Each month, we partner with a maker for an exclusive discount on something we think our members and broader community will love.
This month, we are excited to be featuring Nancy Purvis, of Nancy Purvis Studio. Nancy describes herself as an artist and quilter, and you will see more of her work (a quilt pattern!) in collaboration with Pattern Drop later this spring. Nancy gravitates towards a clean, minimalist style, with the occasional (fantastic) improv quilt thrown in.
The author of Quilting From Every Angle, Nancy took a rather unique path towards producing art prints. Read more about Nancy, her work, her favorite quilts, and her creative journey below. If you are a member, check your email for a discount code, too.
Tell me a little about your creative journey
Although I’ve been creative all my life, it really didn’t become public until I began blogging at owen’s olivia back in 2011. I originally began blogging about home diy, crafts, and sewing, which introduced me to quilting. Once I began quilting, I started to focus more on the patterns in everyday life. I noticed that I gravitated towards anything surface design and visual arts and noticed I was happiest when I could surround myself around patterns. I’ve always had an eye for design, but I never realized my strength until I began quilting.
In my late teens, my dad suggested graphic design as a career choice for me but using computers for design scared me, so I dismissed the idea. It’s funny how things have come full circle. At times, it can be hard not to beat myself up about not going that route 20 years ago. Who knows what I could be doing today with that much experience under my belt. But then again, would I have become a quilter?
What is your favorite quilt you have ever made?
Geez, this is a tough one. Can I name three? 1981 (#1981quilt), F*ck the Quilt Police (#FTQPquilt), and Concordia (#concordiaquilt). Concordia is a quilt pattern from my book. [1981 is pictured above; Concordia is below].
I love this photo of Nancy’s son holding her book so much!
All photos provided by Nancy Purvis
Do you have a quilt with a story behind it you would like to share?
I feel kind of bad for picking the one with the inappropriate word, but there is a story behind [this quilt].
After my book, I was completely done with patterns for a while, which is understandable! I needed a break. A break from the book. A break from following rules. A break from the commentary in my own head about what people might think about my work, my craftsmanship, or my skills once I put myself out there in the form of a published book. I love black and white and how graphic the two can become when used together, and I had few yards of both in my closet.
I had the idea to just let go. I know this idea to let go isn’t new, but for me, it was a new beginning. In my book, I worked with a lot of triangles. I love triangles, so I continued on with that shape and used HSTs, but I broke away from rule following and precision. I didn’t want to care about my points not matching up. I didn’t want to use my rotary cutter. I just wanted to sit in my comfy quilting chair and cut wrinkly fabric with scissors while I listened to my favorite TV show-The Office.
As I began this quilt, I wanted to be a voice for those in the quilting community who didn’t have one or couldn’t speak loud enough for others to hear them. Although us makers can be really supportive and generous most of the time, I also saw some negativity and unnecessary criticism from those labeled as the quilt police. I just wanted people, especially new quilters, to know that they can create anything in this life because they want to. There shouldn’t be quilt police standing over your shoulder telling you what you did wrong or what you should correct next time. Of course, this is only my personal opinion. I do believe we should try our best, whatever that may be at any given time in our lives. And I believe that if you are selling a product, that the quality standards should be good because you are working with customers. But put that all aside and I truly believe people should quilt what they want and how they want to. It’s their money. It’s their fabric. It’s their time. No one else’s, and we shouldn’t have to owe anyone an explanation as to why we create the way we do or apologize or justify the mistakes we make. I tried to break as many rules as possible with this quilt. I didn’t press my fabric before cutting it. I hand cut all my fabric, but I didn’t trim it so that the seams were even or even equal. Some of the seams are maybe 1/8″ and some are 1/2″. I pressed the dark to the white side, intentionally showing my dark seams through the white fabric. There is unnecessary bulk in some sections because I intentionally didn’t trim the fabric. My quilting is crooked and unevenly spaced. I remember pushing that quilt through my Bernina as fast as it would allow. There’s even spots where the walking foot folded the quilt top over on itself, but I didn’t stop it or seam rip it out. I continued on leaving the folds in place. Through this process, the FTQP quilt became one of my favorites. Plus, it’s some pretty good eye candy to boot.
What inspired you to start creating art prints?
My quilt prints were created out of a necessity for me. From 2014-2015 I made a quilting book:Quilting from every Angle. 18 quilts were made in just under 5 month, which involved cutting, piecing, basting, hand quilting, and machine quilting on a repetitive basis. Unfortunately, this took a heavy toll on my right arm and resulted in an overuse injury. I needed to rest, and I did so for some time. Fast forward to Christmas of 2016, and I gifted myself an iPad. I’m left handed, and I found a way to combine my drawing skills with my love for quilting, patterns, and design, all while giving my right arm a break. I turned my quilt designs into art, and I hope to make them into quilts one day. It’s a nice feeling to share a piece of me with those who like my work.
“My art prints are my quilt designs, minus the pencil marking, scribbled notes, and math. It’s just like looking at any quilter’s notebook and seeing their sketches of design ideas and things they would like to make.”
I turned my quilt designs into art, and I hope to make them into quilts one day. It’s a nice feeling to share a piece of me with those who like my work.
Thanks so much to Nancy for the beautiful photos, words, and prints. Go buy some. Your sewing room and/or house will thank you!
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