Based in the United Kingdom, Christine Porter’s quilting has been inspired by architecture, in particular historic buildings and colors of floor tiles. This is evident in her new book Viva Venezia! Timeless Quilts Inspired by Italian Mosaic Floors. In a recent interview with Porter, I learned she is a woman whose work is always geometric, precise, and exact but she is yearning to break out of that comfort zone.
What and when was your first experience as an artist?
I discovered the collection of antique quilts at the American Museum in Bath, England while I was studying for a Masters Degree in Education. Seeing those quilts absolutely changed my life and I knew I had to become a quilter. My grandmother taught me to sew and my father’s ancestors were tailors in the east end of London. Sewing is in my fingers.
What inspired you to make a career of your art?
I started teaching other quilters, became editor of British Patchwork & Quilting magazine, started running international quilting events and then was asked to write my first book. I really enjoy my international engagements and I can’t imagine my life without my quilting career!
How has your artistry changed over the years?
This is hard to answer. I have always made geometric quilts and I think I’m more daring and better at it than when I started! I am a traditionalist and not afraid to say so. I love to teach and to develop creativity in my students, I hope I am an inspiration to them.
What is your favorite aspect of your artistry and your artistic community?
I really enjoy the research for new inspiration, the travelling all over the world looking for historic architecture and marveling at the artistry from centuries ago. In my community, I love the fact that I am part of a world-wide faculty and I can meet up with teaching colleagues from Dubai to Dallas and beyond!
What is your favorite design or completed project and why?
My favorite quilt at the moment is Venetian Rainbow which features in my new book Viva Venezia! I love the bright colors and the fact that it was inspired by the original floor tile quilt I made from designs from Venetian floor tiles. It was fun to make and a change to use bright colors when I usually work in subtle batiks
Do you have a process or ritual for starting new projects?
There’s a lot of thinking time first of all, then working out the dimensions, drafting the design and the best part id chosing the fabric!
What happens when you finish a project…do you celebrate?
My husband, a professional photographer, always photographs the new quilt, but I’m susually running to a deadline so tidy up the studio and move on to the next project!
What new projects are on the horizon for you?
I have two or three more books I would like to write in particular one on Roman floor tiles.
What would you like to create that you have not tried yet?
My work is very geometric, precise and exact. I would like to get out of my comfort zone from time to time. I really enjoy going to Asilomar and similar places to be a student and let my creative spirit develop.
What memorable moments can you share about your travels or teaching experience?
I enjoy travelling and seeing new landscapes and experiencing new cultures. Within the quilting world I especially like to meet new people and meet up with old friends. It is a privilege and a pleasure to be able to enjoy my work so much
What books are you reading?
Obama’s books, historic novels: The Boleyn Girl and similar. I have just read Two Rivers which I loved. I read about two books a week.
How would you describe your personality?
Friendly, outgoing, happy, I wish I were more organized!
What makes you happy?
My husband, my family, especially the grandchildren. Being creative in my studio, travel and being inspired by architecture in particular historic buildings and colors of floor tiles and paintings within them. I also love photography, gardening and music, both classical and contemporary.
Thanks for sharing, Christine. Visit Christine’s website at www.christineporterquilts.com