About two months ago, my life changed forever. You see, a young man named Nicholas Ball (IG: @quiltsfromtheattic) contacted me, and we struck up a conversation. I was quite smitten with his aesthetic, and let's just be real: his adorable pug. Plus, it was pretty awesome to be talking to another male quilter in a female-dominated world. I had seen a few other men around, but it was always in passing, without an extensive dialogue happening.
So as Nicholas and I continued to engage, a wild and crazy idea began growing and nagging at me from that part of the brain that Paris Hilton usually lives in. I had already told Mr. Sparkles, "After three quilt bees this year, I think I'll give them a break next year. But, hmm… I wouldn't mind doing my own thang, somehow…" And then it hit me like a backhanded remark from a drag queen:
Could I be so bold? Was I asking for trouble for starting such a group in the face of a traditionally female-dominated world? Once embraced, would I now be forever ostracised by the female quilting community? Is this considered reverse discrimination? Is there an underground men's quilt club I wasn't invited to? What happens if... "Oh, fuck it! Let's just find out."
So I posted that image on Instagram (IG: @moll_sparkles), and 54 comments later, this wild and crazy idea, was beginning to become a reality. Followers starting tagging all the male quilters they knew, and quite quickly, a group of us formed. Then, weeks later as I was travelling through Japan, I sat down and composed an email to all of us, which basically said, "This shit is real, y'all."
There are now 14 of us. If there is a walk of life, we are from it. We have our own logo, hash tag (#NGAQB), private Facebook group, Flickr group, and are all active somewhere on social media. Oh, and guess what, January is our first month, and we are killing it! (You go, … um, …
gurrl boooooyyyy!) Gosh, I haven't had a reason to say that one before!
First on the roster is Mr. January, Sandy Greenberg. You might not know Sandy, but I bet you know his wife, Brioni Greenberg, a founding member of Fat Quarterly eZine. I sat down with Sandy for a quick Q&A, interspersed with the Lone Starburst blocks I made for him. He had this to say:
I’m Sandy Greenberg. I was born in 1969, while men were walking on the moon, in the suburbs of Chicago. Being an only child I was given lots of attention and, since both my parents were teachers, my creativity was encouraged. I studied art in high school, at Illinois State University and finally got my degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I didn’t do much with it, other than get a job screen printing t-shirts. The creative bug was pretty much burned out of me.
Fast forward a decade or two and after a pretty serious work accident (I sliced open my wrist cutting nine of twenty-two tendons, one of three nerves and one of the arteries) I met a lovely Yorkshire lass online. Days and sparks flew and I moved to Leeds, UK and got married in 2002. We have a lovely 4 year old boy who has been with us for 2 ½ years now. We also have three cats called Jimmy (13 ½), Maggie (5) and Norman Price (14 weeks). I like reading and watching Science Fiction, watching motor sports, travelling, and having fun with my boy.
I am married to the super talented Brioni Greenberg, aka Flossyblossy. She’s been a quilter for about 6 years. She is one of the founders of Fat Quarterly eZine and is co-author of FQ’s first book (the second is on its way). She also had her first solo book come out this summer, 25 Ways to Sew Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes and Charm Packs. Having this influence in the house, and being constantly surrounded by fabric and projects it was pretty hard not to take an interest.
I approach quilting as a technical challenge. I am less bothered by the outcome and am more interested in the process. I LOVE paper foundation piecing! I have no interest or love of fabric however. I pay no attention to lines or designers, just pretty colours and patterns. I’m a fearless skilled amateur. My second ever project was a pattern of curved flying geese of my own design and everyone thought I was brave and crazy. I just did it because no one told me that I couldn’t.
I’m probably a modern quilter, I don’t really know. I tend to like uber-complicated patterns with small pieces and bright rainbow palettes. I chose the Lone Starburst block because I love it, but didn’t fancy making enough for a whole quilt. You can find tutorials here:
My Social Media:
Blog: Curly Boy Blog
And that, my lovelies, is how the No Girls Allowed Quilt Bee (#NGAQB) was formed, and where we are to this point. We don't mess around, and we are here this year to kick quilting boo-tay! It rocks the Casbah (LR!) chatting with other guys about quilting, and understanding what brought them to this fantastical place. By the end of the year we hope to show you a different perspective on quilting, all through the eyes of modern, male-driven quilts. We hope you'll join us on this journey.
January - Sandy Greenberg
February - Andrew Joslyn
March - Andrew Youngman
April - John Q. Adams
May - Paul Hallinger
June - Giles Turnbull
July - Ryan Walsh
August - Shaun Abels
September - Giucy Giuce
October - Nick Ball
November - Scott Hansen
December - Joshua Helms
Floater - Chris Jones
Whip Holder - Andres Rosales
P.s. If you're a guy, and want in on some of this man-on-man quilt lovin', we've started a Facebook group called, Men Who Quilt. Come a knockin' and I'll gladly invite you in!