Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Claiming Wanda

I woke up trying to remember when I first met Wanda Hanson. It had to be in the early 80's, and it was at the first show I had ever entered.  It was in the Courthouse in Geneva IL and a more unlikely place for a quilt show couldn't be found. The quilts were hung from balconies and banisters. I was there to watch the viewers, and get a real dose of honest reactions. One person seemed to be taking pictures with an obviously expensive camera. It was Wanda. We chatted and we exchanged addresses so she could send me copies of the pictures she had taken. So friendly and enthusiastic, I liked her immediately.
After that we met a few more times and soon I was under her spell. She was an experienced quilter and even taught quilting classes. She was so generous with information and I was a sponge. It was Wanda that got me off into the right direction with quilting. These pages from my scrap book tell the story.
It was Wanda that first took my hand dyed fabric to QSDS to sell in the student bazaar. I had no idea that the enthusiastic art quilters there would buy my stuff. Soon I knew I had to attend too, and that's where I met all sorts of now famous beginning art quilters. I started as a student, then vendor then teacher myself. All because Wanda introduced me to the place!

This friendship was so valuable to me, and at the time I had no idea how much it would mean in terms of being a good teacher, but Wanda let me sit in on her class at Quilt America, so I could witness how a great teacher ran a class. I paid close attention and learned so much.

When I was in graduate school I would drop by and visit Wand
since she lived so close to the university. It was at her house that I used a computer for the very first time. So many firsts...
No one is really ever successful on their own. It takes someone like Wanda to mentor a person and help refine them, guide them, and cheer for them when it all works.

Thanks so much to my mentor, Wanda Hanson.


  1. I guess it's not a coincidence that you and Wanda are my two favorite quilting bloggers. Such different methods of creating your art but so connected, especially in your love of color. I enjoy reading both your blogs each day and am always impressed with the amount of information you willingly share with your readers.

  2. I'm a big Wanda fan, too, Melody! Wanda's is one of the best quilting blogs around (along with yours, of course,). Even when I don't have time to read all the blogs in my reader, these two are among the first I do read. (When is Wanda going to start knitting, LOL?)

  3. Anonymous9:28 AM

    I now know why I so enjoy your blog too!! It is the Wanda-isms yet so just yourself too! Thanks for sharing. Gail Norback

  4. And of course now I am trying to think of the first time I met YOU!
    I can picture you at the vendors mall where I had a booth.
    I think it may have been the Rockford, Illinois show???????
    Big Sis

  5. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Thank you for sharing your history with Wanda.
    Every one starts as a beginner and it is nice to hear the story of the road you travelled to get to where you are today.
    I enjoy your blog immensely....

  6. Just popping in for my daily dose of color. Love {The Neighborhood}. Sure wish I knew how to quilt better. But then I would have more than a stash of way too much yarn. I know I would have a huge stast of fabric too.

    Keep the Rainbows Coming,

    Kate - The Garden Bell

  7. I sit here with tears running down my cheeks as I read your post today. I remember the day I met you so vividly. I had finally found someone else who LOVED COLOR like I did. We had so much fun together and still do via blogs and email. I had forgotten the history of those 3 pieces. I have a picture of you in my studio with the striped one. Thanks Mel!

  8. Thanks for your tribute to Wanda Hanson. She is one of my favorite bloggers, and has been generous with her expertise and time in answering several emails of mine (as have you as well). I have learned so much from reading both your blogs!

  9. I loved this story of a quilting friendship. I happy that I count you as one of my mentors and friends.

  10. What richillgal and Debbie said, except the part about knitting... don't distract her from her fabric!

    The only blog I read before yours (both of you) is my daughter-in-law, who blogs about the world's most beautiful baby...

  11. Well, I read both your blogs every day! It makes sense that Wanda is your mentor. I'm learning a lot from BOTH of you!

  12. Anonymous4:33 PM

    Well, I don't know Wanda but am so glad I've met you and I tell everyone about my new friend in Palmer and how talented she is. I look forward to learning from you in the future with my beginning quilting journey.

  13. I didn't realize your paths were so intertwined. I read both your and Wanda's blogs daily (along with Frieda's) and just love and enjoy them both so much! I learn so much from both of you and appreciate your generosity and creativity. Much love to you both.

  14. Anonymous5:30 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this! What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful teacher - and of course, you became a wonderful teacher yourself - learn from the best!

  15. Anonymous8:15 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. That was a lovely story. Thanks for sharing Melody.

  17. Zieknits6:57 AM

    What a nice tribute and memory! Thank you for sharing. I'm not familiar with Wanda...yet. :)

    And since nobody else said it: Dude. That's your scrapbook? I thought it was a real book until I noticed the typed bits were pasted in. Wow. Just...wow.

  18. Luck you, to have Wanda with you as you started out.

    Luckier still - Wanda, to be acknowledged in this way.


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