Aussie Quilt Stars – Helen Godden

How did you get started quilting?Very long story but after 13 years marriage and 13 years shopfront business selling hand painted clothing we were suddenly pregnant.. which was a surprise. 8 months later and just starting to see the light at the end of a postnatal depression tunnel, I was emerging from my mud and started a small watercolour painting only to have the dreaded phone call that my husband had fallen 15m off a cliff whilst rock climbing. Very long story with much time in hospital and rehab and surgery and learning to walk and off work for 12 months, My miraculous husband survived and is fully recovered thank you. In that time my parents moved from Sydney to Canberra to help my family of 3.
My wise mother tried to get me involved in her sewing room with patchwork and applique and things I had never paid any attention to. I was an artist and had no desire to cut up fabric or sew it together…until she dragged me to a quilt show and I watched someone free motion quilting – drawing with a sewing machine. From that moment I was hooked. I took all my art and drawing and design skill and applied it to this new drawing machine. I now demonstrate and teach my free-motion quilting techniques all over the world. From my first quilt I made I started winning awards and was encouraged to enter the Mecca that is Houston. I have since won 14 awards at Houston in 14 years and have been Handi Quilter International ambassador for since 2006 and could not be a happier camper!
How old were you when you made your first quilt? 38 year old
Who taught you to quilt? I taught myself…anything involving precision and measuring such as binding, mum taught me.
What do you like best about quilting? Being able to make large art work that does not require expensive framing. Combining my love of colour design and line work/drawing into my work.
How do you decide what pattern to quilt? Being able to make large art work that does not require expensive framing. Combining my love of colour My quilts all tell stories so the pattern of the quilting assists in the story telling and often gives a second layer of meaning or description to the piece.
For whom have you made quilts? Some commission work, friends, CEOs, competition and mainly for self expression.
Where do you quilt? At home in my studio called The Zone or at mums place which is only a few KMs away. Here sewing room is bigger and…tidier and there and I have my original HQ Sixteen set up at mums house…Mum does patchwork but she does not quilt, she has little incentive I guess – I do it all for her.
How much time do you quilt every week, day? 6 – 8 hours a day in quilting related activity. Whether that be blogging, packaging orders, painting, designing, writing, publishing, teaching or demonstrating. It is my job but it is flexible so a day out with family and friends is quite permissible…being your own boss has many advantages.
What advice do you wish someone had told you when you started quilting? Keep ONE definitive list of everything you make. Don’t start a list several times on your computer or in a diary or on the back of an envelope, just one list and do it well!
Do you have blog or Instagram to follow: Facebook: Helen Godden Quilts
Instagram: Helen Godden