From Collage to Quilt with Sarah Hibbert

Have you met our friend Sarah? Sarah Hibbert is a remarkably creative artist and quilter based in the UK and if you’ve been following along with her on Instagram as we have, you’re likely completely enamored with her process.

Sarah Hibbert – image courtesy of Lucky Spool Media

Sarah has been quilting for years, but only recently started to play around with shifting from one medium to the next. Her technique of transitioning paper collage to quilt design is fascinating and opens up a whole new world of creative expression.

A simple paper collage turned quilt via @quiltscornerstone

From Collage to Quilt is her debut book with Lucky Spool Media, making its way out into the world next month. The book holds patterns, of course, but it’s truly so much more than that. Thoughts on process and design, personal stories and anecdotal tips… It reads more like your new favorite coffee table book, with your new favorite quilt inspirations artfully inserted for good measure. We’d highly recommend that you pre-order this beauty via the button below!

Sarah curated the most lovely selection of spools to help see the featured quilts from start to finish and, as such, we’re delighted to present her debut Aurifil thread collection.

At once soft and bold, From Collage to Quilt features 10 Small Spools in 50wt, 28wt, and 40wt — perfect for piecing, quilting, embellishing, handwork, and so much more.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Sarah – – we’re so excited to check out your new book, From Collage to Quilt. We know that some of our readers may be meeting you for the first time, so to get started, we’d love to really introduce you! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in this wild industry?
I have been quilting for over 30 years and I am so enjoying the style I am now creating.  I am purely a part time quilter using my kitchen table as my studio and the floor as my design wall.  As I work full time, I find I must snatch time slots in to create my quilts, this can be extremely early in the morning or late into the evening. But when I am working on a piece it can take over my thought processes and home/work life takes a back seat!

Describe your ideal space for creating a new quilt– is there music playing? Daylight or dim lighting?
I live in a small top floor apartment, which is a converted factory, so I really do benefit from large windows which give me excellent light to work with. I enjoy listening to audiobooks whilst I’m quilting but when working on a piecing project, I tend to have quiet music playing in the background, anything from Classical to James Taylor to John Mayer. But then again, I have been known to turn soul music up very loud! 

Blue No. 57, image via @quiltscornerstone, photography by @depthmphotography

Throughout your artistic career, have you ever had one of those ‘aha’ moments when something just clicked and you knew exactly your best way forward?
Together with quilting I have always enjoyed creating small paper collages, made up of various magazine cuttings, tickets and food labels. These are my stress busters, so to speak, just in those spare moments in the morning when waiting for the kettle to boil. About 5 years ago a real ‘aha’ moment came when I pasted some random half circles down on my card and separated them up with a small thin slice of paper. 

To me they very much looked like macaroons and I thought it would make a great quilt. From that I took the initial design of 8” square to a 40” square quilt.  This quilt has been used as the promotional poster for ‘The Festival of Quilts’ for both 2020 and 2021.

I have been working on a number of the collage series since then, refining the technique to increase the size of the collage using a 1” grid and transferring this to a larger grid to reach the finished size.  I love seeing the contrast of the paper collage to the fabric quilt alongside.

From Collage to Quilt is not your typical quilt book– patterns are shared, yes, but there is so much more. Anecdotes, inspirations, methods to all the madness. How did you find your direction and can you hint at one of your favorite stories within?
From my original collage technique, I took the leap of faith to share my ideas and inspirations in From Collage to Quilt.  On talking through the idea with Lucky Spool Media publisher Bruce Darlaston, I wanted to create a different type of quilt book, rather than a pattern book.  Yes, it has patterns taken from the collages, but it also includes chatty chapters of my journey into the quilting community. It covers my background with a graphic designer Father who introduced me to all aspects of art together with insights of home life. One of which covers the question: do you wash your fabric and how I learnt the lesson– ‘yes, if you are unsure of the source!’  With this in mind, I explain how I managed to dye my small grandson blue when he fell asleep on one of my early quilts!

We know that you draw from a wide range of inspirations when creating your quilts– can you tell us the story behind your cover quilt?
I enjoy flicking through magazines not necessarily for the articles, but the colour combinations that have been featured on the pages. One advert that really leapt out to me was from a T-shirt company with their stack of colour choices. This really appealed to me, so I tore out the page, randomly folded it into a wedge and cut at angles. This gave me a selection of interesting shapes to place with. I stuck these down and created a small collage. 

From this design I increased the size to create the quilt ‘Monday Blues’ and it became the cover of my book. The quilt design was split for the cover to incorporate half paper and half fabric to bring the marriage of them both.

When did you first start using Aurifil threads and do you find that they add something in particularly to the finished versions of your quilts?
I have been using Aurifil for many years, but not to its full potential until lately. I have always used it for piecing and straight-line walking foot quilting. With introduction of the lovely heavier threads within the Aurifil range I am now adding additional quilt lines and few extra spots of colour. With my hand quilting pieces, I have always used the heavier weight of Aurifil. My calling card on these pieces is to add two red stitches, and the Aurifil Floss colour number 2250 fits the bill perfectly.

For someone just getting started with collage, what direction might you give?
My quilting tip comes from the amazing Katharine Hepburn, who is very much my hero:

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”

You have a special connection with QuiltCon– we’d love to hear more about that and what being here, after 2 years away, means to you.
I have been attending Quiltcon each year since Savannah in 2017 and I was swept away with the whole buzz of the event. Everyone I met was so encouraging and happy to share their knowledge. Quiltcon really did light that spark within me and helped me to have the courage to take my work way out of my comfort zone. Even though the Faculty did an amazing job keeping us all connected last year and making such a unique event, there is nothing like seeing the quilts up close, not to mention finding the makers and letting them know how much you enjoy their work. I will be buzzing this year in Phoenix, like a kid in a candy store, so apologies now to those quilters I have yet to meet, and for pouncing on them.

Any last words before we say goodbye?
Going back to the publication of my book, I very much want to convey the joy of just playing with paper and seeing the patterns you can create from simple magazine pages. If they lead you onto making a quilt or wall hanging then that’s a huge bonus. Thank you to the team of Aurifil for letting me share a small part of my journey. Happy Stitching.

via @quiltscornerstone

Thanks so much to Sarah for taking the time with us! We’re absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to share a small piece of QuiltCon and From Collage to Quilt with her! 

Website | Quilts Instagram | Collage Instagram

“I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.”
― Saul Bass – 1920 – 1996 American Graphic Designer

This quote by Saul Bass really does resonate with me. The quilts and collages I make are very much for me and if someone likes my work, that’s a huge bonus.

I have been extremely lucky in my quilting journey, from the early days of paper piecing through to creating unique collage quilts that have gained entrance into Quiltcon USA and into private and public collections. I owe a huge thanks to quilters and artists who have encouraged me with my work to push myself to the limits. 

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