Fern Richardson

In her own words . . .

Like many women of my generation I grew up playing under quilt frames. But for my grandmother and mother, quilting was a necessity as well as an outlet for creativity I try to imagine sometimes how restrictive it would be to that creativity not to have access to fabric stores, as we know them and to be very limited as far as transportation was concerned.

When I started having my own family I quite naturally wanted to make something enduring as well as useful and put in a lot of time doing “original” pieces, which, however, did not endure.

By the time the children were grown and I had more leisure for pursuing my own interests again, quilting was making yet another renaissance. Marti Michell was a neighbor who first employed me in her fledgling business. As it turns out she was on the cutting edge of a movement that swept all of us along.

In 1991 I met people who steered me to my first quilt guild, Chamblee Star. It was small enough to be like family, encouraging, informative, supportive and yet challenging. One of the best things they did back in the early 90s was combine our dues for the Guild with those of the Georgia Quilt Council so you were automatically a member and did not have to think about dual bills. That meant, too, that one had access to teachers that a small guild would not be able to afford. Probably the best thing the Council provides, in my experience, though, is the bringing together of all that diversity under one umbrella.

The next year I added East Cobb Quilt Guild to my vitae and steadily expanded my options. (The “movement” was by then producing rotary cutters and boards along with an explosion in machine choices.) I’ve held various positions in both quilt guilds and the last couple of years was Secretary to the Council, which offers a wonderful opportunity to get to know people throughout the state.

In addition, the work we’ve been doing at the Tullie Smith Farm at The Atlanta History Center, has provided some of the best memories because it addresses the issues of informing the larger community as well as what I like to refer to as “intriguing” another generation to love our art/craft.

What I like best about the quilting world is it’s all encompassing nature and challenges. My personal preferences are for appliqué and I’ve been heard to complain about the trend away from hand quilting. Yet once again, it’s the all-inclusive nature that makes the quilting world so special.

December 2003