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Customer Corner – Judy Beskow, Quilt Artist

Customer Corner – Judy Beskow, Quilt Artist
Have you ever seen amazing art quilts and wondered what goes into these masterpieces? Long-arm quilter, Judy Beskow chatted with us to answer that question and many more.  She was gracious enough to give us a sneak peak at what she’s working on and talk to us about her CraftOptics experience.

For those of you going to the International Quilt Festival in Houston 2018, Judy has FOUR quilts in the show (see photos below)!

 

“This is my current project I am working on called Garden Frolic. I never Quilt without my wearing my CraftOptics! I feel like I am working in the dark without them.” -Judy Beskow

CraftOptics:  Our readers are active in a wide variety of artistic endeavors. Please explain to us and them what long arm quilting is.

Judy: I started my quilting journey on a mid-arm quilting machine which has a larger throat and requires you to move the fabric in order to stitch. I then moved on to a long-arm quilting machine that has the sewing head on rails that move the machine when you quilt. I basically sketch on my quilts with a needle and threads rather than a pencil.

CraftOptics: When and how did you get started quilting?

Judy: In 2001 my husband and I moved to Paducah, Kentucky for his work. Our children were grown and stayed in Texas. I was a designer for Ethan Allen Furniture in Beaumont so there was no job for me in Paducah. I always thought quilts were country and was not interested in them and I had given up on sewing years ago.

But then I found Hancock’s of Paducah! Oh my, I had no idea there was such a variety of styles, patterns, and colors of fabrics. I went to work for the Hancock guys part-time and of course I started quilting because who could resist all of that temptation!

This revelation about quilting allowed me to combine my love of design, patterns, colors, art and spoke to my creativity. I am so grateful to the Hancocks and their families that I had the privilege to work with during my three years in Paducah. Also, I had the opportunity to visit the American Quilt Museum in Paducah. I often stood in awe in front of those quilts, but I never imagined that I would be able to make a quilt that other people would want to view!

CraftOptics magnifying eyeglasses and light for quilting

Judy Beskow, Quilt Artist

CraftOptics: What does being able to make your vision come alive mean to you?

Judy: I had really been struggling with the detail work in my quilting. My solution was adding more light but that only helped so much. I tried on my first pair of CraftOptics magnifying eyeglasses in 2015 at AQS Paducah and suddenly details were clear! I do lots of tiny detail stitching on my quilts and I can do that so easily with my CraftOptics. I feel that they definitely helped to up my quilting game.

CraftOptics: Tell us more about the first time you discovered CraftOptics?

Judy: I had seen the advertisements for CraftOptics but the first time I had the opportunity to try them on was 2015 in Paducah. I immediately purchased a pair after the demo. I knew these glasses would give me another tool to advance with my art quilts by providing me with so much vision clarity. These glasses have allowed me so much more enjoyment and less stress on my eyesight. No more struggling to see those all-important details.

CraftOptics: How do you feel about your decision to purchase CraftOptics today? How has it changed the way you work?

CraftOptics magnifying eyeglasses and light being used for machine quilting

quilt artist Judy Beskow using CraftOptics

Judy: I am totally sold on my CraftOptics. I would definitely purchase them again. Yes, I know they are not inexpensive, but I feel my eyesight is that important! By enabling me to see all of the details they have definitely helped to improve my work!

I am constantly moving around during my piecing process but mostly during my quilting. I do lots of stitching on my art quilts and I change threads very often. My CraftOptics allow me to see all of the different colors and stitches with total clarity. No more tired eyes or eye strain with my glasses. Also, no aching back from bending over trying to see details of my work.

CraftOptics: Would you recommend CraftOptics magnifying eyeglasses to other artists?

Judy: Yes, I do recommend CraftOptics to other quilters and artists. I feel they are such a great value for your money!

CraftOptics: How do you feel about your experiences working with the CraftOptics staff?

Judy: The CraftOptics staff are very helpful and amazing! I recently replaced the battery box for my light and they offered me the new rechargeable battery pack that would be available in a couple of weeks. I appreciated that I was given that option because they could have just sent the old version.

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See Judy’s quilts on display in Houston!

See the four quilts below at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this November! Judy’s work on display includes (left to right), Royalty in the Cherrywood exhibit, Crossing the Brazos in The World of Beauty exhibit, Karen, in the Power of Women exhibit, and It’s a Jungle Out There in the Tactile Architecture exhibit.

Heading to Houston? Stop by our CraftOptics booth 1414 at Market, and 905 at Festival. More information here: EVENTS

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CraftOptics: What does it mean to you to have discovered this creative outlet and to spend time working on it?

Judy: Every day I am thankful for my quilting! My quilting gives me something to think about and to do every day that is so enjoyable. As we age I believe this is so important for our health and happiness. Quilting is my passion and I especially love art quilting because it allows me to take an idea and create it with fabric and thread. I think my art quilts will be here long after I am gone and that gives me great comfort! Also, you can wrap yourself up in one of my non-art quilts and hopefully feel the love that is quilted into every quilt!

CraftOptics: Are there other artists/quilters who inspire you?

Judy: I am pretty much of a self-taught artist. I didn’t really do any art quilts until we moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana in 2006. Joyce Saia did a trunk show for our guild and I was smitten with her art quilts. She was an amazing art quilter and a lot of her quilts were portraits of the art nouveau women of Alphonse Mucha. I also had the pleasure of meeting Laverne Matthews who has two quilts in the American Quilt Museum in Paducah.

CraftOptics: What art-related groups do you belong to and what do you take away from such affiliations?

Judy: I belong to the Studio Art Quilters Association, the American Quilt Society, and the International Quilt Association. I have learned a lot from so many of these members.  I also am a member of the Golden Triangle Quilt Guild in Beaumont, Texas that has a large group of art quilters that helps challenge my creativity. The challenges issued by these groups help inspire me to be creative. I also belong to the Brazos Bluebonnet Quilt Guild in College Station, Texas and the Dallas Quilt Guild.

CraftOptics: What position do you work in? Do you move around or are you in the same position for long periods of time? How do you manage aches and pains related to posture and repetitive motion?

Judy: I am constantly moving around during my piecing process but mostly during my quilting. I do lots of stitching on my art quilts and I change threads very often. My CraftOptics allow me to see all of the different colors and stitches with total clarity. No more tired eyes or eye strain with my glasses. Also, no aching back from bending over trying to see details of my work.

CraftOptics: What are you currently working on and where can people find your artwork?

 

Judy: I have a piece traveling in the Cherrywood Van Gogh exhibit that is currently in France (photo left).

 

I also will have 4 pieces that will be on exhibit at the 2018 International Quilt Festival in Houston next month. One of these is my Prince Cherrywood Challenge quilt (see photos above).

You have an excellent product that allows me so much more creative freedom. Thank you.

 

 

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