This week, La Mesa's Linda Anderson hopes to stitch together a win at the 2013 Road to California International Quilt Festival in Ontario, CA. A San Diego native, who for 10 years lived with her husband and daughter in Trinidad in the Carribean, Anderson has been a La Mesa resident for four years. Anderson specializes in "art quilts," portraying vivid, beautiful images onto the quilt, the needle and thread serving as her paintbrush. As a prelude to her attending in the quilting competition, she spoke with Patch via email.
La Mesa-Mount Helix Patch: Are you a native La Mesan? Did you go to school, high school, college in the area?
Linda Anderson: I grew up on Waring Road from age 4 and went to Marvin Elementary, Lewis Junior High and graduated from Hoover High School. I attended Mesa JC for 2 years and then transfered to Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles where I earned a BFA and a MFA. In 1999 my husband, I and our 10 year old daughter at the time took a year off and sailed from here to Trinidad in the Caribbean. After living and working there for 10 years, we returned in 2008 and have now lived in La Mesa for 4 years. And love it!
Patch: How did you become interested in quilting?
Anderson: I have been interested in quilting for about six or seven years and am self taught, but only discovered the unique area of "Art Quilts" four years ago. As soon as I saw my first art quilt after returning to the U.S., "I knew I had found my future," as they say. These are art works that hang on walls not to be touched or used, but appeciated as one would a painting.
Patch: How long have you been doing quilting competitions? And what is your biggest win in any competition?
Anderson: I entered my first art quilt competition last year at the 2012 Road to California International Quilt Festival. This past summer I won 1st place at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad at their 10th anniversary exhibit.
Patch: What do you do for a living?
Anderson: I am no longer working for pay but for the love of what I do. I work at my two sewing machines at least eight hours a day. It is my consuming passion, and I am always looking for what my next piece will be. In the past I have been an art teacher, a home decorator, a Marriage and Family Therapist (I also have a MA in counseling), and a school guidance counselor and parent trainer in Trinidad while living there. It is now wonderful to return to my roots as an artist in a medium I didn't know existed. I had always sewn, and had also drawn, but never knew I could combine those skills and interests in this particular way.
Patch: Do you have family that lives in the area or grew up here?
Anderson: My family moved to San Diego in 1954 still lives here after over 58 years, one of the main reasons my husband and I decided to return here after living abroad.
Patch: What do you enjoy most about quilting?
Anderson: Creating an art quilt is so different from following a prescribed pattern of traditional quilts. Being an artist, I will spend a week creating a complete drawing of what I want the art quilt to look like so I know "where I am going." The daily challenge and questions I ask are, "how do I get there?, what do I need to do to recreate what I did on paper in fabric and thread?" My mind never stops seeking those solutions. And they are many and constant. Then when I see how it all comes together and replicates the drawing, that is magic to me. Each piece takes on average two months of full-time work.
Patch: Anything else you'd like to add?
Anderson: I am honored to be a finalist in two different categories in such a huge international competition. By this evening the judges should be sending emails to acknowledge if that finalist status means a placing of honorable mention up to 1st place. Any of the above is inspiration to me to keep doing what I am doing. Fifteen years ago, I clipped a Ziggy cartoon out of the paper and had it laminated. It has traveled the world with me and is still in my work room today. Its words of wisdom are "When you find yourself getting lost in your work, you know you have found your future."
You can see more of Linda's unique work on her website: http://laartquilts.com/