GMQG MEETING MINUTES Date: July 2020
Thanks to Susan Rink for generously allowing us to use her personal Zoom account for this month’s meeting. If you would like a recording of today's meeting, please contact email@example.com within 14 days and we will email it to you.
PROGRAM: LESLIE WHITE OF “BERNINA: WE’RE IN STITCHES”
Our featured guest, Leslie White, owner of Bernina: We’re in Stitches at 2310-A E. North St., Greenville, SC, since 2015, bought the 30-year-old Bernina business and moved it to its current location, an updated, bright and roomy space, dressed up by her own flowers out front. While she is a Bernina dealer, the “We’re in Stitches” addition to the name reflects who she and her staff are – sewists whose favorite things are to sew and laugh.
Leslie’s mother was a great seamstress, who made all of Leslie’s clothes in the days when it was cheaper to make your own clothes. As a tomboy, Leslie was not interested in sewing at all, but later as a stay-at-home mom, Leslie did sew many custom, home dec items. When her three boys had grown, she also had an exterior design business to put herself through nursing school. Her sister, a talented sewist, repeatedly encouraged her to learn quilting, though she resisted. After a catastrophic head-on collision, Leslie came home from the hospital in a wheelchair. Although greatly limited by her injuries, she could wheel up to a sewing machine, and that is when she started to quilt.
Leslie worked at the Bernina shop for a about a year. When the owner indicated she wanted to retire and sell, Leslie bought the shop. It has been some of the hardest work she has ever loved, and part of her success is counted in the many friends she has made.
Leslie said the hardest job is choosing fabric at market, simply because you can’t have it all and must stick to a budget. While she leans toward a modern aesthetic, she found an ally in longtime employee and educator, Carol Doak, who has an eye for traditional fabrics. Between the two, they balance out their selections to appeal to a broad range of customers. She noted as you visit different shops you will detect a range of fabric choices resulting in each store filling its own niche. Leslie does not buy many complete collections but, rather, parts of them she knows will go well with fabric she or her customers already have, especially exemplified in blenders. Some fabrics are hot and fly off the shelves, while others fall flat. There is no predicting since what appeals to each of us in terms of color and design is so subjective.
Leslie noted the average age of quilt shop owners in the U.S. is 60+. It takes a great amount of capital to open a small quilt store and is typically a second career. If you set out to do it as a hobby, it most likely will fail since you must make a profit to survive. In 2010 there were 5,500 registered small, brick and mortar quilt shops, and sadly, by April 2019, there were only 3,200 left. We have yet to see the effects of COVID-19 on that statistic. Prior to COVID the biggest struggle was competing with online shopping. While online prices may be lower, because they don’t have the overhead shops do, Leslie and staff feel they sell more by providing an experience in personalized customer service, classes in a comfortable classroom, socializing, fellowship in an inviting atmosphere, and inspiration on every wall. She is currently working towards having an online presence, but it is temporarily on hold due to the fallout of the pandemic, but promises she will get there.
Find Leslie at 8:45 a.m. on Facebook for what she calls “Coffee Live,” a time to share happenings, chit-chat a little and share what is new in the shop. Created as a means to stay connected during the quarantine, to battle isolation, Coffee Live has developed into making new friends nationally and internationally. She also conducts Live Sales on her Friday night happy hour.
Bernina will be kicking off two Machine Mastery classes at July’s end for new owners of the many machines she sold during quarantine. She also plans to schedule other fun classes through August as well, and means to have a normal class schedule by September.
When Leslie first bought her shop, she had no time to do any personal sewing, but over time and with a dedicated staff who pitch in to make shop samples, she is balancing it better. While she tests patterns, she also works in at least 15-20 minutes of personal sewing per night. The shop provides quilting services on the in-house longarm machine with custom free-motion, or software designs. She will open up longarm renting time to the public again in August. While following CDC guidelines, the Bernina shop is now fully open, not just by appointment. Remember, as Guild members we receive a monthly 20% discount when we show our Modern Quilt Guild membership card. Leslie also carries GMQG member, Cheryl Brickey’s, Mystery Quilt Kits.
Sandy Helsel reported there WILL be a Sew-In at the Bernina shop on Fri., August 21 from 10-4. Buy a ½ yd. of fabric as a thank-you to Leslie White to place in a drawing (winner gets all the fabric).
MEMBERSHIP and DIRECTORY:
We welcomed 29 members in our Zoom meeting this month. To date we have a total of 79 members.
Following the recent distribution of the digital Membership Directory, we were alerted to some omissions and changes. Please review your information in the Directory and email any discrepancies, changes or additions to Dagmar Theodore through firstname.lastname@example.org. We will distribute an updated/corrected version via the GMQG email, and this time it will be password protected. (Thanks to Sandy for bringing this to the Board’s attention.)
