Theresa Eisinger has found her perfect niche! As a graphic designer for Quiltmaker magazine, she combines her design skills and knack for math while doing what she loves--quilting! Read on to learn more about Theresa and the many designs she has created over the years.
How did you decide to make working with quilts a career? What led you in that direction?
In 1986 I was working as a graphic designer at a small publishing house in the Denver area when a friend told me about an opening at Leman Publications, publisher of Quilter's Newsletter and Quiltmaker magazine. I had been sewing since I was nine years old and had helped my mom make the quilt that I took to college. The chance to combine my favorite hobby with my chosen field seemed heaven-sent, and since I've always loved math I was pleased to find that part of my job would be drafting and figuring quilt sizes. It was a perfect fit. I couldn't have asked for a better experience than working closely with the quilters that Bonnie Leman had gathered to staff her magazines. The more I learned about quilting, the more I knew I had found my niche.
What inspires your work? How do new ideas come to you in quiltmaking?
I find inspiration in many things: my family, the shapes and colors in nature, trends that I notice. And then there's the fabric! I still vividly remember the first fabric I fell in love with. It was a forest green calico with small watermelon-colored roses scattered across it. I took it home and designed a pieced watermelon quilt which became my first published design (Melon Patch, Quilter's Newsletter Magazine July/Aug 1987), and still hangs proudly in my kitchen.
But probably most inspirational to me are the quilts themselves. Quilters from all over the world send their quilts to our offices to be photographed, and every day there's a new showstopper hanging outside the photo studio. We get to see some of the best and most innovative quilts. But I don't think a quilt has to be complicated or technically perfect to be beautiful. Even the simplest quilt can be exciting in the way its patches are arranged and colored. It is endlessly fascinating to me, the process of rearranging shapes and auditioning different colors and watching what happens. I enjoy designing all kinds of quilts, applique, pieced, foundation-pieced. Complex designs are challenging and rewarding, but a simple log cabin can be just as satisfying.