On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about quilting, painting, and living a creative life with my guest Melissa Averinos.
Melissa Averinos paints, makes quilts, and writes craft books.
She won a Judge’s Choice Award at QuiltCon 2015 for her quilt ‘face #1’ and won Best In Show at QuiltCon 2016 for her quilt ‘My Brother’s Jeans’.
Melissa travels nationally to teach her signature class ‘Making Faces with Melissa’ at quilt shops, guilds, and retreats such as QuiltCon and Craft Napa. Melissa is the author of seven books. Her first coloring book for C&T Publishing, Awesome Town, was released in September of 2016.
Melissa’s newest fabric collection YUMMIES for Me+You, a division of Hoffman California, will debut at Fall Quilt Market 2016.
Melissa lives on Cape Cod.
‘face #1’ by Melissa Averinos.
The kind of progress shots Melissa posts on Instagram.
We begin the conversation by talking about designing fabric. Melissa has been designing fabric for many years and has had collections with other companies before Me+You. She explains how her understanding of quilting and what quilters actually need has informed her design process and made her fabrics more successful over time. She also talks about being a self-described “imperfectionist” and how that informs the way she markets herself in the industry.
Melissa with her quilt, ‘My Brother’s Jeans.’
Next, we talk about Melissa’s award-winning quilt, ‘My Brother’s Jeans.’ She takes us through the creation process, from finding the materials to designing and sewing the quilt, and then recounts the incredible feeling she got when it was awarded Best in Show at QuiltCon. We then talk about what happened afterward when she returned home and back to normal life. Melissa explains how she dealt with reading criticism of the quilt online and helped herself to process it and move on.
Melissa’s new coloring book for C&T Publishing.
Melissa is honest about dealing with depression throughout her life and in this episode, she explains in a very real way how depression held her back for so many years and how treating it has opened up new opportunities for her in recent years. I so appreciate Melissa’s willingness to open up about this issue and I hope that her words encourage other people in our industry to talk openly about mental health issues.
Illustration by Melissa Averinos.
At the end of the episode, I ask Melissa to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Melissa recommends:
- Micro Fine glue tips by Sharon Schamber
- One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry (and all of Lynda Barry’s work)
Keep up with Melissa on her blog and on Instagram where you can see updates on her quilt-making and teaching.
Today’s episode is sponsored by Indygo Essentials. Indygo Junction’s founder Amy Barickman has architected a new boutique apparel brand, Indygo Essentials. Watch the Essentials video to see the six current patterns and use coupon code WSN22 for 20% on your entire order. Be sure to sign-up for Indygo Junction’s newsletter to receive a free pattern each month and stay up-to-date on new pattern releases.
Listen to the show by clicking on the arrow below or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher and listen on the go. If you enjoy the show, tell a friend about it. Thank you!
My cat Lulu heard Melissa’s voice and came to see where she was. “Come back, Melissa! Come back! We’ll get donuts!”
A very special guest indeed, and another excellent podcast. Thank you! <3
ha ha LULU! mmmm, donuts.
Thanks for listening, Bill.
I enjoyed listening to your podcast! I have ambitions to create art quilts that have painting on them. I to suffer from depression and anxiety as well. I’m 50 years old and trying to write patterns and teach. I would love to teach nationally as well. How did you get started in publishing? How did you get to teach at a national level?
Great podcast! So heartfelt and warm. I appreciate Mellisa’s honesty. Yea Linda Barry fans, too!
Thank you for listening, Laurie!
I did not attend QuiltCon 2016 where this quilt was exhibited and won Best in Show. Instead, I viewed this quilt when it “went on tour”. The “12 Best Quilts of QuiltCon 2016” was being exhibited nearby and I went. I’m a “modern quilter” and I wanted to see “My Brother’s Jeans” in person. And yes, I knew of the controversy when I went. So I went open minded. From a distance, this quilt is striking. The composition and colors breathtaking. Then I got closer. I found Melissa’s piecing to be excellent.!!!!! I love how she worked with the worn jeans “as is” and how she included all the plus blocks in various muted colors/tones. It was nice to see a quilt where you can “see the maker’s hand” that made it. It’s a very different quilt from the previous “Best in Show” winners and that is a good thing. But this is where I will respectfully disagree. Some basic fundamentals where clearly missing. The quilting contained some obvious thread tension issues, knots are visible, and stitch lengths were varied. To shrug that off and call yourself an “Imperfectionist”, I just don’t agree with. To me it’s sloppy (and so easily remedied). If you look at the works of other improv quilters such as Sherri Lynn Wood, Heidi Parkes, Chawne Kimber to name a few, their techniques are flawless. I kind of expected the same.
Art is not in a box. It is meant to challenge the status quo. Imperfection is just that, imperfect. Expectations will close your mind and spirit. and “opinions are just like….” well we all know the rest
I am a lucky quilter/ business owner to have been both able to share a meal, an experience and an event with Melissa as both an artist and a person as she came to teach for my store this year. What I can say is that as an artist and a teacher you can be an encourager or a discourager and to the bitter end Melissa is an encourager. Each and every student she encounters is better for their time with her as a teacher. And while she was with us to teach a specific technique it was so much more than that. Her time with my students brought forth their inner artist and that will always be of greater value to me than consistent stitch length. For quilting to truly evolve into a respected art form we must embrace all the ways to be artists and not just those who are “flawless”. Jackson Pollock ( just to pick an artist) was not flawless but his work took nothing away from a renoir across the room just as the it took nothing away from the Pollock, both art in their own wonderful way.. We must always push to break down the boxes that stifle creative expression.. Melissa is an expert at that.. and I for one am grateful. – Maddie Kertay– The BadAss Quilter