City Quilts Blog Tour: Cherri House, Awesome Creative Entrepreneur

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Welcome to our stop on the City Quilts blog tour! We were thrilled to chat with the delightful author, Cherri House, about her book, her design process and the joys of being a creative entrepreneur.

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"City Shops" by Cherri House -- Inspired by a Barcode

Sarah & Josh: In City Quilts, one of the things we liked the most were the photographs of the city juxtaposed with your quilts. We’d love to hear about your design process, and how you use the city as inspiration for creating the quilts in City Quilts.

Cherri House: Part of the book submission process is to provide an index of what the quilts in the book would be. So, I just started writing down city things…anything city oriented made the list. Some things lent themselves to becoming quilts, much more than others. To a degree I had painted myself into a corner, because several great city names like City Park, and City Garden were names that I had already used in self-published patterns. For some of the quilts, I played with the names, to see if I could pull a quilt out it, and others, I had the quilt design, and needed a fitting name. For example City Shops – I had wanted to do a barcode quilt for a long time, so the name was a good fit. There were others that never got past the design stage – I wanted a City Hall quilt, made from red fabric strips, to replicate ‘red tape’. I still have about 20 more city quilts in me, waiting to be made.

S&J: And a follow-up to that question: How can people follow your lead, and use the world around them to inspire their creativity?

CH: 1. The first thing that someone may want/need to do is to avoid getting hung up on being too literal. You don’t have recreate something exactly; just recreate the essence of whatever the inspiration is to you. This is a sky quilt that I want to create, of course the sky isn’t rectangular blocks of various blues, but it is my interpretation of the sky .

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"City Sky" by Cherri House

2. Find something that inspires you, and use the tools you have (materials and skill set) to translate that into whatever medium you use. I use fabric, always and forever – it’s what I know, what I am comfortable with, and what I have an endless supply of. My daughter Lizzy might paint, draw, or fabricate something out of paper or fabric, because those are her materials. My daughter Ashlee would write a song, because she is a singer/songwriter, my daughter Melissa might write a song, create something from yarn, or fabric. If you are a woodworker use wood, if you are a welder, use metal. You use what you have, and what you know.

3. Don’t let the “appropriateness” of the source of inspiration hinder what actually inspires you. It’s kosher to be inspired by mountains, sunsets, the ocean, but a parking lot…who finds beauty there? Get rid of the thinking that only far away and often expensive places are inspiring – seek out beauty everywhere.

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"City Tracks" by Cherri House -- Inspired by railroad tracks

S&J: Your designs have a structural feel that we’d think would appeal to men (Josh loves your quilts!)—and so few sewing or quilting designs do (Denyse Schmidt’s work being a notable exception). Do you find that a lot of men connect with your designs?

CH: Yes they do! They seem to like the clean lines, and linear aspect of the designs. I’ve received several emails from quilters who are either architects, or have a male family member that is an architect that they want to make a quilt for. Scientists seem to like my designs as well – male and female.

I’m so curious when I receive a pattern order from a man, I think, “Is this for you, or your wife?” We need more male quilters!

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"City Bank" by Cherri House -- Inspired by a scene in "The Bourne Identity" (one of our favorite movies!)

S&J: Finally, we love hearing how people develop creative career paths and grow businesses doing what they love. How did you start on the path of designing quilts and making it a business?

CH: Since I started quilting for my own family in the 80s, all of the quilts that I made were from patterns that I created myself. I didn’t know that people bought patterns; I thought everyone worked the same way I did. Lizzy had been telling me for years that I needed to sell quilt patterns, but I thought it was a joke – I thought to myself, ‘who would buy a pattern?’ When Melissa, my youngest child left for college, loneliness and too much time sat in after about two weeks, and I decided to take the plunge and start a quilt pattern business. That was three years ago in June. For Cherry House Quilts the key to growing our business has been staying focused on our niche corner of the industry, of creating contemporary style quilt patterns using mostly solid fabrics. It has set us apart in that our quilts have a unique look, and appearance.

To celebrate the Cherri’s book, her publisher, C & T, is giving away a copy of City Quilts, and Robert Kaufman is giving away a nice stack of solid color fat quarters. We’re including a souvenir from our city, Portland–a few of Sarah’s original letterpress prints of the Steel Bridge which you can keep or give away. To win, please leave a comment letting us know what inspires you each day. A winner will be chosen randomly at the end of the blog tour.

(Note: We moderate all of our comments, so if you’re comment doesn’t show up immediately, it’s waiting in the queue, so don’t worry.)

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Steel Bridge Post Card by Sarah

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262 thoughts on “City Quilts Blog Tour: Cherri House, Awesome Creative Entrepreneur

  1. My daughter inspires me daily, she makes me want to create things for her and that rubs off onto other aspects of life that I want to create for – although not for me as often as it probably should :) I’m working on that! And the constantly amazing world of crafty blogs inspire too. Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. The light! It inspires me every moment.
    It changes every day and every moment sometimes.
    Brillliant, subtle, magnignificient or scarce…
    It changes all the colours around and I am loving colours. Brings moods, emotions and changes the ordinary objects.

    I would love this book!

  3. I find inspiration in forms found in nature and the human-made world ~ particularly repeating shapes like the centers of flowers or the intricately-carved railings on an old porch… I find that slowing down and looking closely helps me find inspiration – when I am in “speedy mode” I miss a lot… Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

  4. I find inspiration in the sky. It sounds cliche but the sky changes into colors that almost seem unreal sometimes depending on the time of day, the clouds, weather, and all of the combinations of the three. Right now I’m trying to incorporate the colors I saw in the sky after a recent storm into my next quilt.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  5. I always find inspiration in the works of others. There are so many creative people out there!

  6. I am inspired by so many things – the view from my studio window, the fabrics in my stash, the beautiful photos on websites and blogs. What fun to look at them all and then create!

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