June 2019 – Norah McMeeking

It was my destiny! I'm descended from printers, sign painters and seamstresses (in alternating generations!). As soon as I met a sewing machine in Mrs. Regan's Home Ec. class, I was "hooked" and started making my own clothes and doing the family mending. I studied Graphics at the Rhode Island School of Design and went to work in publishing and advertising.

When I moved to central Illinois I saw my first quilts on a visit to the Chicago Art Institute and knew I had to learn how to make them. My first teacher taught me to do everything by hand but I soon had two small children and my quilting output amounted to a small stack of blocks. Later on, in California, I discovered that some people made quilts with my old favorite, the sewing machine. I was shown a rotary cutter. I never looked back.

Now, when I'm up late quilting, alone at my machine, I think about my grandparents and how inevitable it was that I become a quilter. The perfect marriage of graphics and sewing - I am a happy woman.

Since 1991 I've taught quiltmaking for the adult education division of our wonderful community college in Santa Barbara. My students keep me on my toes because they come to class year after year and I want to provide new ideas and techniques for them. (Go to my Quilt Gallery to see some of my students' work). Consequently, I have studied practically every quilt making trend, fad, shortcut and technique. My personal interests are landscape quilts and challenging piecing. I've learned from other teachers at conferences, workshops and quilt shows and will never stop appreciating the work of other quilters. Visit my links page to see some of the quilters I admire and those who have taught me.

Now, I've been given the opportunity to write a book! C&T Publishing has worked with me to produce Bella Bella Quilts: Stunning Designs from Italian Mosaics. I met some great artists and editors along the way and am so proud of the book we made together.

One last thing you might want to know about me is that I lived in England for a while. That fantastic year exposed me to a textile environment sustained by centuries of needlework traditions. It was flat out exciting to be there and I felt like Cinderella at the Ball. I am eager to share what I learned there, through tours, lectures and articles.