Quilter or Imposter?

When people ask me what I do for a living, I say that I am an interior decorator and quilt artist.

You see, I’ve been sewing since I was a kid and discovered the joy of quilting some 40 years ago. These days I have more time to pursue my passion and I’m loving every minute of it. In fact, I now belong to four quilt guilds from Abington to Arlington (MA), give quilt lectures and trunk shows across New England, sell custom quilts (both traditional and art pieces), and am honored to receive the occasional invitation for a one-woman quilt show to display my work.

But am I really a quilter?  During my turn at show ‘n tell at a guild meeting recently, one wise elder “schooled” me on the proper definition of a quilt.  “You know, a quilt is three layers stitched together.” This was not news to me, and she is absolutely correct.  I don’t add those intricate stitches in beautiful patterns to my quilts, so I’m not technically a quilter.

So, I started thinking about how I am different from the quilters with whom I associate. 

— Some quilters I know own three or more sewing machines, not counting a long-arm quilting machine or embroidery machine. They wouldn’t fit in my condo, and I truly only need one!

— I don’t collect fabric. I only buy what I need; well, most of the time!

— In designing my improv patchwork pieces, I often use leftover decorator fabric or thrift store finds. Ahhh, the thrill of a bargain!

— Instead of sewing bed quilts, I prefer to make wall hangings so I can change them often – remember, I am an interior decorator!

— From time to time, I enjoy re-imagining pre-printed fabric panels instead of sewing traditional blocks. Real quilters call these panels “cheater cloths;” to me, they are artistic inspiration pieces!

— And I don’t believe in UFOs – unfinished objects.  I complete my projects so I can joyfully move on to the next.  So many ideas, so little time!

Some call me a textile artist.  But that sounds pretentious, no?  Hence, I continue to call myself a quilter even though I am indeed an imposter!

With many satisfied clients since 2008, Barbara Graceffa owns and operates Secretary of the Interior in Quincy, MA offering creative decorating services at reasonable rates. If you have a blog topic to suggest or need professional help with decorating, downsizing, decluttering, home staging and relocation services, or quilt lectures and shows, please contact her via her website www.sec-interior.com or phone 617.921.6033.

By Barbara Graceffa

Barbara Graceffa, CEO of Secretary of the Interior, serves decorating clients; assists with professional organizing, home staging and moving assistance; teaches on these subjects; and delivers quilt lectures and trunk shows.

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