KiQ 6 – Quilting

[upbeat music plays] [sewing machine sounds] So recently I made a life-size, or to scale quilt of the Dr. Who tardis
police box thing That was really awesome because it was a little bit geeky and it satisfied my math thing because I had to go do research
on how big these things are and I had to make sure I could
physically walk through it if I needed to and all that kind of stuff. But on the flip side one of the patterns I designed –
I named it Gabriella, is like a sweet little pinwheel quilt and I could make those all day long, and I have made like ten or
eleven of them and it’s just this sweet little
baby quilt pinwheels with a little name
appliquéd on it… every time I finish one of those, do the last little hand-stitching on it, I’m very pleased with myself because it turned out a lot cuter than
I thought it was going to be So I kind of live a double life I manage a quilt store and that’s my 9-5ish job but on the side I am a quilt designer and I started this company called
dreams of sewing machines and it’s basically combining my love of quilting and my graphic design. I will sew a pattern and design it and then actually put it onto paper and sell that to quilt stores. [mellow music] Tying quilting and queerness together for a really long time didn’t mesh for me. I feel like for a long time I had two separate identities I had my queerness over here
and my quiltiness over here and people either saw me as queer and saw me as quilting and really didn’t mesh the two together… For a while, I really wanted to force my queerness and my quilting together and I would try to do that by like, making rainbow quilts and making, you know, doing things on purpose to
make sure that if one of my friends was having a baby
I gave them something that was very gender neutral. I struggled with that because that’s really outside what I personally wanted to make. Off camera: And would that be like
a baby quilt? Mmm-hmm!
Off camera: Or just a sample? I have this quilt project that I’m working on called the alphabet quilt project. The quilts that I make that are more sell-able – people look at them and they don’t
necessarily think that I made them because this does not match that. A lot of the times I feel like I have to
let my quilts speak for myself rather than my personality or my person. Because I think unfortunately there are
some people out there that would probably see me first and not look second at my work because of who I am. There are several gay male quilters who have to keep that identity so hidden and I’m kind of done with that. I really… I’m really trying to embrace my identity in spite of my job. [sewing machine sounds] Young women have brought in
their children sometimes into the retail store where I work and their children ask if I’m a boy or a girl. It always kind of made me smile because I was always just like,
well what do you think? And they would take a minute and they would figure it out. They would say, okay, well you’re wearing a skirt… [laughter] Okay, well, does that necessarily make me
feminine? I think to your eyes, yes, probably… But it’s interesting that you had to ask that even if I was wearing a skirt because that means that I did something to at least challenge that visual-ness. I may or may not own four or five different sewing machines
at any given point. Right now I’m working on my workhorse which is my Bernina Artista 630 which is highly computerized, does a little bit of everything – embroidery, decorative stitches, all that
kind of stuff. So if I make the quilt for somebody
that’s the name that it gets. So this is Juliet’s quilt, and we call her Ju Ju, and that’s Gabriella’s quilt I’m not very creative with the names. Martini because it looks like olives.
Off camera: Yeah, it totally does. For a long time I really struggled with both worlds – both the queer world and the traditional quilting world because the reception I was getting
from the queer world was “your work is amazing, but you’re not really doing anything to further the queer community… you’re not making the rainbow quilts you’re not doing the outrageous statement quilts.” And then the traditional world was seeing my work and saying,
“Oh, your work is so beautiful but why are you so queer?” And I struggled with that for so long because I really wanted to break into this world but I wanted people to stop making judgments so for a while, I began to forget my whole identity as a queer person just to find my identity as a quilter. [sewing machine sounds]
My love of quilting was diminished because I wasn’t being true to who I was. I used to try to be more masculine
than I was I tried to do all of the stereotypical
“butch” things. But as I get more and more into the quilting world, I’m like, “No, I love being a girl sometimes!” I like to cook! I wouldn’t mind being barefoot and pregnant! That would be fine! [laughter] But just don’t take away my male aspects as well. I like to build things! It’s interesting because I kind of do it all. and sometimes I think I… [soft music plays] I don’t really think about
the day-to-day queerness I just think, “meh, this is who I’m going to do today or who I’m going to be today.” And I’m fine with that. [upbeat music plays]