Journey’s

Ruth has asked me once again to contribute to this wonderful blog. Thank you for the opportunity! Tesi Vaara

I started making traditional quilts in 1986. I was first attracted to Amish quilts because of their simplicity. Back in those days the fabric choices were pretty limited and the Amish’s use of solid colors interested me.

My sister led me down the path towards making art quilts. She had taken a class from Katie Pasquini Masopust http://www.katiepm.com/ and really enjoyed it. Katie held her Alegre Retreats in Sante Fe, New Mexico (they are now held in Gateway, Colorado http://alegreretreat.com/) and we started attending that together. Wow! My art quilt journey began…

In the Fall of 2008, my sister and I began taking a Design Essentials course with Lorraine Torrence https://www.lorrainetorrence.com/. This course was the first time I was able to learn about design elements and principals in depth! I realized for the first time that I could design my own quilts versus following someone’s pattern or technique. It was very freeing and also a bit frightening! I was intrigued with a book about tiles called the Tile Quilt Revival and one day the idea popped into my head that I could take a photograph and use a different version of their technique to create my own idea.

I wanted to do a series of quilts about my life journey. I decided I would make the first one, Memory Lane, based off the first 20 years of my life. I printed photos of my family and friends onto cotton fabric, drew out my design based off a photo taken while visiting the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California. All the fabric was fused to Wonder Under, then cut out. I used some corduroy fabric taken from a rag rug woven by my grandmother for the fence rails. It took me over a year to figure out how to quilt it because each tile had to be quilted down. I had lots of fear that I would wreck it!

Memory Lane 2011 30″ x 22″

The second quilt in the series. Ebey Slough, covers most of my married life up until my divorce in 2009. I live in the Pacific Northwest, north of Seattle, in the small town of Stanwood. It is an area surrounded by waterways. I drove by this view on my way to work for almost 30 years. It never failed to amaze me. It was ever changing due to the tide and the weather. My ex-husband was an avid boater and fisherman so I got to spend a lot of time on the water in our little boat. It was one of the things I missed after my marriage ended, along with the Dungeness Crab he used to gather! Not many photos in this one. Too painful to include them and I wanted to remember the good times.

Ebey Slough 2012 37″ x 31″

I have almost always had a dog in my life so of course they had to have a place in the Journey’s series! Four Legged Friends was an exercise in using black and white fabrics and a design of my own. Each paw print has photos of the dogs in my life. This quilt was accepted into an exhibit in Brazil in 2016 and spent a year there. You can see these and other quilts I have exhibited on the Contemporary ArtQuilt Association website. https://www.contemporaryquiltart.com

Four Legged Friends 2013 42 1/2″ x 34 1/2″
Detail of Maggy, my yellow Lab

For more information on my journey, I have three interviews on the Create Whimsey blog. The third one also has Ruth’s interview from our Gail Harker adventure!

https://createwhimsy.com/projects/spotlight-tesi-vaara-art-quilter/

https://createwhimsy.com/projects/working-in-a-series-with-fiber-artists/

https://createwhimsy.com/projects/the-gail-harker-center-for-creative-arts-inspires-creativity/

Thanks again for letting me share a bit of my journey with you! I hope your journey is as blessed as mine is! Keep on creating! I love seeing all of your projects and processes.

Tesi Vaara

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11 Responses to Journey’s

  1. annielynrosie says:

    Tesi, your quilts are exquisite – they clearly show your journey – and we like the way you tackled the dog quilt it’s very cleverly designed.

  2. ruthlane says:

    Tesi, thanks for sharing part of your journey. Your quilts are awesome and I love that there are details that need to be viewed up close.

  3. Thanks for sharing your journey in such a unique creative way! Your quilts are awesome.

  4. What great Quilts and a wonderful journey.

  5. MICHAEL VAARA says:

    Looks like those college level calc. classes were put to use.

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