From quilting to felting to scrapbooking, Trice Boerens is a designer who can handle it all. Over the years she has created for a variety of companies, including her most recent book with Lark, 45 Quilt Blocks: Flowers. We were lucky enough to get a minute of her time this week to find out more about the woman behind the designs.
Trice, how did you get your start crafting and quilting?
My Mother was pretty handy and she had me convinced that she could do anything. A female MacGyver with a 60’s bubble-cut, she once restored a torn page from library book with glue, wax paper, and an emery board. Each year when spring rolled around she felt that it was her duty to make Easter dresses, and with four sisters that meant a lot of fabric scraps. I claimed the scrap pile and started making crazy quilts. Not crazy quilts, but crazy quilts. Free-form, asymmetrical quilts made from cotton, eyelet, jersey, or polyester (depending on what we saw in Seventeen magazine that year). Sidebar, on my To-Do List is: “Write a proposal for a quilt book titled Insane Crazy Quilts.” Is that offensive? I hope not because it practically writes itself!
Are there any influential quilters that inspire you?
I am not enough of an insider to talk about favorite quilters, but I do have favorite artists. One of my heroes, Henry Matisse, made amazing paper collages and once said that, “cutting into color reminds me of a sculptor’s carving.” At the beginning of a quilting project, cutting into beautiful fabric offers the same thrill.
Do you ever get stuck creatively?
I get stuck creatively every day of my life! In fact I am stuck right now and that is why I am writing this at 2:37 in the morning. When I read this online, I will be embarrassed and so will my Mom. But visually speaking, I use a variety of print resource materials. When that fails me, I buy a 32-ounce fountain Coke. Then I walk around the mall or around Target and look at products and displays and signage and packaging. There are so many talented people in the world and I appreciate the ones that can make a jam label look lovely.
How would you describe your artistic aesthetic, and how does it vary (or stay the same) across all the various mediums you work in?
I don’t know how to describe my artistic aesthetic; I just like what I like. I once heard heaven described as feeling a baby’s cheek against yours, or biting into the perfect slice of pizza. I would agree with both of those and would add that heaven would be having a painting by Maxfield Parrish hanging on my wall. As far as an artistic identity, I am sure that I have one but I can’t describe it. And I don’t want to bore you with too much introspection!
Trice, you have had a fun and rewarding career as not only an author and writer, but also a designer for many big brands. What was one of your biggest design challenges?
Designing a finished end-use product is different from designing a quilt pattern or a cross stitch graph. A pair of earrings is a pair of earrings. But when someone buys a book of quilt patterns, her investment includes the book, the materials, her time, and her soul. That is a daunting responsibility for a designer.
What does your perfect day off look like these days?
On my perfect day off, I get a 32-ounce Coke and then walk around Target looking at jam labels. Do you want to join me? I will be the one in the t-shirt and the pajama bottoms.