At QuiltCon 2017 in Savannah, Georgia, Stephanie Kendron got an idea. The annual modern quilting conference had just come to a close and the Modern Quilt Guild had announced that QuiltCon 2019 would take place in Nashville, Tennessee.
Kendron is the host of the Modern Sewciety podcast, where she interviews creatives in the sewing industry gathering stories of their journeys and current adventures. When she heard that Nashville was the future site of QuiltCon, she immediately connected with well-known fabric designer Anna-Maria Horner. Horner is also the proprietor of the fabric and needlecraft store Craft South located in a hip neighborhood of Nashville.
“I knew everyone would be in town for the event and that Craft South would be a perfect venue for a live podcast,” says Kendron.
Horner, as an industry heavyweight, got the podcast guests on board for the event, split into two evenings with five interviewees each. The superstar guest line-up included Sarah Bond, Denyse Schmidt, Sherri Lynn Wood, Tara Faughnan, Heidi Parkes, Carolyn Friedlander, Kim Eichler-Messmer, Tula Pink, Sarah Nishiura, and Horner herself. Each guest has their own thriving practice in the quilting industry that falls somewhere on the spectrum of artist to designer.
Using her staff and her shop as the central hub of the event, Horner took care of much of the event planning — the hosting space, ticket sales, and reception — while Kendron took charge of how the events would play out. The goal was an intimate setting where attendees could mingle with the podcast guests with shopping and a reception. With only 50 seats available for each evening, tickets sold out within a day.
Martie Helmreich was one of the lucky attendees. “I wanted to experience the quilting community and came away with happy feelings about why I enjoy quilting so much. It’s the people.”
Kendron wanted to bring in these guests to share their stories, just as her podcast does. “I think hearing others talk about their process, their wins and losses, what motivates them, and the emotion of someone’s experiences is so inspiring.” She asked each guest a set of questions pertaining to different facets of their work: their journeys, the spaces in which they work, their styles and creative process, their concepts of “making it,” and advice for burgeoning artists and designers.
A strong takeaway from across the board was finding your voice and staying true to it, but also allowing it to evolve over time. “What you’re drawn to grows and changes. I want to maintain interest in what I’m doing,” said Carolyn Friedlander.“The path is less important than keeping on going,” said Horner. “And if it stops making sense, stop doing it.”
The Modcast audience listening intently. Photo courtesy of Jenni Smith.
As an attendee to the Saturday event, I came away feeling like I knew each artist/designer a little bit better. Seeing their distinct personalities and processes side-by-side highlighted their differences, but more importantly how they each contribute uniquely to the quilting community as a whole.
Tula Pink sees her designs as going hand-in-hand with her customers’ work: “I want to give you the best tools to make what you fantasize about.”
Event sponsors included Quiltfolk magazine, Free Spirit Fabrics, and Janome. Their contributions elevated the fun with giveaways for the attendees.
Modcast was an event full of laughter and togetherness. As a sort of “micro-QuiltCon”, attendees were able to chat with each other and make new friends through this shared experience. After two years of planning with Kendron, Horner underscored that this type of event is “why Craft South exists” — to bring the community together.
Listen to the episodes as podcasts here:
Andrea is an artist, designer and quilter based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Quilting has become the medium through which she can explore her interests in material, geometry, and place. Her background in architecture has allowed her to understand the design process from a variety of approaches. As an educator, she wants to inspire others to reach their own creative potential and to see themselves as designers of their own lives. Although her favourite colours to wear and design with are neutral, she loves to play with colour in her 3rd Story Workshop. You can find her at www.3rdstoryworkshop.com.