Island Batik Ambassador Spotlight: Renee Atkinson, Pink Tulip Quilting
Say hello to our new Ambassador Renee Atkinson at Pink Tulip Quilting!
Renee is a batik believer! Her collection of batiks assists in the design of unique art quilts, fabric collages, and other quilted creations including her Gnumerous Gnome collection! Experienced sewist and designer, Renee loves collaborating with clients and other quilters!
We asked Renee about her creative process and here’s what she told us:
Island Batik: How did you start sewing and who inspired you to learn it?
Renee: My grandmother started teaching me embroidery at the age of 7, I started quilting at 13 making a crazy quilt bolero which I still have today over 50 years later. The fabric pieces are so tiny, I have no idea how I put that together.
Is there a sewing technique that you thought you would never try and then fell in love with it?
Curved piecing – it helps to take a class. I took mine with Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts and learned so much!
What were your beginner mistakes in quilting?
Hmm – there were so many! I think my breakthrough moment came at a visit to a Gee’s Bend exhibit; realizing that my need for perfection was hampering my creativity! There were these imperfect quilts in a museum and they were beautifully unique and spoke largely!
What was the incentive to start blogging or posting on social media?
I love to write, all my poetry is on-line, I have a blog on being a Grandmother to a Down Syndrome child and several genealogy blogs on my work in ancestry so it just came natural. I thought that I could add something to the conversation.
What is your sewing peeve?
Folks asking me if I can do hemming for them!
What block or pattern could you make over and over again and not get tired of it?
Scrap work/crazy quilting!
What is your favorite notion or gadget that you use every time you sew?
My scissors, especially Karen Kay Buckley.
What do you do that you hope the “quilt police” never find out about?
My batting patching on small pieces. 🙂
What inspires your design process?
The natural world inspires my fabric collage pieces but the fabric can tell a story for quilts. I like quilts to have a mood statement (fun, comforting, sense of place or time) where I usually start with a focal point block and work the design from there.
Do you have a favorite quilt that you have made and why is it your favorite?
I love that crazy quilt bolero I made at 13.
What do you watch or listen to while you are sewing?
I usually do audible or have music playing which can range from classical, blue grass, swing, 70s-90s, jazz. I usually do not sew in silence.
What are your most and least favorite parts of quilting, and why?
Favorite is the design aspect – I rarely follow a pattern so I love seeing my idea come to life:). Least favorite is sandwiching – I need a bigger space!!!
Where do you sew?
My studio is a spare bedroom where every inch of space is dedicated to what I do creatively which includes not only quilting and fabric collage but painting and beadwork. My favorite fabrics take up some space but the majority of my fabric hoard is in over 16 totes in my finished basement where my completed projects inventory and Etsy ship station is also.
How do you store your fabrics?
The totes for yardage in the basement are color coded except for smaller containers which hold precuts or pieces, intended for certain projects. In my studio I have two drawers for batiks, a tote for Yukata cotton and Ikat wool, a tote for my fabric collage and another tote for batik scraps.
What are your other hobbies?
I am a poet, performing with two groups in my area. My mixed media artwork has been displayed at many galleries in the Tri-County Area. I have been expanding and incorporating my poetry with all my work. The beadwork I do has been on the shelf for a while but was recently incorporated in the Buried Poem Quilt’s companion piece.
If you could choose an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Hawaii – who does not want to go to paradise!
Do you have a pet that “helps” you sew?
My cat, Nickie, an adoptee, is very aloof. He wakes me, lets me know when it is time to eat, and says good night. He stays out of the small studio which for me is just fine:)
Be sure to follow Renee on Instagram and Facebook and subscribe to her blog to see what she makes with Island Batik fabric this year!
To see the 2023 Island Batik Ambassador team, please visit: https://islandbatik.com/2023-ambassadors/
Stay tuned as we introduce you to more talented Island Batik Ambassadors and let us know in the comments below what else you want to ask Renee!