Phyllis has shown, sold, and taught all over the world. She makes her home on the beautiful Hamakua coast of Hawaii's Big Island, where she enjoys sharing her studio and her knowledge with others.
Q: How did you start down the path of art quilting?
A: I have always done art; painting, drawing, embroidery. Really, I have never met a medium that I didn't like! But when I discovered fabric and threads, and learned how much texture and the great sculptural effects that I could achieve, I was hooked.
Q: So what is your background? Did your mother sew?
A: My mother was an artist, but I learned mostly from taking a few classes and reading a lot of books.
Q: So where do you find your inspiration?
A: I always think "If I were a writer, would I want to write about this?." I love to tell a story with my choice of color and design. You know the old saying," A picture is worth a thousand words," so I use my quilts to tell the story. I also want to use my works to make people happy, so I like to use a lot of color. In classes, they always say," You need to find your voice" and to that my response is "I believe I am multilingual!"
Q: You live in the beautiful state of Hawaii. How is the quilting scene there?
A: There are a lot of different kinds of quilts here. While there are traditional quilts, we live in a place that never goes below 60 degrees at night, so there isn't a great need to create warm quilts. About 50% of the population is Asian, so there is a strong Far East influence in a lot of the work.Then we have Hawaiian influences and a lot of art quilting. There are more artists ( of all mediums) per capita in Hawaii than in any other state, so we have a vibrant art scene here and quilting is accepted as part of that scene.
Q: Do you have a favorite WonderFil thread?
A: That depends on the project. I really like my threads to show, so I gravitate towards the heavier threads. That being said, I won't use anything but DecoBob in my bobbin...my longarm just refuses to work without it! I use a lot of variegated threads, like Mirage, because I love the color changes, and your cotton ( Konfetti) is great for piecing. You have such a large offering; I am looking forward to trying all of them!
Q: What is coming up for you in 2018?
A: I teach locally a lot and we have 3 local shows this year ( Quilting on the Beach). I have applied to teach at the AQS shows, and I have been invited to teach at the Israeli Quilting Conference in July, as well as in Mongolia and Australia. I am working hard to have some new pieces completed for the upcoming SAQA exhibits. So I am pretty busy. That being said, I love to teach, so let people know to contact me if they would like me to come to their guild or show.