Who is Fern Royce?
I was born and raised in Northern California, surrounded by sewing, textiles and quilts.
When I was very young we lived with my maternal grandparents in Paradise, CA. It was there that I got my first peek into my grandmother’s sewing room – filled to the ceiling with boxes and tins of fabrics, buttons and notions.
That same grandmother bought me and my sisters a treadle sewing machine for $12.50 when I was 10 and I’ve been sewing ever since – although now I use an electric sewing machine.
My sisters will be the first to tell you that, as much as I loved fabric, I had a very difficult time cutting into it. My younger sister did not suffer from that hesitation – she would be wearing her new outfit while I was still “petting” my fabric. She, of course, thinks it’s quite funny that I now cut up fabric as a living!
I took my first quilting class in 1995 at New Pieces in Berkeley with Johyne Geran. One of her opening statements was “Once you start quilting you won’t be able to stop”….. I was skeptical but she was right.
Many more classes followed that first one with such quilting notables as Roberta Horton, Mary Mashuta and Freddy Moran. Best of all, I was able to take those classes without leaving town!
Early in my quilting career I found Gwen Marston’s books and followed her sharp left turn onto the Liberated Quilting path. I am grateful that I was able to attend the last two years of her 30 years of Beaver Island Retreats in Michigan. She is my biggest inspiration.
Here I am, 21 years later, still quilting, still cutting up fabric and now teaching others to do the same! I hope that I can inspire and encourage my students as much as my teachers inspired me. It is an honor to be part of and carrying forward the long tradition of quiltmaking.