Creative Moms & Daughters

by Liesl Russell


Interview with Linda Hutchings (continued) 


5. Where or how do you find inspiration?

I came from a family of gifted musicians. With my lead ear, however, I found my reward in making things with my hands. While they were applauded playing their guitars and hoedown fiddles, I studied the room. How did they hang up those drapes like that? Whose magic fingers tucked in all the raw edges on the upholstery? I don't remember any applause as I wore my kaleidoscope vest made of gaudy scraps of corduroy, although my home-economics teacher was duly appreciative. I can't remember ever selling anything I made. Most of my inspiration comes from making things for family, friends and my home. I can't count the pajamas I have made for my grandchildren. My favorite pair was orange for my oldest grandson, Heather's boy, on which I embroidered all of his off-kilter, toddler words. His word "handgumber" for the McDonald's sandwich was a last laugh at bedtime.


6. What creative project do you remember doing with Heather for the first time, and how did it turn out?

Because I was typically creating something, Heather was always at my elbow to see what I was doing. At three, Heather was making three-dimensional objects out of paper and staples. Early on I did my Lamaze breathing while I allowed this little girl to snarl up my Bernina sewing machine. By third grade, Heather was crocheting doll clothes and selling them to teachers at school. I had barely shown Heather how to do knit and purl stitches when she click-clacked past me and created beautiful sweaters in the flaming colors of Kaffe Fassett, leaving me in her fuzzy dust.


She did the same with quilting. No sooner than she saw me quilting, she began to quilt, not my simple stuff cut on the grain line, rather bias-cut works of art. The most important thing I did for Heather was to supply her with materials (lots and lots of materials) and with lots of praise-and then stand back. Her photographic memory could later recall exact colors and patterns on quilts from the quilt shows we attended. I discovered her gift one day when I needed a phone number. She rattled it off to me before I could look it up. When asked how she knew the number, her stunning reply was, "I saw it by the phone two weeks ago!" Heather needed little instruction from me, just lots of exposure to all things creative.


7. Is your creative style similar to or different from your daughter's?

Our styles are as different as are the Pope and Harry Potter. While I am left-brained, matchy-matchy, rule-ridden in my choices, Heather's head should look like she has a subcutaneous watermelon on the right side of her noggin. She breaks all the rules and teaches me to be braver.


8. What kinds of creative things do you and your daughter enjoy doing together?

When our busy schedules allow, we enjoy doing anything and everything creative together. I sew items for her quilt shows, help in her online store, edit her patterns and magazine articles and clap-chap my hands applauding her talent. I am grateful that my childhood taught me to laud all types of talents and prepared me for Heather's whirlwind, eclectic creativity.



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