Quilt designer, author and teacher Nancy Odom has created quilts for a number of fabric and sewing machine manufacturers and is the designer of Azalea Trail, a fabric line for P&B Textiles. Nancy's company, Timid Thimble Creations, www.timidthimble.com, markets her line of products, including the popular Quilter's Gloves for machine quilters. Read what pulled Nancy into a quiltmaking career, and where she finds inspiration in this interview from Quiltmaker magazine.
How did you decide to make the quilting business a career? What led you in that direction?
If anyone in this business was a reluctant entrepreneur, it would be me. While living in Orlando, Florida, I was just shopping for more fabric to finish some quilts. The shop owner persuaded me to sell her my unfinished quilt tops. She put the quilt tops on display in her shop. A few days later she called and asked me to teach classes for her. Our family had just moved to Orlando and I was thrilled to teach for her, because I knew I would soon meet people who enjoyed the same things I do--fabric, fabric and more fabric! My motivation was not to start a business, but to make friends. I never intended to publish my patterns for sale, I just used them for teaching classes. You know how we quilters love to visit every quilt shop we can when we travel. Vacationing quilters wanted to purchase patterns for the class projects they saw on display in the quilt shop, but I wasn't publishing my patterns yet. I was so very reluctant to start printing my patterns. I hate writing instructions, but my dear husband was so supportive and encouraging. With his help and support we published my first pattern in 1994.
What inspires your work? How do new ideas come to you in quiltmaking?
Inspiration comes from everywhere, it is amazing how many designs just waiting to become quilting patterns surround us in our everyday lives. Bricks in buildings, tiles on restaurant floors, nature, old quilts, family time, TV commercials and books. Because I love to applique, the possibilities for quilts do seem endless.
Sometimes it is the fabric itself that is inspirational. When you love to be creative and making quilts is a passion, you tend to be thinking about new designs and ideas all the time. Sometimes it can take awhile before you get a new design worked out, but it is a process I really enjoy.