Thursday, March 14, 2024

You're Not Going to be Famous--You're a QUILTER!

Settle in. This is a long post with lots of photos. :)

 This adventure began back in October 2023 when I received an email from Lilo Bowman, production manager for The Quilt Show, an online prescription-based quilt show that has over 100,000 subscribers. People often don't realize that quilting in the U.S. alone is a nearly $5 billion a year industry! 

Anyway, Lilo's email said:

"I've recently discovered your work and would like to invite you to be a featured artist at our upcoming Livermore, CA taping, March 10-16, 2024. Along with learning about you and your work, we ask that artists present two-three short teaching demos that will be included in the overall show.

Please let me know if this is of interest to you."

I already knew what my answer would be--a resounding NO!--and Mark had just returned home from a few days in the hospital with a kidney stone, so I ignored it, intending to answer it later. A few days later, Alex Anderson, one of the hosts of the show, along with Ricky Tims, called and said, "Why haven't you answered Lilo's email?" We have known Alex for over 20 years, having gone on five quilting cruises together and were vendors multiple times at Quilting in the Garden, a really lovely quilt show in the Alden Lane Nursery in Alex's hometown of Livermore. 

So I told Alex, my answer was going to be no and I just hadn't gotten around to answering Lilo. And then she asked, "Don't you want to be famous?" Again, NO! "Don't you know that my producer used to work on the Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Phil shows? She's amazing!" Again, no.

After hanging up the phone and feeling pretty good that Mark and Alex had heard my definitive response, Mark started telling me why I should at least get more information and consider doing it. The thought of being in front of a camera and demonstrating anything was incomprehensible to me. I mean, Alex was the host of Simply Quilts on HGTV for eleven years, and she and Ricky have been doing The Quilt Show for 17 years. What could I possibly demo that hasn't been done a million times already?? And honestly, my quilts are not complicated. I take photos of common things around me--floor tiles, beach towels, upholstery--and figure out a way to make a quilt. Quilters take inspiration photos all the time. It's what we do. 

But, Mark pointed out, how many of them actually make the quilt? Hmmmm....

So I got more information from Lilo and a two-hour zoom meeting was set up with the producer, Shelly Heesacker. After what was some low-grade arm twisting, I finally agreed. 

Well, Tuesday afternoon filming my episode actually happened. To say I was nervous is an understatement. 

A large home in the Livermore area had been rented to film all the episodes.

Mark and I drove to Livermore on Monday afternoon, about a three-hour drive, because we didn't want to worry about traffic on Tuesday morning--there was enough to worry about. Ha!

We arrived a little early and watched part of the taping of the guest scheduled in the morning. It gave me a feel of how things would go. 

I knew I would be filming three segments--a "show and tell" with both Alex and Ricky, a demo segment with Ricky where I would show how I go from Point A--taking the photo--to Point B--the actual quilt, and a segment with Alex on working with different substrates of solids. Quilters work primarily with 100 percent quilting cotton, but I have often incorporated things like linen/cotton blends, silk, and shot cottons. And then there were would a short "after show" segment that would include Mark as well. 

Really all I had to do in this segment was answer questions. They had a lot of background info on me and it helped that I had known Alex for such a long time, so I wasn't so star struck. They both put me at ease and I feel like it went quite well. 

After this part, we filmed the "after show" segment with Mark. For years, Alex and Ricky have honored a "quilting legend" and presented them with a plaque. That plaque has always been a beautiful fused glass plaque made by Mark, quite an honor for him. And since he has been amazingly supportive to me over the years, I was so happy that they chose to include him. 

The next segment was the one I was really worried about, and I sure wish I could film it over again. I keep replaying it in my mind and this is the segment where I ask myself: why did I say that? why didn't I say that? I think I made things more confusing than they needed to be...etc, etc, etc. On the other hand, Shelly, who really IS an amazing producer, didn't ask for things to be retaped. So I guess I'll just have to leave things in her hands and trust that it will turn out okay.
Just to make sure my name is pronounced correctly.

