Monday, March 19, 2012

SPOTLIGHT: Rita of Tubular Strip Piecing

Quiltsy Member Rita of Etsy shop Tubular Strip Piecing, will be teaching at the Australian Quilt Convention in Melbourne, held April 12 - 15, 2012.  Rita is from Idaho and it has been her dream to teach in Australia.  In 2011, Rita got to teach at the International Patchwork Festival in Spain.

Rita got her start in quilting in 1980 and loves to explore the endless design possibilities and construction options available by using strips that are then sewn into tubes.  Through her years of quilting, Rita continues to fine-tune her design and pattern skills, while developing her own techniques.  Rita is process oriented and experiments, and with experimentation, comes mistakes, but that allows for a learning experience and intuitive decisions.  Rita never thought quilting would allow her to travel all over the world!

Rita strives to raise the awareness of quilting as an art form and has received a Visual Arts Fellowship from the Idaho Commission of the Arts in 2006.  Rita has also authored the book "Totally Tubular Quilts" in 2003, and has been featured in an episode of Simply Quilts, in 2004.

Some of my favorites from Rita's shop:

Teaching Classes
Rita taught beading before quilting.  She started to teach quilting after she bought a computer and started illustrating her technique.  Inspired to write a book on her technique, after “Totally Tubular Quilts, a New Strip Piecing Technique” [C&T Publishing] was published in 2003, Rita began nationally teaching (sidenote: the book is also available for a Kindle).  But her teaching career exploded after her episode on Simply Quilt aired in 2004.  In 2011, Rita began internationally teaching when she was invited to teach and exhibit at the International Patchwork Festival in Sitges, Spain. Ten thousand European quilters came through Rita's exhibit!  In January 2012, Rita was awarded a grant from the Idaho Commission of the Arts to complete two quilts for an exhibit in Australia when she heads to the land down-under in April.  Added to her travel docket will be a trip to New Zealand to teach and then back to Australia in 2013.  Rita never thought a career in quilting would take enable her to travel the world. 

Rita draws her quilting inspiration from color, pattern, kaleidoscopes, fractals, texture and geometry. It is everywhere.

On The Nightstand
I asked Rita what book is currently on her nightstand and her favorite author.  I imagine many of us have the same response!  As Rita said by the time she gets close to her nightstand, her mind is drained and isn't capable of reading anything.  Rita doesn't have a favorite author, but her favorite quote is by James Michener:

“A master in the art of living
Draws no shape or distinction
Between their work and their play,
Their labor and their leisure,
Their mind and their body,
Their education and their recreation,
They hardly know which is which.
They simply pursue their vision of excellence,
Through whatever they are doing,
And leave others to determine,
Whether they are working or playing.
To themselves,
They always seem to be doing both.

Thanks Rita!!  Have a great time in Melbourne at the convention.  I actually went to Melbourne on my honeymoon, it is a wonderful city.  See if you can sneak out to the beach towns - great little shops and restaurants!

Cheers! - Jennifer

My mother and I make up the Olive Street Studio design and sewing team.  I cannot remember my mom NOT sewing or quilting.  Since 2003, we've made chenille and cotton baby quilts, baby gift sets, little girls dresses and skirts, and for a second dimension, reversible tote bags and smaller handbags.  I joined the Quiltsy Team on Etsy in 2010. 
Etsy Shop: Olive Street Studio
Website: Olive Street Studio
Blog: Olive Street Studio on Blogger


Kathy Kinsella said...

Gorgeous quilts, Rita!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful quilts, and congrats on the teaching in Australia! Yay!

Sew Fun Quilts

Pamela said...

Beautiful quilts! Love seeing the work of our talented team!

Jerimi said...

Rita, your work is beautiful! What a fun interview, too. It's nice to meet you.

Rita Hutchens said...

Thanks Jennifer for doing such a great job. What a nice surprise. Yes I am very excited about my trip to Australia and am busy getting ready for that. Thanks everyone else for the feedback on my quilts. I could not do what I do without tge support of all my quilting "friends'.

I will keep you all posted on the goings on of our fellow Australian Quilters. It is very fun to see the flavor of quilt groups around our country and the world.

More later.