GMQG 2020 BLOCK OF THE MONTH:
The Modern Influencer for the July BOM presented by Cynthia Steward is the Gee’s Bend, improvisational quilts. The citizens of Gee’s Bend were isolated and self-taught quilters resulting in work of their own imagining without the constrictions of traditional “quilting rules.” Their quilts were bold, unconventional, used alternative grid work and use of space, and a great deal of recycled materials, all characteristics our current day modern quilts echo. According to the Gee’s Bend Quilting Collective run by Mary Ann Pettway, “this group of ladies developed a distinctive, bold, and sophisticated quilting style based on traditional American and African American quilts, but with a geometric simplicity reminiscent of Amish quilts and modern art.”
The “Housetop” style quilt, a style readily found among the Gee’s Bend quilts is the basis of this month’s block. According to soulsgrowndeep.org, the Housetop and Bricklayer block refers to any quilt dominated by concentric squares. Its all-around simplicity hosts many experiments in formal reduction and, at the same time, offers a compositional flexibility unchallenged by other multipiece patterns. The Housetop, from the composite block down to its constituent pieces, echoes the right angles of the quilt’s borders, initiating visual exchanges between the work’s edges and what is inside… It begins with a medallion of solid cloth, or one of an endless number of pieced motifs, to anchor the quilt. After that, Housetops share the technique of joining rectangular strips of cloth so that the end of the strip’s long side connects to one short side of a neighboring strip, eventually forming a kind of frame surrounding the central patch; increasingly larger frames or borders are added until a block is declared complete.” Read more about these dynamic quilts and the BOM on the blog or click here for PDF instructions.
Cindy Lange coincidentally reported the Berkley Art Museum is celebrating the donation of approximately 3,000 quilts by African American Artists, and is hosting a 70-minute virtual tour of quilts by Rosie Tompkins now through Dec. 20. More information is available at https://bampfa.org/program/rosie-lee--tompkins-retrospective.
Please post or email photos of completed BOMs for the Quilt Quark Gallery (“QQG”) to be shared at the following meeting.
WILDACRES RETREAT – 2021:
Sandy Helsel reported Wildacres knows we are interested in having our next Retreat there (hopefully) during one of the last two weekends in April 2021. We typically receive our assigned dates late October/early November. Registration begins in January 2021.
On behalf of Faye, Emily Pitman reported Quilts for Kids quilts are still being collected offsite. Please upload or email your quilts prior to passing them on to Faye to share with the Guild. Questions concerning the program and drop off/pickup may be directed to Faye Jones at email@example.com.
Masks are still needed for Project Host! Past recipients sent heartfelt thanks. For details, contact Faye.
GMQG 2020 ANNUAL CHALLENGE, “RE-PURPOSED”:
Click here for a Very Brief Entry Form to identify your entry:
Drop off at Bernina: We're in Stitches Wednesday, July 29th and Thursday, July 30th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (make sure to leave yourself some time to shop!)
ATTENTION: We are looking for a volunteer to photograph and post photos of entries, and an impartial person to judge the Annual Challenge quilts. If you are interested or know of someone who might do either, please contact Faye Jones at her email given above.
GMQG 2020 WORKSHOPS:
All 2020 workshops are cancelled. Cheryl will tear up members’ checks given to her for workshop reservations. Cheryl will directly contact those who made a cash deposit.
If you would like to join in on Cheryl’s quilt along, go to
QUILT QUARK GALLERY / SHOW AND SHARE:
The Zoom version of Show and Share took place courtesy of QQG submissions. We saw beautiful quilts made by Cindy Lange, Johnnie McKenzie, Dianna Wiggins, Dagmar Theodore, Susan Rink quilted by Rita Sassone, and Sandy Helsel along with 2 bags she made for her daughters.
Please email photos of your quilts (including Quilts for Kids), BOMs and other projects to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share it as part of our Quilt Quark Gallery on the blog. We will also share them during the following month’s meeting.
We will conduct the August 1st meeting via Zoom. This time it will be open from 12:30 p.m.– 3:30 p.m., giving members a half-hour prior to, and a half-hour after the standard (1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.) meeting time for socializing. Sign on using the link provided by email the day before to attend.
Travis Seward reported the Greenville Center for Creative Arts is officially open and allowing attendees (with masks) inside to see the ARTalk: Modern Design Lab (“MDL”) Quilt Invitational Exhibition through July 29. Members of the MDL, Paige Alexander, Cheryl Brickey, Faye Jones, Valorie Kasten, Cindy Lammon and Travis Seward, in addition to featured guest artists Jack Edson, Yvonne Fuchs, Connie Kincius Griner, Nicole Neblett, Sylvia Schaefer and Michelle Wilkie, have quilts in the exhibition. For further information, go to artcentergreenville.org or see the July 14th presentation LIVE on Facebook.
We have a new Facebook page for sharing photos, links, and information. The page is open to GMQG members only and no official business will be conducted, since not every member has a Facebook account.
If members come across a link of an interesting online quilt exhibit they would like to share, they may forward it to Dagmar through email@example.com. We will share it at the next meeting.
Carolina Shop Hop has moved from July 10-25 to September 11-26, 2020. See carolinashophop.com/