The third segment was the one on "super solids," with Alex.

My favorite photo:

There are so many working parts and so many people involved with filming these episodes. 

Kristen, Lilo, me and Shelly.
Kristen took all the still shots for social media.

They photographed each featured quilt along with pertinent information.

I loved this bit of marketing on @thequiltshowsocial instagram account.

And they filmed a trailer where Ricky said: "On the next Quilt Show, we plucked her from relative obscurity and we are shining a bright spotlight on the talents of Fresno, California, quilter Cindy Wiens." :) 

To be honest, I am not looking forward to seeing myself on film. But I am happy that I decided to expand my horizons and take advantage of this amazing opportunity when it was presented to me (thanks to family and friends who repeatedly told me that I could do it). 

Oh, and if you are wondering about the title of this blog post...remember when Alex asked me if I wanted to be famous? I told Gabe that story, and that's when he said, "Grandma, you're not going to be famous. You're a QUILTER!" And I said, "well, I'm not going to be famous like Taylor Swift, if that's what you are thinking..."

Everyone on the show loved that story, which is actually one of my favorite things about this whole experience and led to a good conversation with Gabe about art and artists. I knew what he meant--not a negative thing in my regard--he just had a whole different level of fame in mind. Anyway, Alex had her granddaughter  make these Swiftie bracelets for me.
Quite the adventure.

A couple of souvenirs from the show: note cards used by the producer, my bracelets and the thank you note from Alex's granddaughter, who made the bracelets--so sweet.
And I'm glad to be home.


05 08
Mary Kolb said... #

Congratulations on accepting a new experience & excelling at it!!

Debbie said... #

I'm so glad you shared about your experience here. Thank you! And congrats to you for saying yes! I hope I get to eventually see the result!

purduepam said... #

Wow. Congratulations

Anonymous said... #

Wow! What an experience and honor! You are quite amazing! I am so glad this feature was done and so so excited to see it!
My cousin, is famous!♥️🤗

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said... #

What an experience! It sounds like the request came at a really tough personal time, so I'm glad you sat with it a little longer. Congratulations, and welcome home!

Alex Anderson said... #

Rock star Cindy [LOVE you!!

Anonymous said... #

So much fun!!! I’m thrilled that you decided to do this. How incredibly affirming to talk about and share your gorgeous work with Alex, Ricky and their audience!

Deb Cox said... #

oh cindy. you and mark never cease to amaze me. thanks for sharing this incredible experience with us and you always keep us guessing. congratuations on your accomplishments and glad that mark is feeling better. cheers and have a very good day. (-:

Anne / Springleaf Studios said... #

Cindy, I'm so excited for you!!! Good for you to go for it. As a fellow introvert, I know how terrified you must have been. I didn't know you knew Alex or that Mark makes their plaques. That's cool too. I once attended a talk by Ricky when he lived in Denver. He gave wonderful presentation including him playing the piano. Let us know when it will air.

Angelia Gordon said... #

How very exciting for you and deserving! I now know someone famous! I have always admired your gorgeous, highly skilled work-womanship, and love of solids! You ROCK!!!

Anonymous said... #

I’m just thrilled with your willingness to share your goodness with more of the world! And that Mark was featured, too, as you are such a great couple.

Anonymous said... #

Congratulations Cindy! I can’t wait to see your show!

Georgia said... #

Congratulations, Cindy! I can't wait to see The Quilt Show in which you're featured. Your blog fans are cheering for you.

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said... #

Congratulations! Well deserved. Your quilts are beautiful!

Rochelle aka Bella Quilts said... #

What a wonderful opportunity. I'm so happy for you and that you accepted the offer to appear on The Quilt Show. It must have been so daunting to begin with. I do love the conversation you had with Gabe. It is important to be able to show our grandchildren that everyone has something to share...not just the athletes, singers and movie stars. Congratulations!!