Il est notre plaisur de vous presenter Kirsty Cleverly of Bonjour Quilts! Manifique quilt designer, fabric addict, photography and embroidery lover!
What are your short and long term goals?
For the short term: more patterns! I’m still in love with strong, geometric patterns and want to get a few more out there in the market. I also want to keep helping people with their quilting through free tutorials and technique posts on my blog.
Long term: Sometimes I think about a book, but I think it’s more likely I’ll delve into online courses. It’s such a great way to learn, having someone up close on your screen showing you the ropes. It makes quilting accessible to everyone with a computer, particularly those without a local quilt store or who feel uncomfortable taking a class in person.
What drew you to designing quilts? Tell us a bit more about your history.
I started quilting as many do – to make something for one of my children 7 years ago. I really enjoyed the process and wanted to learn and do more. Blogging was going strong in those days and it was so much fun to make things and share them through my own blog and on Flickr. I started with some tutorials and then branched out into patterns that I sell in my online store. So my hobby has now turned into a small business. I’m an engineer by trade and work in a very male-oriented job so it’s interesting (and probably not surprising) that I have another side of my life where I need to be creative and work in a very female-oriented industry.
What is your design process like? Any tips for people who are interested in doing something similar?
My design process involves a lot of doodling and messing around, sometimes on paper and sometimes on the computer. I’ll usually start with a shape or a traditional block and then I’ll play around with it – altering size, rotation, layout and pattern repeat. Lines get erased or added, and the effects of colour and colour value are always foremost in my mind. Sometimes a design doesn’t really appear until I add the colour, but usually I have a design before I consider the fabric. The playing will keep going on and on until I find an iteration that makes me happy. Often what I end up with bears little resemblance to what I started with! I really enjoy working within constraints, I find it helps me think more creatively. Being asked to only use a certain fabric or pattern seems to fire up dormant areas in my brain. I thoroughly recommend imposing constraints on yourself or participating in a contest/challenge when you need to force your creativity to think outside the box.
What is your current personal sewing focus?
Personally, I’d like to spend more time sewing garments. I have a handful of patterns and fabric that I’ve bought but still haven’t sewn – they’re sitting in my cupboard making me feel guilty. There are so many gorgeous garment fabrics, rayons, voile, chambrays, etc that I’d love to experiment with.
What else do you enjoy doing outside of quilting?
Between work, quilting and family (husband and 4 children) there’s not a lot of time for other things, but I love to read and to keep healthy. We live in a beautiful part of the country (the Sunshine Coast) so it’s easy to fit in plenty of walking, running and swimming if you’re that way inclined. I’m not a big TV watcher, but I really love going to the cinema. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen very often, but once the kids get older, I’ll be back with a vengeance.
I really love the community spirit that permeates the online quilting world, the support, encouragement and knowledge-sharing is so inspiring. As much as I love my online interactions, there’s nothing quite like getting together in a room with a bunch of likeminded folks. Quilting classes, guild meetings, markets and retreats are so energising and just ridiculously good fun. Quilty peeps are the best.