Featured Designer - Lilabelle Lane Creations March 01 2017 2 Comments
I first got to know our next Featured Designer, Sharon Burgess of Lilabelle Lane Creations through her Instagram feed. Her creations are stunning and so very inspiring. After having spent some time (albeit by email) interviewing Sharon, I was even more amazed by her talent and touched by her stories. I look forward to meeting her in person one day!
But for now, let's get to know Sharon!
Jen: Where were you born and raised?
Sharon: I am an English Born Aussie Girl. I was born to English parents in Aldershot in the UK and moved to Australia at a young age with my Mum, Dad and little Brother. Most of my life I lived in the beautiful historic town of Echuca, along the Mighty Murray River, and I now live 1-1/2 hours down the road in stunning Bendigo which is steeped in history from its Gold Rush heritage. We are surrounded by beautiful architecture and a vibrant café life which combines the history of the town beautifully with our modern lifestyle.
Jen: Tell us about your stitching journey. How did you learn to sew? To quilt? What drew you to English Paper Piecing?
Sharon: Growing up I was witness to my Mum spending many hours at her sewing machine sewing clothing and even a wedding dress. My Dad used to drag our dinning room table into the lounge room to paint so the creative gene was always there for me, but it was not until after the birth of my 4th child that I borrowed my Mum's sewing machine in a need for another craft. Whilst I had her machine, I visited one of my local quilt shops, signed up to a beginners quilting class and was hooked. That was about 7 years ago, and now, not a day passes without my needle or thread meeting in some way.
Early in my quilting journey, I was introduced to another Aussie Designer, Leanne Beasley. In one of her magazine publications, she had a pattern for a simple EPP Hexagon Quilt. This technique was new to me at the time so I decided to give it a go. I fell in love with the portability of English Paper Piecing and having a young family at the time, I found it perfect for the little snippets of sewing time I had available to me. My true love for English Paper Piecing developed when I first saw the cover quilt on the Willyne Hammerstein book “Millefiori Quilts”. I was looking at this muted tone quilt on the cover, but in my mind I was seeing brights and the chance to explore fussy cutting. When I started my La Passacagalia, it was not as known or as popular as it is today; it was relatively unheard of so I was not able to search a hashtag like you can today and be so inspired. Also, before I started this quilt I was not even aware of who Tula Pink was and there for did not own a single piece of her fabric. It was an exciting journey to begin upon.
For me now English Paper Piecing is a true love, maybe even bordering on an addiction. I love the chance to take a designer's fabrics, play and fussy cut it in a way that makes that fabric mine.
Jen: So, how did Lillabelle Lane Creations come to be?
Sharon: In a previous life, I was a “reborn artist”. When my youngest child was born, I changed my nursery name to “Lilabelle Lane Reborns". The Lilabelle is derived from my youngest child's name ‘Lily Isabelle’. For those not familiar reborn, this art form is where you take a vinyl sculpt of a baby and paint it, layer upon delicate layer and bring it to life. The aim is to make the sculpt as realistic as possible. Even every tiny hair upon a sculpt's head is inserted one at a time and the babies, when assembled, are weighted to that of a real newborn. So essentially they are lifelike dolls, and I am very fortunate to have my creations all over the world. I even had some ‘babies’ working as therapy dolls in nursing home with dementia patients. It was through this craft that I borrowed my Mum's sewing machine. As my focus changed away from reborn and into other crafts, I changed my Blog name to “Lilabelle Lane Creations” a name which has grown with me during my journey with fabric and thread.
Jen: Tell us about the process for designing your patterns. What are your inspirations?
Sharon: My inspirations are drawn from my surroundings, and in the case of my “Tenderness Pattern,” from experiences (the story of this Quilt can be found on my blog). Inspiration is everywhere, we just have to be open to seeing it, and I believe sometimes it will speak to us when it is ready to become more than just an idea. I never know when inspiration will hit, but when it does, I stop everything and just start sketching and writing down the ideas and see if it eventuates.
Jen: Complete this sentence. When I am not sewing, I am...
Sharon: Spending quality time with my growing family and our Pug Puppy Elly.
Jen: What sewing machine do you use?
Sharon: I use a Bernina 570QE and I love it. It is like my 3rd arm.
Jen: What is your worst sewing habit?
Sharon: Placing small fabric offcuts and thread trimmings into a coffee cup that is not quite empty!
Jen: What is one sewing notion that you can’t live without?
Sharon: My thimble (for hand sewing) and my sewing machine, sorry that’s two!
Jen: Any big plans for the year ahead?
Sharon: Oh Yes, my first book, “Quilting on the Go: English Paper Piecing” is set for release in April. This has been a labour of love for most of 2016 and a dream come true. I will be forever grateful for the wonderful team at Tuva Publications for this opportunity. My book has 16 projects within it, ranging from smaller makes like Pincushions, a Pouch, a Dilly Bag through to a baby quilt, a larger quilt and then a “Millefiori” inspired piece. I am so excited to be able to share this fussy cut creation with everyone. It is the major piece for my book, and currently there are four very talented ladies playing with this pattern and each is creating an artwork so different to mine yet amazingly perfect and such an amazing credit to each of them. I feel very blessed.
For those of you that love English Paper Piecing, be on the lookout. I expect Sharon will have more eye candy to share!