I’m Mary Sorensen, and I’ve been a member of the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild for about three or four years. I joined after teaching a workshop for the group. I was not even aware of the modern quilting movement, until I taught that workshop. I found the small Orlando Modern Guild to be very friendly, making a great use of social media, and boundlessly enthusiastic about making quilts. I was motivated to join Orlando Modern because of the makeup of the group, not because of the focus of the style of quilts made.
I started quilting after the Bicentennial when there was a resurgence of interest in quilting. I was living in Chicago, and found a quilt shop (there were almost none) in the city and decided to take a class. This was back in the mid-1970’s - before the emergence of rotary cutters - when you did everything by hand or you weren’t considered a “real quilter”. I learned to hand piece, hand applique and hand quilt. Since I am, above all else, very lazy, I knew that hand applique involved sitting in a comfortable chair, and that became my focus.
After grad school, I had a 15 year career in the textile and apparel industry, quilting in my spare time. When I moved to Florida in 1990, I started teaching classes at a shop down on International Drive. I taught only hand applique and only from patterns of my own design. Because this shop was in the tourist area – and we know quilters search out quilt shops when they travel – I started getting requests to teach around the state and then nationally in about 1993.
I have had a great career of almost 25 years travelling nationally and teaching hand applique, with a business designing and selling patterns and DVDs through distributers and on my web site. I’ve visited lots of guilds, taught on a bunch of cruises, and taught for regional and national conferences and shows, all because I decided I liked sitting in a chair!
I had an opportunity in February to film an online class for AQS iquilt focusing on needleturn hand applique technique. The class just went live last week (iquilt.com). I had a great time filming it, and am really happy with the way it turned out. Never underestimate the power of professional hair and makeup!
I have done quite a bit of judging at national quilt shows over the past few years, and while it is a huge responsibility, it is also a great experience. Quilters are so accomplished and creative and innovative. It’s really a privilege to get a chance to look at truly great work up close. The most important criteria for being an effective judge, is to really love quilts. And I do. I love all quilts, all styles, all types of technique, handwork, machine work, and fused, traditional, art and modern. I value any quilt that is done well, done with enthusiasm, or reflects a love of quilt making.
I’m so glad to be a part of the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild; a group that encourages, motivates, and inspires.
Check out Mary's website here.