Exclusive Interview with Ricky Tims
Check out the exclusive interview below with Quilting Legend Ricky Tims who will be joining us at this year’s Festival of Quilts. Learn from the beginning how Ricky got into quilting and what he will be bringing to you at this year’s Festival!
Q. Ricky, can you tell us a little about yourself? How long have you been quilting and how did you get into quilting in the first place?
A. I began quilting in 1991. It was sheer accident really. I had received an old 1955 Sears Kenmore sewing machine that had belonged to my Granny. She was 83 years old and remarried. She couldn’t take her sewing machine to where she was moving so it ended up with me. I got the idea to make a western shirt for two-stepping, but when I browsed the patterns I got cold feet. As I was leaving the fabric store (not a quilt shop), I passed by a small rack of quilt books. I thought perhaps a quilt would be easier to make than a shirt so I bought a book that looked like it was for beginners. The quilt was a sampler quilt. I didn’t know anyone who quilted so I just followed instructions the best I could. That was the start. I was hooked.
Q. How is it that you’ve managed to combine such diverse skills and passions (quilting and music)?
A. I’ve been a musician since before I can remember – truly! I started lessons at the age of three. Music was my life and my passion and was a fairly successful career before quilting came along. The marriage of the two happened when I created a lecture called The Music In My Quilt which demonstrated the parallels between the compositional devices of music and the elements of art. I needed a piano to do the lecture and suddenly my music became part of the quilting. In 1998 I left my position as choral director and dove head first into the quilting net. Thankfully, it caught me.
Q. It’s 10 years since you were last at The Festival of Quilts. What memories do you have of the 2008 Festival?
A. Besides the quilts, it was a story that I told at the gala, but I can’t relate that story here. Let’s just say it was a true story revealed for the first time and I’ll be telling that story again this year. Here’a s hint: it’s about smoked salmon.
Q. What are you most looking forward to about this year’s Festival?
A. Besides the quilts (I love quilts), I’ll be looking forward to a few reunions with those I’ve crossed paths with in the past, but I also look forward to making new friends. My quilting friends have enriched my life so much that I would be lost without them.
Q. We know that quilting, music and teaching are your passions. Can you give us a flavour of An evening with Ricky Tims, the social evening you’re hosting on Friday 10th August at this year’s Festival?
A. The concert I present is multi-faceted. There will be piano music (no I don’t play a guitar, nor do I sing country music). The music is mostly instrumental and is something between classical and popular. It’s just easy to listen to. But the evening is also filled with stories. Between all the music and stories my goal is to give everyone plenty of laughs, but also to share some insights which hopefully will inspire. I hope everyone will leave on a high feeling like the world is theirs for the taking. I should mention that it will be a great evening for everyone – not just quilters. Be sure to bring friends and family who are not quilters.
Q. We’re thrilled that you’ll be giving some lectures/talks as part of the Festival’s popular Academy Workshop Programme on the Friday and Saturday. What can visitors expect from those sessions?
A. My lecture classes are just that – classes! While I always try to make my classes entertaining, these Master Class Lectures are designed to share a wealth of information in a short period of time. These are the presentations where quilters will learn more than they would in a sit-n-sew class. Remove the sewing aspect and the reward is time. Time allows me to share so much. I encourage everyone to be sure to sign up for at last one of the Master Class lectures. They won’t be disappointed.
Q. We know you believe that every quilt has a story to tell. We’re so excited that you’ll be bringing along some of your own work to the Festival. Can you tell us the story of just one of your quilts that will be on display?
A. I’ll be bringing with me one of my newest quilts. It’s a small wall quilt – only 30” square. It is a tribute to the new musical, Hamilton, which I know has received the same rave reviews in the West End as it has on Broadway. I’m a Hamilton fanatic. The quilt is called Hurricane. It was inspired by the line from the musical, “In the eye of the hurricane there is quiet for just a moment – a yellow sky.” Although it is somewhat minimalistic, it is also complex with quilting. And look closely… there’s a fun, hidden surprise for anyone who likes to proof read (wink).
Q. What quilting projects are you working on currently and what’s next for you after The Festival of Quilts?
A. Currently I have a short-term BOM project called Hungarian Rhapsody. This has been a summer project and over 300 quilters are making the quilt. I’m staying one step ahead of them in order to make the videos that go with the quilt. Should anyone be interested they can find Hungarian Rhapsody at my website. The most exciting upcoming project is that I am finally making a pattern of one my most beloved quilts – Dad’s Lone Star. That quilt was made by both dad and myself. It’s a dynamic variation of lone star and has been a requested pattern for over a decade. Finally, I’m making that wish come true.
Q. Whose galleries are you most looking forward to seeing at The Festival of Quilts?
A. While I’ve looked at the lineup of galleries, I must admit they all are enticing. It will be a joy to explore them and discover which quilts most capture my attention. I know I’ll have a different perspective to share following FOQ, but for now, I’m just really excited to be there.
Q. What’s the best piece of quilting advice anyone has ever given you?
A. Quilt because you love it. Quilt because you have to. The most memorable quote I was given was in reference to patience. “It doesn’t take patience to do something you love”. I believe that. I can spend hours on end just pushing through a quilt. Life’s ups and downs are embedded with each stitch and the memories stay with the quilt. Perhaps that is why quilts become such treasures for future generations.