Name: Nancy Purvis
Blog: owen’s olivia
Nancy is a stay-at-home mom who taught herself how to sew in 2011 when she needed to make a handy organizer for her laundry closet. Her machine barely worked and was the cause of many frustrations. Nancy now owns a better machine and spends most of her days sewing, creating, and taking care of her family.
How long have you been quilting and how did you start?
I began actively quilting in November of 2012 after I made my second quilt, which was for my sister at Christmas time.
My first quilt was made in April of 2012. A friend of mine introduced me to it, and I fell in love with the designs and wonderful fabric. I didn’t know much about quilting at the time, and I was surprised to find that more and more younger people were trying this old-time craft. Later on (like in 2014) I discovered I really like to paper piece and work with improvisational quilting. I really love minimal designs and clean looking quilts as well, which tend to be the main aesthetic of my quilts. This also tends to show as well in my quilting, as I like to keep that to a minimum.
[Fish, original design by Nancy Purvis]
Why do you like Modern quilting and why did you join the MQG?
I think what I like is considered modern, even though a lot of the blocks and quilting are based on traditional styles and techniques, but what drew me to what people are considering these days modern is the use of color, fabrics, and designs. I love quilting because I get to put a little of myself into a tangible product. As an artist, this is very satisfying. This product can then be used as art or to wrap a loved one in. Sometimes, I love the slow process of picking out fabrics, piecing them together, and watching the design I had in my head begin to unfold. I just love working with my hands, and I love design. The two go together very well.
[Crossover, original design by Nancy Purvis]
I joined our local guild to connect with others who like to talk about quilting. I have very little local friends who consider spending a Friday night behind a sewing machine fun. I also wanted to feel inspired and see what others doing. We all work with the same medium, yet the outcomes are so vastly different. It’s interesting!
Which of your quilts is your favorite?
Oh, that is tough! I have a few that are my favorite. I really love my most recent finish. It’s called 81 and combines a lot of color, which I typically do not do, and of course, is surrounded by my signature color- black.
[81, original design by Nancy Purvis]
Who do you find inspiration from and why?
There are so many wonderful textile artists out there, but I really love seeing what Meg Callahan, Lorena Maranon, Carolyn Friedlander, Luke Haynes, Lindsey Stead, the women of Gee’s Bend, Maura Grace, and Season Evans have up their sleeves. I love the work of Josef and Anni Albers (who doesn’t? :), as well as some modern day artists who display high quality work. I do not have one specific style that I love most, and all of these artists bring a unique voice to the community that I love seeing.
I like to find inspiration not only from people but from things as well. I have the ability to break down what I see (or is this a normal human skill?). To take a little section out of the whole and see it as something new, different, or as is. When I was first approached by Interweave, they asked for a theme. I knew immediately that I would love to share with people how to take everyday images we see, whether in real life with our own eyes at that very moment or images that are documented, and help people to break down those images they see and create a direct translation of that or use it as a foundation for a new design. The idea was rejected due to how abstract it was. (But I am very happy to see that Heather Jones will be sharing a book all about that this fall!) So we chose HSTs, which I love just as much! 🙂 Inspiration is all around!
What are your favorite fabric designers/fabric lines at the moment?
When it comes to prints, I love the work done by Leah Duncan, April Rhodes, Carolyn Friedlander, Holli Zollinger, Leslie Keating, Karen Lewis, and of course, there are many more! When it comes to solids, I love Art Gallery, In the Beginning Fabrics, and Robert Kaufman. Actually, I love all solid manufacturers because I love solids! I am currently not up to date with any fabric lines. Gasp! I have had to tighten my budget recently, so fabric buying (and browsing) has only been kept to a minimum.
Tell us something else about yourself
I grew up in Concord, NC and moved to Raleigh in 1999. My mother passed away when I was 15, which had a huge impact on me growing up. My father gave me her sewing machine when I married, but it sat in my closet for many years untouched. I love traveling and have been to Europe, the United Kingdom, around the US, and next summer we have plans to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, as long as I do not chicken out! I worked in dentistry before I decided to stay at home with my son, Owen. He is now 5. My middle name is Olivia, which is how I came up with the name owen’s olivia for my blog. I love arts, crafts, and design, and I’m usually doing something creative almost every day. It keeps me sane. 🙂
I’m still not really sure how this has happened, but I have a book coming out in October with Interweave, like I mentioned earlier. Quilting from every Angle is available for pre-order on Amazon. It focuses heavily on half square triangles and includes triangles, geese, and some paper piecing. I’m excited for it to arrive and to be able to share it with you all in person!