“How did you do that?”
“You mean these aren’t paintings?”
These are phrases I overheard while standing near the booth where Sue Turnquist was demonstrating her art at the Georgia National Fair in Perry. I’ve been an admirer of Sue’s work for several years, but had never had the chance to meet her. We share a love of stitch, a passion for storytelling though cloth, and have trod some of the same soil in south Georgia. I was delighted to have a chance to finally talk with Sue and learn more about her quilts.
Sue began quilting in the 1990’s after being entranced at the state fair in Missouri. She bought a sewing machine and taught herself to quilt, beginning with traditional patterns. A class with Caryl Bryer Fallert changed her approach, and she’s become a star in the quilting world.
Sue’s background in veterinary medicine is reflected by the animals she depicts in her quilts. The selections you see in the photos are all Sue’s unique creations. She starts with a photo, has it commercially enlarged, then creates her pattern. Fabrics are fused to a background and she uses free-motion machine quilting to stitch it all down. Her attention to detail and precision cannot be denied. And the visual impact is amazing!
Her zebra quilt is entitled Do These Stripes Make My Butt Look Big? This quilt has won many awards, including the New Quilts from Old Favorites challenge by the American Quilter’s Society. This and other of Sue’s quilts have traveled and exhibited extensively, nationally and internationally. Sue travels to guilds to share her work and teach classes. I’m sure those audiences are as enthralled as the visitors I overheard in her booth. Her work is amazing!
Sue’s winners at the fair for this year’s competitons are shown below: