Member Spotlight

Presenting Glendora Simonson

Name   Glendora Simonson

Live Where ~ City, State   East Orange, NJ

Tell us something about you!  A native of Newark, NJ, I recently retired from education after 36 years.  I Initially I worked as a special education teacher, working with adjudicated delinquents then as a learning consultant, diagnosing learning disabilities.  Much of my work involved underserved populations.  In addition to textile art, my hobbies include drawing, cooking and baking. Someday, I also hope to learn to play the piano really well. My house is full!  Two of my three adult children still live with me (but I’m working on that); the oldest lives happily across town. I also live with 3 cats.

When did you become a quilter?  Before quilting, I sewed clothing for myself and my dolls.  I also made window treatments. I’ve been quilting for about 40 years.  My first quilt was an appliqued and embroidered baby quilt that I made from a Simplicity pattern. Always intrigued by textile crafts, I started quilting in earnest after taking a class in a local adult school program. I previously used the sewing machine and was accustomed to completing projects quickly and efficiently.  This class emphasized hand sewing which helped me improve those skills tremendously. I was also introduced to the rotary cutter and discovered that you could actually cut and measure at the same time!

Why do you quilt?  The urge to create is persistent. Quilting is my medium.  I quilt because I must express visually what I’m thinking and feeling. Making art affords me the opportunity to achieve a zen-like state where I feel like I’m channeling ancestral memories.

What is your favorite part of quilting? The design process is my favorite part of quilting.  Most of my recent quilts tend to be narrative. In addition to telling a story, I also enjoy solving design dilemmas, playing with textures, shapes and colors. 

What is the part of quilting you don’t like?  Cleaning up after a project is so tedious to me. I never want to throw away any scraps, because I can “use” them for another project.  I realize the necessity of clearing the work surface but I find the housekeeping, organizing part unpleasant.  While I thoroughly enjoy working in a clean and orderly space, it just doesn’t come naturally to me.  I have to expend a great deal of energy to achieve orderliness. After spending that time and effort, I’m either annoyed that the day is over or that I’m too tired to do anything creative.  So, when my choice is to regain order or keep working, I usually just keep working.

Where do you find inspiration?  Everywhere. I find inspiration in nature, particularly flowers and plants that have unusual shapes or colors. I also find inspiration in music, fabric, as well as socio-political events.  I find the current political climate to be a perpetual source of rich inspiration, good and bad. 

What do you do when you are not quilting?  When I’m not quilting, I enjoy cooking and baking, playing with my cats, as well as reading about different craft or quilting projects.  I also enjoy traveling to different places on my bucket list. 

Presenting: Montika Allen-Atkinson

Montika Allen-Atkinson

Born Where ~ Glendale, AZ Luke Air Force Base

Live Where ~ Junction City, Kansas

Tell us something about you!  

A retired school teacher of 37 years in the profession: Bachelor of Science in elementary education, a Master’s Degree in Education, an Endorsement in Library Media Specialist and a National Board Certification Teacher. The illustrious teaching career spanned Oklahoma, Kansas, and Germany. Traveling, reading, teaching, cooking, Quilts of Valor, and talking to her connected circle of friends are passions which keeps the life of retirement enjoyable. Spending time with her wonderful husband Ronald Atkinson Sr., a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel of 34 years and their son Ronald Atkinson Jr., a graduate of Kansas State University with a BS in music education.

When did you become a quilter?

First quilt was made at the age of ten 51 years ago and periodically made baby quilts as gifts. The life of quilting passionately peaked full bloom around 2009 after becoming a member of a quilting circle with African American women. The urge to know and grow took on its own course with reading, experimenting, and pushing into areas with reading knowledge. As the urged pressed on so did the dream of finishing quilts from beginning to end, therefore owning a longarm quilting machine was on the list to accomplish, so did the desire to find her own niche of quilting from traditional, creating self-patterned quilts, fabric dyeing, thread art, quilts incorporating machine embroidery, mixed media experimentation quilts, art quilts and art quilts with statements. I am a self-taught quilter as well as self-taught free motion and ruler work quilter!

Why do you quilt?

Quilting is a passion and it will be the legacy I leave after my “Dash” My Dad told me, “You have your grandmother’s hands” which is my great grandmother. The desire for quilting is within my soul, the fabrics speak to me, the designated designs come in dreams. I truly believe the ancestors are speaking to me and their love of quilting comes through. I want to believe that my ancestors quilting would have evolved to what I do in quilting if we could quilt side by side.

What is your favorite part of quilting?

All aspects of quilting are my favorite. Binding a quilt was not and prayer has put me on an all new level; it took some years but with an earnest prayer of asking Him to help with a love binding for as much as a for love designing, piecing and longarm quilting. So now a stack of quilts to hand bind is an awaited sense of PEACE to finish a quilt; no machine binding in this studio!

What is the part of quilting you don’t like?

At one time is was batting but prayer changes things!

Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration comes from dreams, creating one of a kind quilts. In the beginning it was gifting quilts to my siblings, nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, new babies arriving in the family and a few close friends who I call MY SISTERS. Six years ago with purchasing African waxed fabrics scraps from a local dress maker pushed traditional quilting fabrics off the radar and the challenge to use African waxed fabrics to the center and an entire “Newness” was birthed. The African waxed fabrics creates its own language to a quilt and that in itself keeps the inspiration pointing upward with self-challenges.

What do you do when you are not quilting?

When not quilting sketching, doodling, reading books on quilting is an automatic. A small notebook is always in my purse to jot down a line drawing for longarm designs or to sketch which could derive into a quilt. Knowing how one brain works and a love for teaching time is set aside for two or three struggling readers to accomplish the task of becoming a reader.  Traveling is always in the works with the husband and a trip of 10 or more days the traveling machine is in tow as well as the sketch booklet. A few stops along the way where the desire is only red, white, and blue fabrics for Quilts of Valor; rarely are other fabrics put into the basket for purchase!

Below we have pictured some of Montika’s work

Montika at work
Montika was the long arm quilter for NAAQG’s Harriet Tubman Byway Quilt