I recently had the pleasure of an interview with Limerick quilter, Paula Rafferty. We all that a story when it comes to how we got started quilting and we think it’s fun to chat with fellow quilters and learn about their quilt journey.
PB: So Paula, tell us…how long have you been a quilter? We’d love to hear about some of your early quilting experiences.
PR: I joined the Irish Patchwork Society in 2002 after collecting fabrics and books for several years. Trained as a fashion designer so working with fabrics wasn’t new to me but quilting was. I attended lots of workshops by both local and International teachers. I really leaned towards Art Quilts and each quilt I created was a learning process, exploring new techniques, finding out which I liked.
PB: How has your quilting evolved to now? Is there a type of quilting that you enjoy the most?
PR: I love foundation piecing, and photo transfer techniques. I tend to work in two ways: 1) creating art quilts for exhibition ( I need deadlines to get anything finished !) and 2) what I call therapy quilts ( traditional patterns, where I can cut up loads of fabric into simple shapes and just enjoy the therapeutic nature of sewing without thinking, letting the colours and patterns find their own way!) Did a rough count over christmas and I’ve made about 150 quilts in the last 12 years, and that’s just the ones I can remember.
Here are just a few of Paula’s works.
PB: Do you design your own quilts?
PR: Yes, I think that will all the work that goes into creating a quilt, it should be original. Being inspired by other quilts is fine, but I like to add my own touch to each piece that I create. I like to work in series, and usually have about three or four on the go at any one time.
PB: When choosing fabrics, are there specific kinds of fabrics that you are drawn to more than others?
PR: I love to dye and print my own fabrics, I’m at my happiest when I’m elbow deep in dyes or paints. I adore the serendipitous effect of working with dyes, not knowing what the end product will look like, just enjoying the process.
PB: I am fascinated with the prison art project that you are involved in…can you tell us a bit about that?
PR: I have been a full time art teacher in Limerick prison for the last fifteen years. I mainly work in textiles but over the years have worked with mosaic and stained glass, felting and various printmaking techniques, drawing and painting. As my own quilting skills have developed, I have passed them on to my students. I believe my enthusiasm for textiles has been passed on to my students, allowing and facilitating them to create work they never thought possible. I started to show the work in quilt shows several years ago and the response has been amazing. It is a privilege to be able to show something positive that comes out of such a negative environment.I believe we are all capable of amazing things, the only thing that stops most of us is our own self doubt.
Thank you, Paula, for visiting with me!