Marla Stefanelli has worked on many different magazines--Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, Quiltmaker, and Sew News--in many different roles. Read more about this versatile stitch-woman in this interview from Quiltmaker magazine.
You've worked on a lot of different magazines in different roles. Please tell us about your path to your current position as Editor of Sew News.
I started working for Leman Publications in January 1982. I was a graphic artist for Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, Quiltmaker and the retail catalog for Quilts & Other Comforts. Back then we did it all--from designing the layouts and pasting them up the old-fashioned way, to shooting our own film and stripping the negatives for the issue. As time went on and the company grew, I started working on Quiltmaker exclusively. For a few of the issues, I did all the artwork and even laid them out by myself. During this time I made about 40 quilts and wallhangings for myself and the magazine. I don't know how many I've designed.
After Rodale bought Leman Publications, we moved to our current office and we had an even larger warehouse for our retail catalog. At this point I left Quiltmaker and started developing new products for the Quilts & Other Comforts catalog. During this time we generated three books and several patterns. Then Rodale reorganized and sold off the retail portion and eliminated the warehouse. They also eliminated me and a few other people.
During my three years away from here, I did some freelancing for Quiltmaker, worked for my husband, and also freelanced for a publishing company that produced reading books for grades K-6. I focused on the K-3 range and produced several books for them. One they printed several times and then hardbound it.
I decided to work full-time again as my children were older and didn't need as much supervision. I returned to what was now Primedia to become the art director for Craftrends. Craftrends had just moved here from Atlanta, and Sew News was also new to the office, having moved from Peoria, Illinois.
We worked in the same area of the building and shared printers, etc. During this time I got to know the Sew News staff. They learned about my sewing experience--that I'd been a costume designer for six years, and I had past experience with the quilt magazines. When an editor decided to take another job, they offered the position to me. It was a big change going from the art department to the editorial, but it has been challenging and rewarding as I continue to grow. This past October I became the Editor of Sew News. I hope to do a good job until I retire.