I started quilting in August of 1999, a story of quilting by accident.
As a young girl I was interested in dolls and movie stars. My Mother did not sew so I started making my own doll clothes. I joined 4H and learned how to sew and also raised two kids (goats) for my project. As the years went by I did a lot of sewing for myself and family.
Many years later in the late 80’s I started oil painting. My specialty was landscapes and some still life. One day one of the girls asked me if I would like to go to a doll show [like our quilt show] and of course I said yes. There we met Arlene Martinez of Battleground, WA, who taught porcelain doll making. You can guess what happened, I got hooked. Doll history is so fascinating. I started making modern dolls and then antique reproductions. Along with dolls I decided I wanted to make Victorian lampshades, since I was really into that era. Since you could not find many places that carried that kind of shade and they were terribly expensive, I decided to make them myself. I took a class on making Victorian lampshades and made quite a few…still have one or two to finish. They are still a big part of my décor, combining antiques and southwest.
In 1998, when we moved to Santa Maria, CA, I found a doll club. No one was making dolls so we collected dolls instead. In the mean time I still worked on my lampshades. Then one day I decided to explore fabric shops for my special fabrics needed for the shades. There were none in Santa Maria so I went further north to Nipomo were I found a fabric shop, not what I needed, but a quilt shop. I was fascinated by all the quilts, I met the owner and we talked and talked and before I left agreed to come back that evening for the Quilt Guild meeting. Of course I signed up for the beginner’s class in quilting and joined the Quilt Guild that evening. Thus the starting date of August 1999. I then joined the Santa Maria Quilt Guild and I was the historian for 2 years. Such a wonderful accident wouldn’t you say?
In 2003 my husband was transferred to Tucson and he found a home for us in Sahuarita. I joined the Tucson Quilt Guild in 2004, where I heard about Quilters Desert Patch. I stopped in on my way home and met one of the girls from TQG who lived in Green Valley. She invited me to come to North of the Border Bee…what a great bunch of girls. Since then I have joined to two more guilds, Valley Quilt Guild and Fiber Arts Guild and several Bee’s.
I started out as a traditional quilter and gradually turned toward art quilts. I met Maryellen Searcy. We were program co-chairs in 2006 for VQG. In 2007 we had our first bi-annual Quilt Show. I was Awards chairman in 2009 thru 2013.
Meeting Maryellen has led me into art quilts. After taking my first beading class from her, she has been most influential in turning me toward a variety of techniques in art quilts. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging. Now I can say that my quilting is a combination of traditional, appliqué, art and several other medias such as machine embroidery, polymer clay, beading, and fabric painting.
I started entering my quilts in TQG Show and always had them judged. It was very interesting to read the comments. You may not always agree with the judge’s comments, but it gives you an idea of what others think of your efforts. Having been awarded many ribbons, it is a wonderful feeling to know that other quilters and non quilters enjoy your quilts.
I was so honored that Windows of the Southwest was chosen for the Hall of Fame Award. Windows of the Southwest was also awarded second place at Road to California and a first place at Valley Quilters Show.
I am now working on wall quilts of Tucson’s doors from the Historical district. If you would like to see more of my paintings, dolls, lampshades and quilts you can visit my web-site,
Phyllis Mielonen Gallery
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