swing it towards one or the other depending on your approach and I think Charlotte takes a very artistic approach to her quilts.

Charlotte has some mad hand quilting skills and often makes her choice of quilting thread a feature rather than just something functional.  To top things off, Charlotte is a talented dress-maker (seriously, check out this stunning dress), even going so far as to tackle a bathing suit.

So without further ado, here's Charlotte.  As usual, my questions are in bold and her answers are in normal text.

Does your family have a quilting or sewing history, or are you a first generation quilter? 
My grandmother and mum used to sew a lot of clothes when I was younger (I have very fond memories of the amazing hand-smocked dresses my grandma made), but there is no history of quilting. I learned to embroider and hand stitch when I was about five, and started dressmaking when I was ten (using an ancient hand-cranked machine). I guess my blood is 50% fabric.

How did you start quilting, and how long have you been quilting for? 
I started quilting in 2001 when my first child was a year old. I can't really remember why I started, but I have loved it ever since.

How would you describe your quilting style?
Lazy! No, seriously, I love improv and playing with colour. I prefer not to follow patterns or use blocks (unless I am making a bed-sized quilt), and that is partly to do with accuracy but also that I quilt to express myself.

Emerald City

Where do you find inspiration for your quilts?
Often from paintings, or from wanting to play with colour. A lot of the time I don't know where they come from - they just sort of appear in my head.

Are you a member of a local guild? 
I was, but now I am an individual member of the MQG.

Have you ever met any of your online sewing friends in real life? 
I was lucky enough to be able to go to QuiltCon in 2013 where I met loads of people, which was wonderful. I also went to the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London. Meeting people is often so surreal, and so fantastic!

How did you decide to start your blog? 
I really love writing (one of my day jobs is as a scientific editor, so words are kind of my thing) and I love the sense of community. It's also nice to get feedback (since most of my real life friends are of the non-sewing variety).

Juicy Fruit

What is your favourite thing about the online quilting community? And what is one thing that you would change, if you could?
People are so willing to help - if you need advice then an Instagram post will get answers really quickly. I love that! One thing that I would change is the size of the world. All quilters should live on a small island so we can hang out at each other's houses whenever we like. Not too much to ask? 

Confession time - how many quilts do you have in your house right now? 
Bloody hell, I've just counted. There are 20 lap/twin/king size and 11 minis. And another king size one in the middle of being quilted. That's quite a lot, isn't it. *blush*

Charlotte, in a dress she made (it's a dog toy, apparently).

I know you do quite a bit of garment sewing - do you have any tips for quilters thinking about branching out to garment sewing? 
Start with a pattern by an indie designer, like the Washi dress (Made by Rae). The instructions are written in a much more accessible format than the traditional pattern companies (McCalls, etc) and there are often online resources that are really helpful. Also, don't worry about using all that fabric in one go - remember, there are always loads of scraps left over for quilting!

Do you do any crafts other than quilting (and garment sewing)?
I knit and crochet, although not very often. It's just too slow!


Where do you see your quilting going - is it a career or a hobby for you and would you like to change that?
Quilting is definitely a hobby, but I would like to submit to more shows. I was lucky enough to have two quilts hanging at QuiltCon, and am absolutely planning on entering again.

Do you have any tips or tricks or things that have changed your quilting life that you'd like to share?
Glue basting! It (sadly enough) changed my life!


What is your favourite part of the quilting process (and what's your least favourite part)? 
I actually love it all, mostly because I avoid the parts I don't like (machine quilting big quilts). I even like hand stitching bindings!

What's something about you that people might be surprised to know?
I can't think of anything - it's all out there on my blog!

Thanks so much to Charlotte for participating - her answers were really interesting and I love the tips for quilters who are thinking about trying garment sewing (umm, that might be me...).  Pop over to Displacement Activity to check out Charlotte's other pieces and follow along with her quilting journey.

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Elmosmate said...

Great interview. I have never been to Charlotte's Blog, will get a cup of tea and go have a look. Also, sign me up for the small island.

Little Island Quilting said...

My small island?!

Charlotte said...

Thanks, Adrianne! I'm blushing xxx

Rachel said...

Charlotte your quilts are breathtaking! I'm off to follow your blog! And I think a small island would be perfect!

pennydog said...

Glue basting changed my life too ;)

Susan R said...

My bloglovin mornings include my first cup of coffee, (followed by a second) and then I sail off to start the day. Sometimes I am "Wowed" by a post...and today is one of those days. Thank you so much for featuring Charlotte and her amazing interview. She is just what I needed to see as I have had a picture (in my creative minds eye) of a project I know I must make. I am inspired, I am wowed and I am happy!!

Charlotte said...

thank you so much! That is so incredibly kind of you to say :-D

Charlotte said...

thank you! I'm definitely thinking an island is the way to go, although at this rate it might need to be quite big ;-)

Anne said...

So first off, thank you for explaining that the thing she was holding was a dog toy. YOU NEVER KNOW with Charlotte. ;) Also I'm so glad you featured her work, I adore everything she makes!!

cauchy09 said...

I always feel like i fall into Charlotte's quilts. They are vortices of colorful wonder.