Amanda Clark
Amanda Clark

My First Houston Quilt Market!

An Only on QCN 3-Part Series, following new quilter Amanda Clark's journey into all things quilting at the 2010 International Quilt Market in Houston, TX.
Part 1 - Catching the quilting bug, knocking out UFOs, and taking it all the way to Houston

Amanda Clark - QCN


My love affair with art goes as far back as I can remember. I’ve always felt a natural talent in art, and have steered in the direction of making a career from my art. Drawing and painting had been my outlet for most of my life, but recently I’ve discovered how much of an adventure it can be to express my art in other forms.

My Aunt Laura - Owner of The Fig Leaf
quilt shop in Fort Collins, Colorado

My Aunt Laura owns The Fig Leaf, a quilt shop in Colorado that’s older than I am (they  just celebrated their 28th anniversary)! Every summer growing up, my little sister and I would spend a month at her shop. My uncle and grandparents also work at the store, so The Fig Leaf is where we spent most of our time. We had great fun making forts out of empty fabric bolts, and used embroidery floss to make friendship bracelets. Aunt Laura would help us with starting various projects, and in our earlier years she usually ended up doing most of the work.

I made my first ‘quilt’ when I was 9. The small quilt was for my cat to sleep on, and it turned very, very crooked. Over the years, I would begin a few ‘UFOs’ (I just learned that term), but quilting just didn’t seem to stick with me when I’d return home from the summer months at Aunt Laura’s.

Last spring, it all changed. My Aunt Laura wanted me to join her for the Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis. As her ‘Under 30 Advisor’, I’d be telling her all of the items I saw that most appealed to me. Laura was going to use my advice to stock items in her shop that will attract a new generation of quilters. Aunt Laura had also been suggesting for years that I try designing fabric, and that this would be a great chance to see the different fabric options out there. She said I’d be ‘working’, so I can’t say I was exactly excited, but I was really looking forward to spending some time with her.

I didn’t know what to expect at all. Not knowing a thing about the industry, the show in Minneapolis was a bit of a blur. It had turned out to be a lot of fun, and I left the show inspired to put together some of my fabric designs.

When I got home I started brainstorming ideas, doodling, sketching, and making lists. It was a slow start, but a few months later I began just letting loose with paint directly on canvas. Once the paint hit the canvas, the creative juices really started flowing. Meanwhile, I was researching anything and everything related to quilt fabric design online, which led me to many of the designer blogs and manufacturer websites.

The more I dove into the world of quilting, the more I wanted to be part of it all. I had my mom ship me my old sewing machine, and I finished my first UFO - a full size quilt with a flannel back.  I was hooked. Soon, I was a regular at my local fabric store, hanging out and making bags. There was such a really good feeling about quilting, like it’s where I belong, and what I should be doing. Quilting just felt right.

One of my recent quilts

So, I was really excited when Laura asked me to join her for the Fall Quilt Market in Houston. I was anxious to see all the new fabrics, quilts, designers, and to just be in the middle of it all. My Aunt Laura even told one of her fabric sales reps that I had some designs I wanted to submit, and he graciously agreed to look them over and offer some feedback. I was SUPER excited.

We were set to fly out a couple days early (Thursday), to attend some pre-market festivities and a big banquet thrown by Fab Shop. During the flight, I got more and more excited. I couldn’t wait to experience everything that Market had to offer!

In my next article, I’ll be covering my experience at Market!

sue beevers headshot

Amanda Clark
is a lifelong artist, and emerging quilter. With her art career beginning in painting and drawing, Amanda has now jumped into the quilting world with both feet. Amanda is the 'Under 30 Advisor' for The Fig Leaf quilt shop in Fort Collins, CO. When she's not quilting or making bags, Amanda continues her love of painting in her free time.

Stay tuned for more from Amanda right here at QCN :

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