Hi I’m Pat Sloan, the Aurifil Designer of the Month coordinator. I’m so happy to introduce you to our April Aurifil Designer, Susan Guzman! I’m delighted to hare Susan’s story with you. Her love of vintage textiles has inspired this month’s project and she made it so easy.. I bet you make more than one!
I also interviewed Susan for my radio show CLICK HERE and scroll to the March 15th s show.
1. When was your ﬁrst quilt sighting? Did it inspire you to start quilting? If not, what did? The ﬁrst quilt I saw that made an impact on me was at the Daughter’s of the American Revolution Museum in Washington, D.C. It was during a family vacation when I was a young girl. I remember lots of beautiful applique and thought how amazing it was to sew so meticulously. It is ironic now, how I love to hand applique today.
Seeing the quilt at that time did not inspire me to quilt. And although I’ve come across other inspiring moments, what started me quilting was joining an online quilt guild through eBay, called: Ebay Quilter’s Garden Guild. It is not longer in existence, but I sure made some great friends and learned so much from this talented group.
2. What is your favorite type of quilt or quilt pattern?
There are so many different types of quilts that appeal to me. I like everything from art quilts to antique quilts, and clean, contemporary quilts, to scrappy quilts. This should explain why I enjoy designing an eclectic array of quilt styles.
3. We all have parts of the process we ‘prefer’ more than others. What part of quilt making do you prefer most, and why?
I enjoy it all: sketching new ideas, then designing quilts using EQ7, ﬁguring out yardage requirements, writing patterns, and constructing tops. Attaching binding is a favorite thing I like to do, as well, as it satisﬁes my need to hand stitch. If I were to choose just one, it would be designing. There is something very fulﬁlling about creating something out of nothing, and I seem to constantly look at things in my everyday life that inspire me. I’ve been known to grab a napkin while at a restaurant to jot down an idea. I’ve always loved putting colors and styles together, ever since I was a young girl.
4. Do you do other crafts now? Did you do those BQ ‘Before Quilting’?
Unfortunately, I do not have time to do other crafts. I used to make original cloth dolls, but haven’t done so in several years. I’ve dabbled with paper crafts, using vintage ephemera found at antique shops, and would like to experiment more, one day. Other things I’ve enjoyed doing in the past are ceramics, knitting, crochet, sketching, painting, and making things using vintage buttons.
5. Did you have a career prior to making art, and what was it? Do you still do that career while having your design business? If you’ve always done art, did you do another type before quilt making?
I did a lot of different things before making my design business a career. I worked in trust banking, worked for brokerage ﬁrms, marketed and sold building products to architects and designers, worked as an interior designer, and managed an art gallery, among other things. What I’m doing now, is taking classes in design and running my freelance and design business.
6. How do you ﬁll your soul? What I mean by this is – what makes you SO HAPPY that you know that if you do this, you are experiencing a little ʻHeaven on Earth’.
I love getting together with friends and family, going on vacation with my husband, throwing a dinner party and making everything happen (planning the menu, preparing the food, selecting a great wine, and seeing how much everyone enjoys it), and talking and laughing on the phone with my siblings and cousins. That ﬁlls my soul.
7. When you start a new project, do you have a ritual you follow? Like cleaning your work area, buying a new tablet to sketch in, or maybe having a new bag of M&M’s on hand!
When I start a new project, I like to ﬁrst put pen to paper and plan out a timeline. Filling in the blanks between now and the deadline is what makes the project a fun challenge for me, so I like to go through the process in my head, taking notes as I review the steps needed to complete the task.
8. Do you have a process to get your ideas started? I use a theme and words. Some people use photos, fabric swatches… etc.
I grab a graph pad and start sketching out the ideas that initially pop into my head, as ideas typically come to mind immediately. Other things I do are to use images, such as those seen in current magazines. This is a great way for me to get my creativity started. Since taking classes in design, I’ve learned to jot down a number of ideas in one sitting, then go back and select those that work the best and develop them from there. It has been an extremely helpful exercise for my creative development.
9. What is your favorite weight of AURIﬁl thread? What are your ‘go to’ threads colors?
I am a HUGE fan of AURIﬁl threads! I was so excited to try it for the ﬁrst time a few years ago. What attracted me to the AURIﬁl brand was the available colors. I heard the story of the quality of the thread and I was anxious to try it. Once I tried it, I was hooked. How could you not, with the gorgeous hues that shimmer so beautifully, and the quality that’s second to none.
The AURIﬁl thread weight I use most often is 50 wt. I’m sharing an image of the colors I most like to use. In no particular order, they are: 2309, 2805, 5002, 1133, 2920, 5005, 1114, 2260, 2630, 2910, 2021, 1231, 2423, 2435, 2395, 2530, 1285, 2110, 5017, and 5024 (not pictured). The colors I use most to piece with are: 2021, 2309, 2310, 5010, and 2692.
10. Besides your sewing machine, what are the tools you MUST have when you quilt?
My AURIﬁl threads, of course! Then the usual: rotary cutter, rotary cutting mat, large cutting table, trash bag for scraps too small to use, 6” x 24” see-through ruler, small and large pair of scissors, ﬂathead straight pins, calculator, pencil, notepad for any notes I may need during construction, iron and ironing board, and my sewing machine cleaning tools.
11. Do you travel to teach? And if so, how often and what types of groups? Guilds, stores, retreats, big shows? Is there a schedule on your blog or website?
At this time, I’m using the time I would to teach, to take graphic design classes. I’m hoping to take my business to a new level, and the classes have been amazing.
12. How would you describe your personality? Are you process oriented, detailed, big picture, are you carefree, structured, unstructured, all over the place depending on the project?
For the most part, I’m detail oriented, and I do like to go through a process with the projects I develop and take on. I’m not a very excitable sort of person; I tend to be more introspective and like to keep the peace and enjoy helping people and being a part of a team. That being said, I love camaraderie, a great sense of humor, and I often crack myself up (*smile*).
13. If you could train with, or work with, or follow one person for a day…who would it be and why?
There are so many who come to mind: Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Rosita Missoni, Vera Wang, Donatella Versace; just to name a few. Any one of these women are not only successful, but talented, intuitive, and smart. The experience would be amazing and extremely inspirational for me.
14. Do you have any other big news you can share? I’m working on a new gadget idea for quilters, that I’m very excited about. I will be resurrecting my NuzLetter this Fall. It is likened to a mini-magazine, and full of interesting topics and interviews with interesting people in the quilting and creative industries. Please sign up for my mailing list through my website for more information: www.SuzGuzDesigns.com.
Books I’m reading:
“Unto the Sons”, by Gay Talese,
“The Lost Symbol”, by Dan Brown
Favorite Movie: Pride & Prejudice, 2005
I can’t wait to see your version of Susan’s project!
I’m downloading the project pattern while I have my coffee, thanks! I love it and can’t wait to take some breaks from chores today to work on it
I have the pillow top made and need to quilt it. The piece for the bottom of the pattern shows cuttting at 2 1/2 x 5 1/2 from embroidery and it should be 4 1/2″ square. I just thought if anyone else was making it they would like to know.
New version of the pattern has been uploaded with the correction, thanks Gale!
Such amazing designs you make, I had no idea! Really beautiful stuff! Are you on Etsy? If not, you should be!
Best of luck with your business, I know it must already be a huge success!
Wow Susan! You have such an amazing talent and an incredible eye for the fabric! Congratulations on your business!
WE ARE PROUD. DAD AND MOM BY THE WAY HAPPY EASTER
Beautiful work and imaginative designs…love to hear you also have a sense of humour you need it at times.