Spotlight – Robbi Joy Eklow

Robbi Joy Eklow

I got to know Robbi, aka (also known as) The Goddess of the Last Minute,
through her column on the last page of Quilting Arts magazine. In her column she writes on issues related to her work and her travels. She is so funny and I could sometimes identify with her and recognize the same “viruses” (for example collecting materials, store them somewhere and forget to use them).
Other times I only wish I will one day do what she does and travel the world and have my quilts travel the world.

Robbi has been sewing since she was a child but later graduated with a degree in Engineering from the university. She is married to Brian and has 2 children. They  participate often in her quilting adventures she writes about in her column.
She started her first quilt in 1976 and her book “Free Expression” closes with the sentence: “To date she has not sewn through her finger”. This is quite funny. I was born in 1976 and I actually did sew my finger a couple of years ago..
As many other art quilters (maybe most of them) she started out by making trandional quilts but found out soon enough that it wasn’t her “cup of tea”. She wanted to create her own designs and develop her own techniques instead of follow instructions. When she visited a quilt show she realized there are many ways to make a quilts. A quote I really like:

“I began to make my quilts in  my own way, with my own voice. This is when I began to love quilting”

Steampunk Sublime

Another thing we have in common is unpatience. she writes in her book “Free Expression”:
“My style of quilting has evolved from my desire to get the designs out of my head quickly”
Her quilt tops are fused applique. There is no problem with raw edges because her quilts are going to be hang on the wall as paiting and wouldn’t be washed in the washing machine. Robbi’s quilts are colorfull and she uses the color wheel to create contrast that grabs the viewer attention.
Her appliques are house-hold items like vases, tea pots and fruit bowls. Things she actually own She buys them in garage sales to model for her quilts! She also design some quilts with computer graphic applications.
Robbi dyes her own fabric in the basement of her house. She uses only self dyed fabric in her quilts. Her quilts are excessively free-motion quilted. When she describe the state of flow quilting puts her I can relate to that too. I describe it sometimes as meditative.
Robbi teaches fabric dying, fused appliques and free-motion quilting. She participate in quilt shows and wins ribbons.

A long time ago I bought a pattern of a “needle turn applique” mini quilt and I started it but everytime I pick it up Robbi echoes in my ears “In art, you don’t get extra points for doing things the long way” and I have tried fused applique and  it is indead everything it suppose to be – a fast way to get the picture on the fabric and go to the fun part – quilting!
I have one quilt in progress that I created using exactly the methods Robbi teaches in her book. It is called “tea party” and I need to pick it up again.

There is only one thing missing in her quilts : BEADS! And reading in her column that she does buy them I wonder – where are they than?

One Last Orange, won the Rookie of the Year award in 2004.

Further reading:
Robbi’s website
Direct link to quilts gallery
Robbi’s blog
Fused applique technique on HGTV
Robbi’s books
Interview with Robbi on the blog Craftside
Facebook page

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