We absolutely adore working with Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd Story Workshop. We first met her through Aurifil Artisans and were instantly wowed by her artistry, her professionalism, and her creativity. Her One Song collaboration with singer/songwriter Meaghan Smith was one of those ‘Wow-Factor’ projects… something that brought music and quilting together in a remarkable union of beauty and inclusivity. It was that project that made us truly fall in love with Andrea’s work.
Now, we’re simply giddy over Gemology, her new book with Lucky Spool. Scheduled for release on June 25, Gemology is sure to be a fast favorite. It guides readers through transforming the beauty, allure, and power of natural stones into glittering complex patchwork quilts. Using her expert tips and tricks and her step‑by‑step process to master a plan for the color work required to achieve transparency and light through fabric selection, readers will paper‑piece their way to a jewelry box of blocks. Beginning with nine traditional gemstone shapes, such as teardrop, marquis, and emerald cuts, each block progresses in complexity so readers can hone their skills as they work their way through the book. (book text via Lucky Spool — learn more here.)
The book itself is fascinating, delving into color theory and the physical makeup of gemstones while also sharing tips for fabric selection, paper-piecing, and chain-piecing. The big question is… what type of bling will you stitch first?
Andrea selected a gorgeous range of 50wt threads on small spools to go along with the book… essentially a go-to palette for any dazzling gemstone quilts. <3
To view this info on our website, click here. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.
GETTING TO KNOW ANDREA We’d love to hear a little more about you, your background, and how you came into this wonderful textile world.
I have always been a maker; my kindergarten report card even said that I loved crafts! For most of my life, I’ve been a creative dabbler and serial hobbyist — beaded jewellery, card-making, some silversmithing. I fell into architecture school in university as a way of melding many of my interests and my creativity became “formalized” through that education. It was so invaluable to realize how creative work could be part of larger discussions about economics, history, and social issues. I went on to be fascinated about how design can teach people about life and pursued an education degree as well. Design + education is where all of my professional pursuits have taken me. Just before I became a mom, I made my first quilt, but not until five years later did I really become a part of the textile world. I joined my local chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild and found a community of people that really drew me in. Being able to use my skills as a designer and an educator have really coming together in my new career.
Do you remember your very first quilt?
I made my first quilt in the advent of my first baby’s arrival. I had no idea about quilting or modern quilting but I knew that I wanted to design and make a keepsake for the baby. It looked fairly traditional with sashing, keystones, and borders but there were elements that were modern – colours, colour placement and a single block that was oriented differently than the rest.
Tell us a bit more about Gemology and how it came about.
In 2016, I made my first gemstone quilts as my children started to grow out of toddlerhood. It became a creative puzzle for me—how to transform the subtle tones of fabrics into the intricate geometries and sparkling light created by different gemstone cuts. Some of the intrigue was about the juxtaposition of rendering such a hard material in the softness of fabric and quilts and blowing up what is so small into something you large. That first year, I made 12 wall hangings, each representing a birthstone of the calendar year. Each finish was part art, part math and part self-care. Lucky Spool approached me two years later to produce a book with gemstone patterns, with geometric art of that sort becoming a trend in popular culture.
What do you love most about working with Lucky Spool?
I love that my voice as an artist and designer really shines through. There are lots of ways that jewel-themed quilts could be styled – maximalist, lots of bling and maybe even mystical. But none of those fit who I am. From prop styling down to font choice, I really felt that my vision and personality came through the photography and design of the book. Susanne Woods and the team at Lucky Spool really want to showcase who I am and that means a whole lot to me.
Do you have a favorite project from the book?
The quilt that is featured on the cover most prominently is Family Circle. I really wanted people to be able to have a family tree quilt design that they could personalize with birthstones of their family members. I tried many different ways to structure the idea of a family tree, but families come in all different shapes and sizes. Sometimes we are born into a family, sometimes they choose us, or sometimes we choose them. The idea of people surrounding us that love us, regardless of blood relation, comes together in the final design. The central round gemstone represents a single person with their family members’ birthstones around them.
When did you first discover Aurifil thread and what do you love most about it?
I started using Aurifil partway through 2017 and loved the lightness and strength of the 50 wt. I was foraying into some free-motion explorations and it seemed to give enough definition while hiding any of my flaws! For piecing, I love how it sinks into the fabric and disappears and gives nice flat seams.
Tell us more about the colors in you new Aurifil collection and how it fits in with your overall creative vision.
The collection is a muted rainbow of seven colours and three “faux metallics”. I chose the colours as light tones for the purposes of piecing and for quilting radiating colour from strong jewel colours. The light tone and the 50 wt make it ideal for paper piecing because if it happens to show through because of the stress on the bulky seams, it will blend in. The faux metallic colours were selected so that you can explore decorative free-motion metalwork around the gemstones to “set” them like a jewelry designer would.
Where can we find you this year – what’s coming up next?
The remainder of this year, I will be shifting gears back into making and exploration, just as I did with those first gemstones in 2016. I will be doing some experiments and trying to push myself as an artist to see where I can take my quilting. This August, I will be doing a week-long residency at a design college a few hours away, with access to a historical textile collection. I’m excited to see what inspiration I can find there.
To enter-to-win Andrea’s Gemology Thread collection, click HERE or on the image above to head to the Rafflecopter entry page. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have! Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Sunday, June 16! Winner will be randomly selected and notified via email. Good luck!
Andrea Tsang Jackson is a designer and textile artist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Like many modern quilters, her first encounter with quilting came when she was expecting her first child in 2011. Since then, she has been trying to find her voice through this textile artform. 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 design process from a variety of approaches; her training in life has taught her about the beauty in mess.
3rd Story Workshop is Andrea’s tiny sanctuary where she feels the freedom to try new things, play with the ideas that float around in her mind, and think with a clear head. Although her favourite colours to wear and design with are rather neutral, she loves to play with colour in her studio.