How I started quilting

Weaving and bobbin lace were my early textiles passions but I fell into patchwork and quilting quite by accident whilst teaching Art and Design Technology at St Bede’s School in Cambridge. One September found me with a pile of indigo tie dyed fabric left over from Activities Week.  I couldn’t throw the fabric away and set my new GCSE group to embellish it with appliqué and other stitching methods.  Somehow we then cut it all up and pieced it back together to make bags.  Around the same time I discovered the rotary cutter and a book by Jan Mullen called “Cut Loose Quilts”.     I knew enough about patchwork to realise that I would never stitch hexagons together but in Jan’s book I read that you can break the rules.  That suited me very much! My early experiments were with stack and whack techniques and the photograph included here is of my first ‘proper’ quilt with nine fabrics cut up and stitched back together again.

I soon tired of ready printed fabrics I now tend to experiment, often taking a traditional block or pattern and experiment to reinterpret the idea into something new. Like many so called ‘Modern Quilters’ I love using plain or solid colours and I will improvise from a starting point in my sketch book until I achieve my vision.  Sometimes I include quite contemporary graphic prints and play around with positive and negative space.

I am a regular exhibitor every July with Cambridge Open Studios and I now teach an afternoon class at Coleridge School. I am very fortunate in having my own studio space and can offer tuition to one or two students at a time. 

Marion Curtis



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