Many readers are finding the cover quilt on our Jan/Feb issue to be very attractive. It’s a beauty! I wanted to share a few thoughts from the designer of the fabric featured in that quilt. Marianne Elizabeth designs for RJR Fabrics and the fabric line is called Jasmine. She took time to answer my questions below.
Q: What are several design tools you couldn’t live without?
A: Chocolate, my camera, music via Sirius Internet Radio so I can go wherever my mood takes me, my computer with programs for drawing and visualizing, and the internet, where you can find visual images for everything and anything you can imagine.
Q: What’s on your design wall right now?
A: Fabric concepts and designs for two new collections, along with a “major” quilt design for each.
Q: What life experiences have helped to shape your design skills?
A: Growing up I traveled extensively which created a visual catalog of memories of sunsets, and shorelines, and forests and parks, all with colors and flowers that speak to me. My parents always instilled a “you can do it” mentality, so I’ve always tackled things that I might not have had the “training” to do.
Working in a greenhouse and flower shop, I found such peace and tranquility. I was mesmerized by how beautiful the flowers and leaves were, and the fragrant scent of the flowers and plants. I can still smell the air on a sunny morning in the greenhouse.
Later I worked at the Pond Estate in Florida, tending flowers in the garden and growing herbs for the kitchen, arranging flowers, etc. I try to draw upon these memories to find that “ah-ha” and translate it into cloth.
During the last five years, I’ve gone thru two horrific, catastrophic traumas, each one forcing me to dig deeper to find a smile, let alone joy and happiness. Through cloth and color, I’m able to find some serenity, mindful of creating something beautiful that will hopefully endure.
A: What would you like our readers to know about you?
First, I’d like everyone to meet my little girl, Zsu-Zsu. She’s a 2-year-old Pekingese. She came to me after a great loss. She is my constant companion. She loves to play with fabric. She has her own stash. She takes whatever scraps she can, gives them a proper “kill-shake” and piles them up in her stash, which she guards. She’s great at leaving her fabrics all over the house, too! Everyone needs a Zsu-Zsu!
The second thing I’d like to say is I think quilting is the great equalizer. There will always be people who are better craftsman than oneself, and while I’m always trying to improve, what I’m striving for most of all is to inspire. To me it’s not about how perfect you can be but how much creativity you can inspire and how much love and joy you can share through your creations.
If a fabric or a quilt design inspires you to make something, and share it with your family and friends, I’m thrilled and I feel like I have achieved what I set out to do. If the quilt you create is loved and used by those near and dear to you, then you have accomplished something wonderful! It’s my wish to each and all: May All Your Quilts be Truly Loved!
Read more about Marianne and her design business on her website.