Cathy Van Bruggen
Matt: Do you have a quilting studio?
Cathy: My formal living room became my quilting studio. I agonized over selling all of my furniture. Of course, I was concerned about visitors seeing my “creative mess” when they entered the front door. My daughter, Kim, convinced me that I shouldn’t worry about the mess because my friends are quilters and they would love my special space. Now, my studio has a view of the garden with wall to wall storage. The middle of the room has a cutting table and large sewing machine cabinet. The best part is that I work in the middle of family activities
M: What do you consider your quilting “specialty” or what makes you unique in the quilting world?
C: My quilting “specialty” is appliqué. My designs are unique because they feature “botanically correct” flowers and small creatures. I attempt to tell a story with my designs and quilting. When I quilt my finished design, I continue the story by quilting in birds, butterflies, and small creatures. Next time you are close up to one of the quilts, take a second look and see if you can find quilted surprises.
M: What is your favorite color schemes to work with?
C: When I began quilting, I loved soft cottage color themes. Now, I try to design pictorial appliqué with vibrant colors. Mother Nature is very colorful and I like my designs to be colorful too.
M: What books or articles have you written?
C: The Appliqué Society Newsletter recently featured a series of my quilt designs. I am presently writing a book that explains a fantastic new approach to hand appliqué. The book will feature blocks that have creatures in a natural setting.
M: What do you do while you quilt? Do you listen to music?
C: I frequently have the television on for background noise. I really don’t know why, because there is usually plenty of noise and confusion with two dogs, three cats, a daughter, and her teenage daughter running through my quilting studio!
M: What is your quilting inspiration?
C: There is inspiration everywhere! I love to walk in my garden and see the beauty in how a flower grows. Watching a momma bird build a nest and hatch babies always brings new ideas for quilt blocks.
M: What is the funniest moment you have had happen while you were teaching?
C: Once a young police officer came into my class and looked around at us sewing. He finally confessed that he wasn’t looking for a criminal. He had lost a button and wondered if anyone could help him sew it back onto his shirt. Quilters are always so helpful. Hopefully, the word won’t get out to those officers in need of assistance.
M: What was the best class you have ever taken?
C: I’ve taken so many wonderful classes. I can’t decide which one was best. Each teacher has influenced how I make quilts and teach my classes. I never have a closed mind to learning new things. In every class I gain something new.