How a Kamloops quilter's designs inspired a Texas museum exhibit - InfoNews

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How a Kamloops quilter's designs inspired a Texas museum exhibit

This picture shows part of a display in the Texas Quilt Museum which was inspired by a Kamloops quilter's book and designs.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/The New Hexagon - Millefiore Quilt-Along
October 05, 2018 - 5:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - For local quilter Katja Marek, it all started with a love for glass and quilts.

Marek has owned Katja's Quilt Shoppe in Kamloops for nearly two decades, and she's made a name for herself in the sewing world with intricate, modern designs.

"Non-quilters specifically don’t understand that quilting still exists," Marek says. "It’s about artistry and self expression. This style isn’t like what your grandmother used to sew."

A few years ago, Marek decided to try her luck at publishing a guide to the innovative style of millefiore, a term describing decorative glass by fusing multi-coloured glass canes together cutting them crosswise, joining them into new groups, embedding the groups in transparent glass and blowing the mass into a desired shape.

But the word is also Italian for "a thousand flowers" and Marek uses both of these definitions when creating her designs.

Marek brought her proposal for a quilting book to publishers who loved the idea and in 2014 the book was released. "The New Hexagon" gained popularity throughout the sewing world, reaching No. 1 selling title for the publisher in 2015, Marek says.

She was blown away by the overwhelming support, compliments, and attention her book received and as a way to pay readers back, she uploaded a "quilt along" to her website.

"I had great hopes for the book, as a pay back or a thank you for all the people who bought it, I developed an online hexathon," Marek says. "It was giving back to the people who purchased the book something else they could do with (it)."

It allowed people who bought her book and had square designs to incorporate their pieces into a millefiore design, which has a more modern look and style than traditional quilts.

The quilt along was a hit, and earlier this year the Texas Quilt Museum put a call out for quilters to send in pictures of their millefiore designs inspired by Marek's work. Now there is an installation at the museum running until just before Christmas called "Dazzling Millefiore Quilts" which features quilts based on Marek's book and the quilt along.

"It feels absolutely amazing," Marek says. "It is something that is really hard to put into words.”

Marek enjoys how quilting has developed over the years; it's one of her favourite parts of the industry. It's become more modern, with more improvised and freeform fabric choices. She says it's become much more about self-expression and artistry.

When explaining her love for sewing, she points to a question an interviewer with American Quilter Magazine asked her once her book came out.

"She asked me 'What has changed in your life after your book release?' I said 'I won't be forgotten, quilters will remember my name'."

To learn more about Katja, her business and her designs, go here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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