I live in Grafton, Vermont, a quaint and beautiful town with a population of 500-700. I grew up in a semi-rural part of town in Houston where we had room to run and play. We had a number of chickens and cats and spent our summers in Vermont, just a short walk from where I live now. As a child, I regularly rode up with my family from our home in Houston, Texas to visit my grandparents in Vermont. The town of Grafton inspired me with such imagination and creativity that I vowed to one day live there—it took me 60 years.
I started creating as a very small child. I drew and colored and used everything in sight to make things. I learned art techniques all the way through grade school, college and into my adult life. My sewing skills began at the age of six when my grandmother taught me to hem, then later when she and my mother taught me to knit. My home economics teachers in high school gave me the basic skills for the integrity of workmanship in the sewing arts. It was up to me to put these two skills together and make them one.
I truly realized my passion for creating only once others pointed it out to me. Now, my every day has some part of it devoted to making art, collecting for the next project or organizing what I already have.
I originally had a goal to get one of my quilts accepted into the Houston International Quilt Festival. I have since surpassed that goal with multiple quilts accepted. I believe having a following of people who appreciate my work, validated with such wonderful recognition, is the highest accomplishment I can achieve.
I am regularly moved by the unlimited inspiration in everything surrounding me, as I find that creativity takes many forms.
Fitting in each quilting job, however, takes time, which sometimes can be hard to find, so maximizing my periods of available time is quite important to me. I like having smaller projects accessible to make good use of my short periods of time—a little workbag in the car for appointments, something in the TV room, something to pair with telephoning or audio books.
I regularly frequent thrift stores, dumpsters, yard sales and trashcans to add to my quilts, and now people bring things to me. Gathering small items and putting them together creates a wonderful sum that is greater than its parts. I have accumulated so much “stuff” now that it is important to curate it. Letting someone else take some of it can give a new perspective on how things can be used. I believe it is most important to remember to share one’s work with others.
“Today, I am grateful.”
— Frances Holliday Alford
This is a daily entry on Facebook that I started more than five years ago. I have a following now of people who respond as well, because after I provide three “gratitudes,” I ask, “What are you grateful for?” This has been a very powerful action in my life. I find that I respond to things with a more positive outlook, and I have received feedback from others that it is helpful to them as well.