Juline of the Hexagon, Portrait of the Artist as a hand sewist

In 2012, I am surrounding myself with creative, talented, driven artists and writers. I'm fortunate to have so many of them in my life. My dear, beautiful friend Juline is among the most wildly prolific. She is a dynamo of inspiration and a little machine of making.

A combination of wild fabrics
and carefully planned design.

Juline loves to hand sew, as do I. Here is an interview I did with her about her fascination with the hexagon and her gorgeous, entirely hand sewn and hand quilted (wow!) charm quilt. It is so much fun to speak to other makers about their process. And her attitude about trying new techniques and being fearless about it... it is the attitude all of us makers should have!

Juline's finished hex charm quilt, entirely hand-sewn!

What is it about the hexagon as a shape that captures your imagination?
My favorite shape is a spiral or circle.  I'm not sure if the hexagon really captured my imagination, but it's a shape that tesselates, so it's awesome for quilting.

Detail from her hex charm quilt.

Tell us about making your hexagon charm quilt. How did you get interested in making one?
I think you showed me the charm quilt-a-long and I decided to give it a try.  I love hand-sewing, so it seemed like a good project.  I also enjoy trying new things, so I decided to give it a go, and I fell in love with it.  Some craft things I try and don't go back to.

Me fondling Juline's chart for a new hex quilt.

Tell us about your process. How did you decide on fabrics? How did you decide on the hexagon size? Was this your first paper pieced project?
I started with fabrics I had, and then exchanged with friends, etc.  I ended up buying more fabric than I should have, but it was so fun and worth it. I used the size of hexagon that was being used in the quilt-along...I guess I kinda blindly followed.  It also seemed like a great challenge.  Yes, this was my first paper-pieced project.

That's a radiation symbol that I embroidered for her  quilt.
I'm honored to be stitched into Juline's work!

Tell us about a few of your favorite hexagons charms.
The one made by YOU!!!  Plus, I also made some out of sun print fabric that I love.  I put some of my old negatives (from college) on the sun print fabric, and have included these little contact photos here and there.  Some are pics of flowers, and there's one pic of my childhood dog, Tache, who has been dead for many years.  I like to find her pic on the quilt and remember how sweet and cute she was.

Such fun fabrics. Elvis!

The back. You can see Juline's hand quilting.

You hand quilted it, too, right? Was that very time consuming? What made you decide to hand quilt it?
Yup, hand quilted too.  Not too time consuming.  I finished the whole quilt in 4 months (crazy!) and I cannot remember how much of that was quilting.  I decided to quilt it by hand because I was nervous about sending it to a professional quilter with a machine.  I know these folks are pros, but I had put SO MUCH time and effort into the top that I didn't want to take any chances.  My little sewing machine wouldn't have been able to do the kind of job that I wanted, so the only option left was to hand quilt.  I love to hand-sew, so this was a soothing process.

Daisy peeking out from under the quilt!

Where does the quilt live now?
In a big crumpled pile on my big comfy chair in my den.  I made the quilt to use.  My dogs sit under it. I use it daily. For me, textile art should be practical and beautiful/meaningful.

More works in progress.

What other hexagon projects have you started since making your charm quilt?
Working on my polka dot hexie quilt now...1.25 in. hexies go SO MUCH faster.  I started on a pillow for a co-worker, but lost interest and it's still only 1/3 finished.  Maybe she'll get it for x-mas this year.  maybe not.

What the hexies look like as they're coming together.

You prefer sewing by hand to on your machine. What attracts you about hand sewing?
It's methodical and soothing.

Juline with the finished quit top at her family's beach house this summer.

45 records as necklaces, by Juline.

Aside from working with hexagons, what other types of crafts do you like to make with your hands?
Knitting, needle-felting, jewelry, and more.  I've tried a lot of crafts.  One thing I really like about myself is that I'm not afraid to try new crafts.  I'll jump in and get messy.  I don't feel pressure for the first thing I make with a new craft technique to be perfect.   

Lucky me and fabulous Juline, ready for anything!

How the hell did you get so awesome?
It's the cool people I hang out with that make me awesome by association.

God, I love me some Juline! For more images of her work (including 40 pzanky eggs made for her parents' 40th anniversary last year) check out her flickr stream.