Monday, September 4, 2017

Meet Anne Sullivan

How long have you been a member of the guild?
I'm a fairly new member to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, I joined a little over a year ago when I first moved to Orlando. However, I've been a member of modern quilt guild chapters for almost 5 years and helped start the South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild chapter in Santa Cruz, CA.

How did you find out about the guild?
When I knew I was moving to Orlando, the first thing I did was search for the local MQG chapter! I reached out to a few people from the guild on instagram (including our now president Sarah!) and when I flew in to look for housing before moving, I stopped by the Maitland Sew Day that was happening to meet some people. Everyone was super welcoming and I was really excited to join!

How long have you been quilting?
I think about 5 or 6 years now. When I was a kid, my mom taught me how to sew clothes. At one point I decided to make a quilt, and after spending hours tediously cutting out strips for a log cabin quilt, I managed to sew one block together and declared it "boring". Life sure showed me!

Why/what got you into quilting?
When I was in grad school, I desperately needed a creative outlet. I was studying video games, so when I saw some pixel quilts on Flickr I really wanted to make one. I thought "I learned how to sew when I was a kid, I'm sure I can figure this out!" I ended up making a pillow cover (using 5/8" seams, haha) and I ended up liking how it turned out. After that I started reading tutorials online and found the modern quilt scene pretty soon afterwards and I've been hooked ever since.

First quilt?
I don't know if that pillow cover counts since it wasn't quilted, but I made another one soon after that was. My first actual quilt was a pair of quilts that I made for my vet.

Favorite quilt?
Usually my favorite quilt is the one that I've most recently finished! I'm kind of between favorites at the moment, probably because I'm neck deep in WiPs and haven't had a finish recently.

Quilt you are working on?
I'm working on quite a few quilts right now. I've been really enjoying improv work and have a couple of them in progress that I'm really excited to get finished up. 

Creative process?
A few years ago, I started a group called Quilt Design A Day in which every day we would use the photo/palette from the Design Seeds blog to create a quilt design. The design was inspired by the image in some way and used the colors in the palette. I did that for a year and have about 500 quilt designs that I've sketched out from it. It got me pretty comfortable with sketching out designs and working through my own style.

However, I found that making the quilts often felt like I was just going through the motions. The expressive part (for me) had already been done. While I was struggling with that, I stumbled into an improv block bee (#beesewcial on instagram) and found that instead of doing the design up front, it was a constant back and forth between creating and designing; design as you go.

This had a huge impact on me and the direction of my quilting. Now I often start with a feeling or story that I'm trying to capture, and design as I go to work towards that feeling. It's much slower but I feel a lot more connected to what I produce now.

What/who inspires you?
I spend a lot of time looking at art styles outside of quilting and wondering how I can incorporate it into the quilts I make. For instance, lately I've been looking at architectural drawings and thinking about how to incorporate it into quilting lines. I also enjoy looking at graphic design work and seeing how they abstract shapes to create simplified but nuanced designs. There's something to be learned from everything.

Anything else you'd like to share?
I know Rene' would get mad at me if I don't mention that I have an episode in the latest season of Fresh Quilting which you can find in the resources section on the Modern Quilt Guild's website. I talk about how I use design elements and principles to convey a story or emotion through my quilts.

Also if you ever want to talk design or color, please feel free to come chat with me at guild meetings! If you're feeling stuck on a design or a palette or what not, it is my favorite thing in the world to help brainstorm ways past it. :)



  1. You are one talented young lady!

  2. Can't wait to watch Fresh Quilting ... I love your style Anne !