Joan Hobbs has noticed a shift in her customers’ needs over the past five years. Co-owner with Linda Ward of Quilter’s Hive in Newark, Hobbs says as much as 40 percent of their business is based on providing patterns and fabric to produce wall hangings and other decorative ideas for home interiors.
“A quilt is a piece of art the same way a painting is,” Ward says. “Whatever can be done with a palette and paintbrush to create wall art can also be done with a pattern and a sewing machine.”
Home decorators can choose from limitless options for threads and patterns to match the colors and decor in their homes. Ward says homeowners also have the ability to produce their own designs and artwork that they can use to decorate their homes.
“In my six-week course, I can take a beginner and provide them the skills necessary to quilt on their own,” Ward says.
Butch Myers proves the skill can be self-taught. Jonesing for a smoke after kicking a 40-year habit, Myers had his wife teach him how to use their sewing machine to take his mind off cigarettes. Three years later, the self-styled “biker dude” now offers 10 patterns through retail outlets such as Quilter’s Hive and Middletown’s Lil’ Country Shoppe.
“The textures and colors of quilting impacts the imagination as any other art does,” Hobbs says. “Any art form connects with the creative juices within all of us.” —Reid Champagne