Ted Storm, Winner of this year's Robert S. Cohan Master Award for Thread Artistry at the Houston International Quilt Festival, took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to chat with The Quilt Show about her early introduction into the world of quilting and the stories behind a couple of her amazing pieces of work.
Ted grew up in Holland and learned needlework in school and also by watching her grandmothter stitch embroidery. From an early age she had a flair for embellishment, and making collages with fabric.
During her last year of what is the United States' equivalent to high school, her Textile Arts teacher recognized her talents and suggested that she attend a textile design school. Ted visited the school and realized immediately that this was the field of work to which she was called. The school only accepted 28 students for the 4 year program, and of the 28, only 7 graduated with a Master's in Textile Design.
The last year of the program, Ted's mentor (the high school textile arts teacher) was killed in an automobile accident, which deeply affected Ted and almost caused her to drop out of the program, but she decided that she would continue with the program as that is what her teacher would want her to do.
After graduation, Ted was offered the job of a Textile Arts teacher. She continued creating her own works, mostly wall hangings, and was also commissioned to do pieces for lobbies of various architectural firms in Holland.
During this time, Ted became interested in applique, but was told by a quilt shop owner that applique was NOT quilting. A friend then advised her to go to Salzburg, Austria for an upcoming show. She did, as she was desperate to find someone to teach her about applique. In 1988 she attended the Quilt Expo Europa 1 in Salzburg where her life changed completely. Sitting in the audience she met Lois K. Ide, from Bucyrus, Ohio, who was to become her new mentor. Lois had brought fat quarters of fabric to share, a tradition Ted knew nothing about. They began conversing and Ted asked, "Do you know how to applique?" Lois did, and invited Ted to her home in Ohio to learn.
Over 1988 Easter break, Ted spent a week with Lois in Ohio learning everything possible about quilting and applique. Ted feels that Lois is her "quilting mother." Lois was completely open and willing to share all of her knowledge with her new friend.
Upon returning to Holland, Ted wanted to make a thank-you gift for Lois that truly represented Holland. She decided to use a piece of her grandmother's Royal Delftware plate as the inspiration for the quilt that would come to be known as "Holland's Glorie". She made two samples in applique utilizing all of the skills she had learned from Lois before beginning the larger quilt.
The quilt was entered into the 1992 Quilt Expo, The Hague, Netherlands and won 1st Place and Viewer's Choice. Ted says that it was a real shock to the Dutch quilting world at that time as itt was nothing like the quilts and designs that were being made in Holland. With all of the notoriety, she left her teaching job and began traveling and teaching quilting full-time.
Ted's most recent quilt, "Spring of Desire", has a very personal story behind it. According to Holland's tradition, a bride should carry a handkerchief when she gets married. Ted has been fortunate enought to have the family handkerchief that has been carried by each young bride in her family since 1829. She wanted to create a quilt based on the design of this delicate batiste piece of family history. She again combines applique, trapunto, and shi sha mirrors in her overall work. There are over 70 shi sha mirrors in each corner. The entire quilt is handmade. The best part, however, is what the viewers do NOT see. On the back of the quilt, the label is made using a piece of her wedding dress as well as that of her mother's. Also included is a list of the family weddings since 1829 in which the handkerchief has been carried. What a wonderful tribute to family history! And to think it all started with the sharing of fabric and a conversation with a generous quilter.