I’d like to think David Taylor and I have a lot in common. For instance, he was born in New England, and well, I lived in New England for a long, long time–23 years to be exact. We’re both admittedly slightly vertically challenged, and we also both started quilting the same year, in 1999. Unfortunately these very (loose) similarities end there because he is infinitely more gifted and talented in quilting than I am, and has since won numerous prestigious awards including the Fairfield Master Award for Contemporary Artistry from the International Quilt Association, Best of Show at International Quilt Festival/Chicago (twice), among many others.
Formerly a graphic design artist in the newspaper field, David Taylor is now a full-time art quilter who is also a highly sought-after quilt instructor for free-motion quilting and his unique pictorial appliqué technique.
David told me that he has recently moved from a one-bedroom apartment to a house with a brand new studio space, and as someone who is still (a year later) trying to put my studio together in my own home in Houston, I was eager to hear more about his new studio digs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Pokey: What was most important to you in designing your studio space?
David: The most important factor in my studio layout was having space for my fabric addiction. My previous apartment looked liked an episode from “Fabric Hoarders: Buried Alive.” When I visit other quilters’ studios, their fabric is stored in bins or baskets (with lids!). I really like being able to actually see my fabric. It makes my heart feel good to see all of the fabric and to be able to ‘pet’ it. I also wanted a really nice table with space for storage. My friend Jim Vail of Willow Creek Craftsmen custom built my table for my short ‘hobbit’ stature.
David: Being a borderline ‘hoarder,’ I didn’t discard anything. And, since I only work on one project at a time, as my work is so intensive, I don’t really have UFOs. I did find a Piecemaker’s calendar quilt that I started in 2003, before I had even considered evolving into a quilting and appliqué teacher, and when I only knew how to machine appliqué! I have loved the pattern since I bought it, and now I’m working on finishing it. There are 13 barn blocks. I have so far finished seven of them. I should be working on a new quilt, but I have a very empty wall in my new house that needs a large quilt hanging on it. And the barn blocks make my heart happy.
Pokey: What advice or tip do you have for someone wanting to design or revamp their studio space?
David: It’s worth every penny to make the investment in a studio. After years of just ‘making do’ with inexpensive furniture (I used to have an old metal drafting table from my graphic artist days as a sewing table and shelving came from the consignment store) and having my fabric stored in cardboard boxes, it’s quite a treat to have sturdy fixtures! The table doesn’t shake when I’m stitching with the serger! Having custom furniture made to fit the space I have has made a huge difference in my comfort level.
For those interested in creating pictorial quilts and would like to learn from David, he will be teaching his “Turn Photos into Quilts with Appliqué” workshop next month, February 22-24, at The Great Expectations Creativity Center in La Grange, Texas, and there are a few spots left. If interested, click here to learn more about this unique opportunity!