I would like to introduce a new fabric designer to you my quilting friends. Verna Mosquera, is an artisit and quilt designer and now fabric designer who specializes in creations that combines yesterday's inspirations with today's fabrics.
I spent some time getting to know Verna while at Quilt Market in May. Her booth for her company, The Vintage Spool, was wonderful as is her website.
And lucky for us, Verna has agreed to tell us more about herself and to show us a sneak peak of her new line “Sweet Escape” for FreeSpirit/Westminster Fabrics. I think you will love it.
And Verna is another one of those busy mommies (like Anna Maria, Heather, Joanna and dad’s like Joel) who are rocking both babies and the fabric world with their talents.
Here is Verna in part one of a two part series.
“I'm so excited about the opportunity to work with Gina. It's wonderful to have an avenue to share about my background; my company, The Vintage Spool, and my debut fabric line "Sweet Escape" for FreeSpirit Fabrics. As I prepare to launch this fabric line and the quilts designed from it I realize my life until now has been an incredible journey. It seems only fitting to share more about myself and the path that led me here.
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. My parents both immigrated to the United States from Latin America, my mother from Guatemala and my father from Uruguay. They moved around a bit while my brother and I were small but ultimately settled in a small town called San Lorenzo about 40 minutes outside of San Francisco.
Creative Interests Early In Life
I expressed creative interests in early childhood. I would spend summers lining up my stuffed animals and drawing portraits of them. My parents were quick to place me with a private tutor who taught me the fundamentals of drawing and painting. My grade school teachers would often receive my artwork as gifts at the end of each year.
My grandmother lived with us off and on. It was with her that I was first introduced to sewing and handwork. Once again showing signs of interest my parents enrolled me in a Singer sewing class one summer at the local mall. The assignment was to make a vest; I of course made a 3 piece suit. Clearly showing early signs of the over achiever.
I attended a very structured Catholic high school and my attentions focused more on studies. I wasn't able to take an art class until the last semester of my senior year. Creative endeavors were more about the occasional sketch I'd give to a boyfriend or a fun Halloween costume I'd make for a friend.
Starting Young…At 16
Having graduated at the young age of 16, I decided to stay local for my college studies. I just wasn't ready to move away from home. I attended California State University Hayward where with the help of faculty I created my own special major. I hold a Bachelors of Art degree in Marketing the Arts.
Passion For Creating
Continuing on the education fast track I completed my studies at the age of 20. While my marketing classes have been very helpful to me it was my study in art that really held my interest. Upon graduating, I went back to take all of the art classes I wished I had taken. My studies included Japanese paper-making, printmaking and artist's books. It was during this time period that I met an amazing up and coming artist by the name of Enrique Chagoya. I became part of a network of students who would gather on evenings and weekends and just create. He instilled in me how important it was to be passionate about life and creativity. For the first time, I thought of myself as an artist.
During this same time period, following in my mother's foot steps and ready to join the workforce I quickly took a job in Real Estate sales. I bought my first luxury car, nice clothes and my first home by the age of 21. Luckily, I soon realized that material things were not all they were cracked up to be and truthfully I was miserable. After lunch one day, I returned to my office, packed up my desk, quit my job and never looked back.
Traveling the World and Its Influences…
I decided it was time to travel the world. I sold pretty much everything I owned and moved to my father’s homeland, Montevideo, Uruguay. I rented a tiny furnished studio apartment by the beach. I hand stitched curtains and pillows and it became my home for the next 18 months. Looking back, it was an amazing time of personal growth. I was 23.
I took classes in Serigraphy, pastry making and even importing and exporting, pretty much anything that I could take away from the experience. More than anything else I spent time getting to know my extended family, spending hours talking with my cousins and learning to knit with my aunts on Sunday afternoons. I became deeply aware of the importance of family and all of the amazing opportunities that my own country offered.
It was during this time that I developed a deep friendship and fell in love with the man who would become my husband, Miguel. He was also anxious to travel and convinced me to join him on a trip throughout Europe. Returning to the US for a brief time, we worked a great deal and saved money for the journey.
Our venture started in Paris; we traveled for 3 months and ended up living in Florence, Italy for close to a year. We rented an apartment just across the Ponte Vecchio, overlooking the Arno River. He took a job selling leather goods in a tourist shop and I studied Italian and of course art. I was part of an amazing program where a student would spend time with a local artisan in their studio several hours a week. I studied ceramics, Florentine paper-making and bookbinding. There is no doubt that my love of that which is antique, worn and unique came from wandering those cobblestone streets.
While my time in Florence was amazing, I deeply longed to return to the USA and to be with my mom, dad and brother again. Miguel and I moved in with my parents to save money to buy our first condo. We married shortly after our return in a rented farmhouse in Mendocino, California. There were 15 people in attendan
ce, it was pouring rain but was one of the most beautiful days of my life. I was 28.
Hooked On Quilting Instantly
About a month prior I decided to take a quilting class as a New Year's resolution to continue to be creative. I was hooked from the very first night. I would spend hours cutting and piecing, truly passionate from the word go. I know my husband thought I had gone off the deep end, in the beginning he just didn't get it. Not long after this first class I was asked by the owner to work in the quilt store. It started as 1 day a week and quickly grew into many more hours. I was also asked to teach a class, the first one had 6 students and 2 of them were the owners of the store. Although I was very nervous, I loved it!
Teaching…Mastering the "A" word…And Starting to Design
Before long I was teaching several classes a week along with working in the shop. In an effort to become a more well rounded teacher I took a class in appliqué. It was very difficult for me; I spent 50 hours on my first block, even shed tears of frustration. I finally mastered the technique. After several years of quilting, I was becoming less interested in doing other peoples patterns. Luckily, a designer by the name of Robyn Pandolph was coming to town and teaching an appliqué class. In the first five minutes of the class she asked us to take our pattern and turn it over and draw our own design on the back. I remember looking around the room and everyone was completely intimidated. Then I thought to myself, what am I worried about I can draw! Life has never been the same. I have not worked on another person's design since."
The next post we will see a sneak peek of the new line and read more from Verna in part 2.
(Photos thanks to Verna and photgrapher, Gregory Case. Shown above are two of Verna's patterns, Vintage Valentine and Amaretto Rose)