We were thrilled to have the very talented Sugy Kim as our first guest speaker for 2020. She spoke to a large crowd at our February Monthly Meeting, taking us on her journey from a diligent student in Japan to a quilting megastar.
Originally from South Korea, Sugy went to Japan after completing her Fine Arts Degree. She married an Australian but they continued to live in Japan where she commenced a rigorous three year quilting course.
This was at the Chuck’s Patchwork School which has produced many master quilters. Each month a block was studied and then created according to the teacher’s instruction, all by hand.
These first quilts were made while at the school as was the very traditional sampler. Even the colours are influenced by the teacher.
It is a tradition among Japanese quilters that they make one big quilt using one of the traditional blocks – log cabin, dresden plate or grandmother’s garden. Mavis’s Garden was started in 2009 and completed in 2018. It is made half size. The back should be as good as the front and it should last forever.
It is this strong foundation that Sugy has built upon and uses to create her amazing quilts. It was not until she moved with her family to Melbourne that she purchased a sewing machine. After visiting a quilt show she learned that if she wanted to exhibit she needed to be a member, so she joined Victorian Quilters and set about making a quilt to exhibit.
This quilt earned Sugy her first ribbon, and she was thrilled. Now she was beginning to feel like a quilter.
Quilts designs are drafted by hand, the way she was taught. She draws the whole pattern and then considers how each part is going to be constructed as she colours her design. Grain, seam allowance, how points will be joined are all very important.
The next show quilt took eleven months to make. It won 5 ribbons including Best of Show.
In making this quilt she learned a lot about handling little pieces. And managing bias, to always put it next to straight grain. This is all part of the planning. Her most well known quilt, Colourful Retina was three months in the designing, five months making and seven months quilting. The huge quilt was first drawn on paper, one quarter of the design at full size. As each section was made it was pinned to the design wall for further colour consideration. Then when all the piecing was finished all seam allowances were trimmed to make hand quilting easier.
The message we all learned from Sugy Kim is that amazing quilts do not just happen, they are the result of years of learning and practice, dedicated hard work and attention to every detail.
At the same time Sugy has fun with her quilting and also loves making bags.