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Scribble Artist Interview with Daniel Tillman!

Scribble Town (ST): Daniel Tillman is an artist and artist representative for C3 Designs. He’s a doer and a maker. And as you can see he brings beauty to blankets in warm ways you haven’t yet imagined.

Quilt by Daniel Tillman

Quilt by Daniel Tillman

Daniel Tillman (DT): Hello, my name is Daniel Tillman, through C3 Designs I represent artists and designers, who make products for the architectural community. It took a number of years but I’ve been able combine quilt-making into my business. I live in New York with my wife and two children. They’re not really children any longer, my oldest daughter is 24 years old and my youngest is 20. In one form or another I’ve been working with textiles for more than 20 years.

ST: What are your days usually like?

DT: During the day I help artists and craftspeople bring their beautiful designs to market. I work with architects and designers to find the right artisan for their projects, maybe a hand-knotted rug, crown moulding or hand-blown glass lamp. Sometimes I get to put my own work into the project. At night, and on the weekends I like to sew. I became interested in quilting after seeing a show by the artist Nancy Crow. Her work is extraordinary, the shapes and colors. I’m also very drawn to Amish quilts, I like the subtle color play as well as the fact that they were made to be used and not just admired.

Quilt by Daniel Tillman

Quilt by Daniel Tillman

ST: It’s wonderful that you are part of the process of bringing artists and their work into the public eye and people’s homes. When did you start creating quilts? How did you discover this medium and was there somebody that encouraged you?

DT: I began making quilts twenty years ago, at the urging of my wife Cyndi. She’s a wonderful seamstress and knows her way around fabric and sewing machines. It was a way for me to keep busy, instead of sitting down in front of the TV. One of the first quilts, I made, and still one of my favorites was for my oldest daughter, when she was very young. She would draw on the quilt, in chalk, while I was at work and then I would stitch the drawing at night.

ST: Wow! What a collaboration between you and your daughter! And all with the great encouragement of Cyndi. Can you please tell us more about your quilting technique? What kind of stitch or patterns do you use? Quilting is a tradition in many cultures, such as with the Japanese and Amish.  Is there one type that you often look towards for inspiration?

Corrigan Quilt by Daniel Tillman

Corrigan Quilt by Daniel Tillman

DT: Aside from the color play of Amish quilts I am also inspired by Japanese sashiko. Their stitches are so tiny and precise. I strive to do that whenever I can, with my work. I generally machine piece the quilts, I like the durability that that brings to the structure, but as I put the three layers together, backing, batting and top I prefer to hand-quilt. It is more time consuming but very rewarding.

Sustainable Queen Bee Quilt by Daniel Tillman

Sustainable Queen Bee Quilt by Daniel Tillman

ST: Where do you find yourself feeling really inspired to create?

DT: For the past six years I have been a co-director of the International Interior Design Association Sustainable Quilting Bee. The design field uses many many yards of fabric samples every year. When those designs are discontinued the fabric ends up in a land fill. The aim of the Sustainable Quilting is to have architecture firms design their own quilts and then work as teams throughout the year, at the end of which we have an auction to raise money for a charity. The samples get re-purposed into something entirely different The beauty of the project is that these very creative people get to have an outlet once a month, at the Bee, to be creative with their peers.

ST: What are some other forms of art you practice?

Drawing by Daniel Tillman

Drawing by Daniel Tillman

DT: My other creative outlet is drawing. I have been trying to translate my drawings into a quilt but to date it hasn’t worked as well as I would have liked. The advantage is that quilts are large and unwieldy while drawing is something that you can always do, no matter where you are.

ST: I think you’ve connected the drawing and your quilting quite well! I can also see how your drawing could be a start for an embroidery pattern.

DT: I would like to share a technique for designing fabric that I learned last year. It was a bit messy, but really fun. You take a piece of cotton fabric, others will work but cotton is readily available. Soak it in vinegar until it’s dripping wet. Lay the fabric on a garbage bag outside and then place nails or other objects that will rust on the fabric in a design. Cover the fabric with another garbage bag and leave in the sun for 24 hours that will usually be enough. The vinegar and the sun speed up the rusting process. After it has sat outside for a day or so take the fabric and set it in a bucket of water with salt added. The recipe I used wasn’t very clear, but a couple of table spoons should be plenty. Let it sit in the bucket for 15 minutes and then remove. The salt sets the dye so that it should be fairly permanent. You will want to wash it after this, because it will smell a bit.

Thank you for this opportunity to introduce you to quilting and I hope you’ll try putting fabrics together. It’s a wonderful entry into creating something of your own.

ST: Thank you Daniel for sharing with us! Don’t forget to check out Daniel’s C3 Designs at https://c3design.wordpress.com.

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