I had the pleasure of having my first ever Folk School Quilting class taught by one firecracker of a quilter, Audrey Hiers of Blairsville, GA. This lovely lady has been picked to be featured in McCall’s “Quilting” Magazine 6 times and her “Crazy Dazies” designs is a McCall’s pick of their top 16 scrap quilts. She is teaching “Appalachian Holiday Quilts” during Holiday in the Mountains Week, December 7-13. I caught up with Audrey about quilting and more. Enjoy our chat!
CP: How did you get so involved in the quilting world?
AH: Probably because of the quilting genes in the family. Both of my grandmothers quilted and although I never saw either of them at the frame, I do believe in heredity! You could say I fell into it, and once I tried it, I got hooked big time. I seriously started quilting in the early 80s and taught my first class in 1987.
CP: Has quilting changed since then?
Comparing quilting 1980s to now is like the difference between night and day. For the most part we still use fabric and that’s about it.
CP: What’s your favorite holiday motif?
AH: My favorite holiday motif is a sprig of freshly cut pine with holly sprigs mixed in. Alone, it would be a holly leaf.
CP: How is Appalachian style quilting different from quilting in other regions? Does it have any distinctive characteristics?
AH: Early on the quilting in this region was a necessity. It wasn’t an art form, or for show, it was needed. Fabric used was from anything available and patterns often were string quilts or one piece block quilts.
Of course that has changed and we are beginning to see more artistic quilts being designed. We still are designing quilts to be used on beds, but even those have so much more detail about them. I believe each section of the country has it’s own flavor, with the western states doing things that we’ll get around to maybe 10 years later.
CP: What are you working on right now?
AH: I am working on a tilted scrap quilt and have fallen in love with string quilts. I also want to start working on some quilts using vintage 30’s fabric (feed sack). And, I just got a huge stack of fabric from I believe the 60s – 70s and will do something with that. That time period was lacking in quilt making, so I’ll have to do some heavy research. I believe those fabrics were all made in the USA and to me that’s a huge plus.
CP: You’ve been featured in McCall’s Quilting several times, that’s impressive! I hear you’ve got another feature coming up?
Yes, I’ve got another quilt to be published in the Spring Issue of McCall’s Quilting. I’ve named it “Wild Flowers Don’t Care Where They Grow,” but I doubt they will use that title as it’s a title of a song written by Dolly Parton. If you have a chance listen to the words, it’s so me.
CP: What is the Misty Mountain Quilters’ Guild? What do you all do?
AH: The Misty Mountain Quilters’ Guild is a group of quilters who meet once a month. It is the mission of our guild to educate, share, promote and keep alive the art and traditions of quilt making. I would go out on a limb and say that is the mission of all quilt guilds.
Our guild is also very active in providing necessities to the local centers for abused women, quilts to literally hundreds of children, and nursing homes in our area. We have also made and given countless numbers of quilts to veterans through the Quilts of Valor program. We have members and serve Cherokee and Clay counties in NC; Union, Towns, and Fannin counties in GA.
CP: What’s your favorite thing about the Folk School?
AH: My favorite thing about the Folk School is to be a “tiny speck” in the gifted faculty so that I can help pass along the wonderful art of quilting. I also love meeting people with like interests from all over the world.
Upcoming Quilting classes with Audrey Hiers at the Folk School:
Appalachian Holiday Quilts
December 7-13, 2014
A Disappearing Nine Patch featuring winter-evoking fabrics in two different block sizes is our project, and the sets are endless! If you want a bed-size quilt to keep you cozy this winter, start it. Or choose to create a wall hanging with appliquéd winter scenes. With a lesson on effective use of color and value, your quilt will “sparkle.” Students of all levels are welcome, but basic machine-sewing skills are helpful.
“Crazy Dazies” – Tilt and ‘Qué!
March 15-20, 2015
Explore a simple way of tilting blocks for an asymmetrical and lively look to your quilt. This is a different method than you may have tried in the past and will save a lot of fabric. While we’re at it, how about a bit of raw-edge applique to apply vibrant and fun daisies? You may choose any size project you wish, from wall hanging to large quilt. All levels are more than welcome. Some sewing machine experience and rotary-cutting skills are helpful.
Cory Marie Podielski is a freelance graphic designer, photographer, and writer for the John C. Campbell Folk School. She has been writing for the Folk School Blog since 2012 and enjoys interviewing artists, musicians, and craftspeople. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the banjo, dancing, printmaking, playing in clay, and assisting in Folk School bread baking classes. podielski.com