Next up in the Reflections and Predictions series, we have Chawne Kimber from completely cauchy. Find more amazing creativity from Chawne on Instagram, check out her quilt gallery, or browse her photos on Flickr!

Don’t miss the other posts in the series! We are honored to have several sewing industry leaders take time out of their busy schedules to talk to us about 2016 and what they are looking forward to in the year ahead! So far, we have heard from Nydia Kehnle of Nydia Kehnle Design + PhotographySamarra Khaja from Samarra KhajaDebbie Jeske from A Quilter’s Table, and Sarah Fielke from The Last Piece.

Want to join the fun?! Answer any or all of our questions on your site. Tag us or add the URL in the comments of any Reflections/Predictions post and we’ll check it out! #sewingpredictions

Sew Mama Sew: Looking back on the sewing scene in 2016, what trends stand out?
Chawne: Hmm, well I am far from trendy, so I’m not really sure. Here’s one: despite some notable missteps, there have been some great outreach efforts between the current quilting sectors, through SAQA, MQG, IQA, AQS and the Quilt Alliance. It would be nice to reach a place of mutual understanding and appreciation. But I may be too optimistic?

SMS: Who knocked your socks off and why?
Chawne: In her artwork, Amy Meissner (Spontaneous Combustion) is relentlessly exploring the boundaries of femininity, using her own hand embroidery along with vintage handwork, lace and trims. Her 2014 quilt Girl Story #2 (NSFW) is a prime example, placing front and center the things considered shameful that we often hide. In other works, she combines elements like silk, vintage needlepoint and bones in remarkable ways. Suffices to say, every post on her Instagram, @amymeissnerartist (very safe for all audiences), makes me wish I could visit her world and learn at her knee.

SMS: Favorite things? (Fabric collections, patterns, books, thread, tools, podcasts, classes, websites, events, etc.)
Chawne: Currently, I am working with raw silk fabrics, some new and some vintage (up-cycled from clothing) and cannot get enough. There’s a challenge to it, but practice will make perfect.

And I’m drawn to handmade tools like Ernest Wright & Son scissors made in Sheffield. I found them through this viral video The Putter which shows their process, a dying art. They’ve had a whirlwind of business since then and it’s been an honor to watch their slow and deliberate growth. I own some of their embroidery scissors, dressmaker shears, and kitchen scissors and love using them. (They even make scissors especially for lefties!)

Oh, and everyone should take a class with Sarah Bond (@slbphilly). She teaches some no nonsense techniques for piecing challenging patchwork.

SMS: Do you have any thoughts about the role of art in the years ahead?
Chawne: Much is being made lately of the suggestion that adversity breeds the best art. And I’m not sure I entirely agree. Art in all forms is always important—we need people to examine the past closely, challenge the status quo, and dream about the future. Great art will emerge from a constant and diligent pursuit of the truth. Now…the truth may be more elusive in the coming years.

SMS: Who do you think are rising stars in the industry?
Chawne: In 2016 several quilters continually amazed me. These two make innovative improvisational quilts, often using upcycled clothing and even leather.

  • Hillary Goodwin (Entropy Always Wins) had a miraculous year of finishes: elegant and bold geometric quilts made with a variety of fabrics, including her own old t-shirts.
  • Dan Rouse (Piece and Press) completed some more of his signature improvisational work. His quilts are always big and audacious and feature ferocious bears or acrobatic piecework.

SMS: What did you do this year that you’re most proud of?
Chawne: I had an amazing time at the MQG’s Quiltcon in Pasadena in February. It came amid some real big challenges. And due to some significant changes in my RealLife, I am now almost never near a sewing machine. This, of course, makes it difficult to maintain a steady flow of quilt output. Though most of my quilts have included extensive handwork in the past, I’ve had to learn far more skills in hand piecing and hand quilting, while adapting to work while on planes, in airports and generally on the go. The work is much slower so I’ve also had to make tougher choices among possible projects. Every moment is precious and there’s no time for false starts.

I’m pretty proud of finishing two things under these constraints: one quilt and one embroidered portrait. The quilt is reverse appliqué; it’s a meditative poem about being southern.

And the portrait is just a practice piece for a series on identity and difference.

SMS: What can we expect from you in 2017? Any big projects, life changes or goals you can share?
Chawne: Well, not really. I’ll just keep muddling through and using quilting as my voice. Resilience is key, my friends.