Julie Mullin combines her training as an illustrator and love of the natural world when designing quilting designs, and urges other quiltmakers to look at the beauty of the earth around them. Julie is from Apex, North Carolina, where she owns a long-arm quilting business, Fiberactive Quilt Company. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did you decide to make quiltmaking a career? What led you in that direction?
I had been hand quilting since I was 12 years old. I was a quilt snob who thought that real quilting was only done by hand. When I began quilting professionally I started to realize how slow hand work was and that I would never be able to make a living at it. But I stayed with it until I was literally booked ahead for10 years. I knew I had to go over to machine work. When I was on a beach retreat with my quilt group I made the decision to buy a longarm machine.
Once I got my machine I found out how enjoyable it was to use. It was like a big pencil and I could draw with stitches. I was still in fiber, but back to my roots in drawing. I immediately began drawing my own patterns and gradually developed my own style.
There are things you can do with a sewing machine that you can't do with hand quilting and once I started exploring that concept, my designs really blossomed.
What inspires your work? How do new ideas come to you in designing?
Nature inspires me. I don't create anything, I just mimic what God has done. Each quilt that I'm asked to do is a new drawing pad. I look over the quilt top or the design parameters or whatever starting point I am given by the person who commissions the work. I look at the colors and patterns used and, as best I can, I find out more about the person who will receive the quilt. Then I add myself. All that I am, all that I love, and all that I've done are brought into each new project. The design forms in my head and I put it on paper, then on fabric.