Wednesday December 30th 2015

A quilt by any other name

Do you have trouble naming your quilts? Sometimes I do, even though words and coming up with the right ones are a huge part of my life. Occasionally a quilt will practically name itself, with seemingly no input from me at all. But other times it’s a struggle. I think of something that seems likely and then I start second guessing myself. Is the title too pretentious? Too obscure? Just plain stupid?
Robbi Joy Eklow, whose wonderful quilt Steampunk Sublime 2 is on the cover of the August TQL, doesn’t seem to struggle with things like that. Despite being an incredibly creative and accomplished quiltmaker, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. So when we asked Robbi how she came up with such a cool name for the very hot quilt Alex and Ricky are holding in the picture on the cover, she answered with her characteristic humor.

“As for the ‘sublime’ part,” she begins, “I took a class in art school a few years ago and the concept of the sublime was discussed. I still don’t understand what they were talking about. (Or much else that was discussed in that class, I’ll have to admit.) I know I won’t explain steampunk well enough either, but it’s a genre of science fiction, imagining an age where everything is run by steam, instead of electricity. And in the Victorian period. With lots of gear and clock images. I love the word steampunk. It’s fun to say, isn’t it? And I already have a steampunk, so it needed an adjective and sublime goes well with it. And of course, the 2, because I already made this quilt once.”

Here’s another little surprise about Robbi. I was sure she’d gone to art school. Nope. “I went to Purdue and majored in Construction Management and Engineering.  I really should have gone into Mechanical engineering because I do love machines,” Robbi confesses. “I can fix many things if soldering is not involved. I am very good with screwdrivers. I like the way gears look, very mechanical, but round and graceful at the same time. I like the way I can make them interlock.”

Last summer I got to attend the taping of episode 1008 of The Quilt Show. The guest was Robbi Joy, and she was a delight. I hope you get a chance to watch it…Jan Magee, The Quilt Life

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