Thom Atkins:

Thom will be teaching two two-day beading classes

Carolyn:  How many years have you been quilting?

 Thom:  My grandmother taught me to sew on her treadle sewing machine when I was four.  I’ve been sewing cloths, etc, for almost forty  years.  I’ve sewing beads onto quilts  for seven years now, and the application of the beads does the quilting so I guess one could say I’ve been quilting for seven years, if one calls what I do quilting.

 Carolyn:  What motivated you to start quilting?

 Thom:  I had been doing sculpture for some time and when I was rear-ended on the freeway, pushing clay around was no longer an option so I needed a new job and decided I wanted to find a balance between bead embroidery and the fabric it was done on.  I’m still looking.

 Carolyn:  Where have you traveled in your quilting teaching career?

 Thom:  San Juan Islands, Tacoma WA, Seattle WA, Portland OR, Central California, Phoenix and Jerome AZ, St. Paul MN, and Huston TX

 Carolyn:  What is the most, unusual, frightening, funny, frustrating experience you have had in your quilting career?

 Thom:  Finding out that a quilt that I had entered in the Small Treasures section of the International Quilt Festival, and was accepted for the show, had been used on the invitation for the next years show.  What a surprise to receive my invitation and see a picture of my quilt.

 Carolyn:  Who is your favorite author?

 Thom:  My wife belongs to a ladies reading group and they read a lot of fiction by women authors.  I’ve enjoyed reading their choice of the month and observing the different perspectives, types of characters, and subject material of male and female authors.  Ariana Franklin is new to me and I have enjoyed her books so far.

 Carolyn:  What is the last book you read or are reading?

 Thom:  Waxwings by Jonathan Raban

 Carolyn:  What is your birth order, only child, first, second, third, or ??

 Thom:  Second child of five.

Carolyn:  Where did you grow up?

Thom:  I am a native Californian but we moved to Minnesota when I was 5 and I stayed there until I left to go to college in San Jose, Ca.  I really did my growing up during my four years in the Navy and that included Japan, California, D.C., North Carolina, and Cuba.

 Carolyn:  Where did you go to college?

 Thom:  I graduated from San Jose State College with a B.A. in Interior Dec since that offered the widest range of art courses and I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  In fact I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Carolyn:  Do you have children – grandchildren?

 Thom:  Nope, no children except the ones I’ve sculpted in clay or bronze.  My wife was sure, early on, that she didn’t want children and that was fine with me.

 Carolyn:  Do you have any pets?

Thom:  No pets unless you count the goldfish in the pools in the back yard.

Carolyn:  What is your favorite food?

Thom:  That’s a tough one.  When asked what’s my favorite kind of pie, the reply is usually what ever is available.  I don’t care much for turnips or rutabagas or banana cream pie.

 Carolyn:  Do you have any other hobbies besides quilting?

 Thom:  Quilting/beading (the two are inseparable for me) is not really a hobby, it’s more of an obsession/job.  I don’t have hobbies as such,  but I do enjoy gardening, walking, cooking and eating, and watching movies, especially contemporary productions of musicals like the new release of Oklahoma.

 Carolyn:  What would be on your “bucket list” (like the movie) if you could do anything and money wa

s no object?

 Thom:  Go for a ride in a hot air balloon and/or glider plane.  See the Ilse of Skye and the Scottish highlands.  Go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  Eat in a REALLY fancy restaurant

 My sister, Robin Atkins, is nationally known as a Bead Embroidery teacher, at least in the bead world and peripherally in the quilt world.  In some circles, I’m still known as Robin Atkins’ little brother, even though I’m 6′ 5″ tall, and weigh over 200 lbs.


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