Alex is the host of HGTV's Simply Quilts, as well as an author, teacher and fabric designer. In addition to designing a line of fabrics for P&B Textiles, Alex has written several books, including Finish It with Alex Anderson from C&T Publishing. Read more about this accomplished quilter in this interview from Quiltmaker magazine, and visit www.alexandersonquilts.com for more information.
How did you decide to make quiltmaking a career? What led you in that direction?
It has been a very serendipitous journey. I fell in love with quilting right off the bat as so many people do. In the San Francisco Bay area, quilting was enjoying a strong Renaissance and many were enthusiastic to learn. I started teaching my friends and then at local town centers. Many new quilt shops were popping up in the area and, with little knowledge under my belt, I approached them to teach. One particular owner, Diana McClun, took me under her wing and became my mentor. Several of my works began to show in other authors' books and magazines. After several tries C&T Publishing finally took me on as one of their authors. Traveling became the game, teaching and speaking to guilds, stores and conventions. My love for quilting only grew. When approached to host Simply Quilts my initial reaction was, "No". After much encouragement from my husband, I decided to give it a whirl, and I guess you could say the rest is history. I feel so grateful and thankful to be working in an industry and with a craft that I love and enjoy as so many of you do.
What inspires your work? How do new ideas come to you in quiltmaking?
I am deeply influenced by antique quilts and traditional patterns. Fabric can also pull at my heart and inspire a quilt. When I am going to start a new quilt with little in mind, I usually pore over my incredible book collection to see how the masters of the past designed. I also love taking classes to get inside another quiltmaker's head. That often leads to an idea. Last but not least, book deadlines.
How does a person get featured on Simply Quilts?
I love this question because, while we love highlighting today's top quiltmakers, Simply Quilts is always on the lookout for fresh ideas and new techniques. Your best bet would be to send a proposal (please include a bio, excellent pictures and a brief description of what the technique entails) directly to me at the following address. I will then pass it on to the producers when the next season starts up. As a team, we work to put together a balanced grouping of shows. We recognize the diversity of our community and hope to reach all. We then present the package to the network and they ultimately have approval. We are grateful for our guests' time and diverse talent.
1141 Catlina Drive
Livermore, Ca 94550
If you could offer one piece of advice for quiltmakers today, what would it be?
Join your local guild, take classes, and surround yourself with other quilters. I have found this community to be one of the kindest and most caring groups of people despite our diverse backgrounds. To be isolated from other quilters would be very sad. I think that when it is all said and done, those friendships we gain may be the best part of quilting.
Alex has always had an affinity for the crisp combination of blue and yellow. See her Blue Baskets quilt, which features her Morning Glory fabric line, in the March/April 2005 (#102) issue of Quiltmaker magazine. Check www.villagequiltshoppe.com for back issue availability.