Wendy Hill, Maker
My fundamental identity is of someone who makes things. This goes back to my earliest memories of drawing with my father and crafting with my mother. My Home Economics teachers broke me of my bad self-taught habits while encouraging my creativity; I made a bread wrapper raincoat, a vinyl bikini bathing suit and a faux-fur coat with bound buttonholes while learning solid sewing skills. When I made my first quilt at age 19, I asked "how hard can it be?". It's not hard, but it takes a lifetime to find the quilt within.
Someone Who Makes Things
Paper crafts, drawing, painting, 3D pop-ups, cross-stitching, embroidery, weaving, sewing (clothing, stuffed animals, costumes), quilting, whatever-I follow my ideas, learning what I need to learn along the way.
Encouraging My Creativity
I credit Mrs. Birkenbuel, my high school Home Economics teacher, for everything I know about sewing. We were allowed a lot of freedom to choose our sewing projects, but we had to learn the skills to do it right (or as right as possible). Make a smocked dress? Sure, but the smocking will be up to par. Use horizontal stripes in a dress with a zipper? Go ahead, but those stripes will line up. It was the perfect combination of learning basic skills plus with the freedom to try anything.
First Quilt At Age 19
I lied about being a quilt maker so I could get a booth at the Artifactory in Palo Alto, California. I really did ask myself 'how hard can it be to learn to quilt?'. I've been pursuing the answers ever since. I stocked my booth with some baby quilts and cute quilted accessories. One day, a Stanford University student walked in and ordered a custom quilt: a replica of the floor of the Taj Mahal, 120" by 130", in black and white corduroy. There was no one to tell me I couldn't or shouldn't do it. But I did have the voice of Mrs. Birkenbuel whispering you can do it in my mind.
It Takes a Lifetime
Athletes talk about The Zone but makers experience this too. When immersed in the creative process, deep in the optimal zone of concentration and discovery, time stops moving. We ask what if questions and handle the materials until something appears out of nothing. It's not hard to start making things, but for many of us, it's impossible to stop. We must keep searching for that quilt-or some other object-within.
Email: wdlhill [at] gmail [dot] com