On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about quilting and teaching with my guest, Sandra Lee Chandler.
Sandra embarked on her teaching career 38 years ago at Santa Ana Community College. She now teaches at many national shows including Quilt Canada, Stitches West, QuiltCon, Festival of Quilts, and Squam, as well as teaching a weekly virtual quilting class through Saddleback Community College. Sandra’s work has been published in numerous magazines and she has made several television appearances as well that have helped to launch her career to new heights.
Sandra’s core materials for quilting are thread and fabric, however, she often employs recycled denim, yarns, dyed fabrics, and stamps to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Sandra is especially known for her repurposed denim quilts and wearable art quilted garments.
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We begin this interview with Sandra talking about her upbringing. She really didn’t tap into her creative, artistic side until she reached middle school when a Home Economics class sparked her interest in sewing. She says that because she was a blank slate, the teacher really enjoyed working with her, seating her at the Elna machine and helping to tackle projects. Sandra continued to take sewing classes throughout high school, including a quilting class that her aunt gifted her.
When she got to college at Arizona State, Sandra majored in clothing and textile design. She studied every aspect of creating cloth and then using that cloth to make things. This strong foundation has helped her to innovate in her own work, and to teach sewing and quilting ever since.
Sandra began teaching right out of college, eventually landing a gig in the community college system where she continues to teach. We talk about how Sandra discovered the online world of quilting and sewing and, especially, the Modern Quilt Guild. Sandra began posting her work and, over time, it attracted the attention of various companies in the sewing industry that reached out for collaborations, the first of which was Alexander Henry. Later, Sandra worked was an Aurifil Artisan of the Year and she talks about what that experience was like.
Sandra specializes in working with denim. She truly deconstructs the jeans she uses as raw materials so that it’s not immediately clear when looking at her quilts that the material came from jeans.
Sandra also has been making clothing from cut up quilts for many, many years. She has a unique opinion about quilt clothes and the power they hold to draw new interest in quilters and quilting. Definitely tune in to hear about this!
In this conversation, we mention:
And, of course, I ask Sandra to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Sandra recommends:
- Adding words to quilts (she’s been creating a series of applique word quilts)
- Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown and The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- the Vimeo app