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Roberta Horton (left) Mary Mashuta (Right) Roberta Horton (left) Mary Mashuta (Right)

Who is Roberta Horton?

Attending my first quilt event in 1970 turned me into a quiltmaker. By the time I departed that lecture, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Two classes later, I made my first quilt with a heavy weight poly-cotton fabric, flannel for batting, and heavy duty thread and a sharp needle for the quilting. I had a lot to learn.

Born with teaching genes, the next logical step was to start teaching the subject myself. Fortunately, I have never been hindered by my lack of knowledge. When I get excited about a subject, I want to tell someone else about it. First, I don’t think you can ever learn all there is to know about a topic. And second, you learn from your students.

By 1973 I had taught the first state accredited quiltmaking class through adult education in California. Intermediate classes made a group quilt to learn how to quilt on a frame. Each of the 41 quilts (1973-1980) had a different theme, with its own coloration and fabric appropriate to the selected topic. I was the buyer of all the necessary fabric, and I now realize that this was my apprenticeship in quiltmaking. Some of the quilts were featured in Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine in 1978. (My only two covers!)

Traditional quilts have been my learning tool. Studying antique scrap quilts taught me about fabric usage. Amish quilts provided the key to color. As my tastes in fabric widened (Japanese, African, Australian), I found traditional formats sometimes limiting. Studying African-American quilts taught me how to build a quilt in a new way. The acquiring of the fabric is half the fun. The other half is figuring out how to best showcase it. Through studying the quiltmaking tradition I have come full circle, richer for the journey.

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