Like Kay, I started sewing at a young age, and had two generations of women before me who started me on that path. I was making most of my clothes by high school. Although I have a quilt my grandmother made my father, I really don't remember anything about quilting growing up. My first exposure came in the seventies, during the big bicentennial revival. I played with it for a bit, then raising children took over my life.
Years later a friend re-introduced me to it. My youngest child and only daughter was diagnosed with leukemia when she was six. This friend seemed to know that I needed something to occupy my hands during long hours at the hospital. She introduced me to Margaret Miller's strip quilts, which I loved. I remember cutting out strips by the dozen using a hospital side table as my surface, and got three quilts from them! It was the best therapy I could have had during a difficult time. (And, my daughter is now almost 22 and doing fine.)
I've never had a desire to follow a pattern. I made some other block-based quilts, including an African themed one that was both my first original design and the first one I quilted myself. Then I learned to paint and dye my own fabric, and that totally changed my approach to quilting. I love starting with white fabric, and knowing that everything I do from that point is my creation! I'd say my style is still evolving, but my work over the past six years or so is abstracted, and draws from my love of the outdoors and nature.
I don't produce a lot of work, since I work full time as a clinical social worker in child welfare. My work is often emotionally stressful and draining, and my fiber art is my 'therapy' to deal with that. And, working full time pretty much limits my quilting time to weekends. I've decided that getting older is ok, since it brings retirement closer so I can spend more time creating!
I'm a native Californian who's lived in Utah since 1991, and lived in Illinois and Wisconsin from 1975 to 1984. I never did get used to the flatlands, I need mountains to navigate by!
I'm looking forward to the give and take of the group also. I loved being part of t he Journal Quilt project- the deadlines definitely helped me put some discipline in my art. And, feedback is also appreciated. I have a blog, Fiberhart, that is mainly dedicated to my creative pursuits with the occasional trip into family doings. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone, and learning and growing together.