Welcome to April’s Member Spotlight! This month, learn all about the lovely and talented Laurraine Yuyama, who blogs at PatchworkPottery.
When did you start quilting?
I am a self-taught quilter and have been designing and sewing my own quilted crafts since 1997 when out-of-the-blue I decided to make a quilt for a pregnant co-worker at the frame shop where I worked. The small forest quilt was a simple zig-zag appliquéd Noah’s Ark scene of pairs of animals that I had fussy cut from animal fabric. I immediately fell in love with the idea of painting pictures with fabric instead of watercolour which I had done for many years.
Why do you quilt?
I love it. I love colours, patterns, and textures, and bringing it all together in harmony. I love designing. I love creating. I love buying fabric (I probably have way more than I will ever use)!
What is your favourite project?
My favourite project is the Quilted Teacup and it is the most popular of my patterns. I could sew an entire teacup collection for myself if I had the time!
Last year, Kerry Green of verykerryberry in the UK recently asked if she could create my teacup in Liberty fabrics. The cup now sits in Liberty Café in London with my label on the bottom and anyone interested is directed to my blog! I think it’s quite exciting!
Where do you create?
I am lucky to have a bright room in the attic of our rented house to call my studio although it can get quite hot in the summer! I painted the walls my favourite colour of aqua blue (how could I resist a paint called Garden Party?!) and filled it with handmade items and supplies to inspire me. My sewing desk now faces the window so I can look out the large window and the beautiful trees and bridge across the river. My daughter and our fluffy cats are my helpers – Claire likes to design and Percy & Opal like to re-arrange blocks! I create, blog sporadically and sell my pattern booklets online from my bright attic studio in New Westminster.
Where do you find inspiration?
I am greatly inspired by tea, Japanese country patchwork, and the online craft community where I am known as PatchworkPottery. My style has been described as “country chic” which mixes elements of old and new to create a sophisticated timeless quality.
I like to incorporate machine-appliqué, hand-embroidery and buttons along with at least a splash of linen in everything I make. I enjoy combining elements from both my passions of patchwork and pottery– creating dishes with patches of intricate patterns, and quilting three-dimensional teapots and teacups. A few months after we moved away from our old neighbourhood and the community centre where I took pottery for 5 years, I must have really missed pottery because when I looked down at the fabric on my sewing desk I decided right then and there that I would create a fabric teacup & saucer! Hence my company name– PatchworkPottery.
What is your favourite tool/notion?
My new Janome Horizon! Quilting on it is a dream. I also absolutely love buttons & crocheted cotton trim & wood beads.
What’s one thing we might not know about you?
I suppose there are a few things! I have a black belt in karate although it’s been many years since I have practiced. I was also a picture framer for 12 years. I’m really shy. I’m secretly being converted from muted calm country quilter to a bright wild modern quilter… thanks VMQG :o)
What do you do when you’re not creating/quilting?
When I’m not sewing or jotting ideas down in one of my many sketchbooks, I like to spend my time gardening in our private and somewhat wild backyard filled with flowers, kale, tomatoes & Japanese squash. In the summer, we like to go to the river to pick thimbleberries and blackberries. I also enjoy baking healthy and delicious treats to serve my friends who come for tea regularly. I have a growing collection on teacups & teapots which have a special home in “the tea room”. It’s an extra multi-purpose room in our house that serves as a teahouse, dining room, game room, craftroom & karate dojo for my husband.
Thank you, Laurraine!