Biography

First of all, I go by "Mac."  I grew up in New England.  My many influences come from seashore life, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, ice storms, floating in the Atlantic, and living in Jamaica Plain - a lovely crazy quilted section of Boston.  I also enjoyed the famous autumnal foliage, especially since I know my trees - my favorite is the tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera.  And who can't but be influenced by people in our lives: my mom's mother was a state senator; my mom's father was a vaudevillian.  My dad's mother was a creative person in the Arts & Crafts Movement: she painted, and she crafted jewelry and furniture.  My folks were also creative.  I developed blue-collar humor while working at my dad's tire company.  His slogan was, "Invite Us to Your Next Blowout!"  In college, my English degree gave me a love of the metaphor, symbolic irony, the zeugma, and other writing tools that I translate into imagery, visual puns, ironic  humor, and other poetic expressions.  My second degree is in Art History and it gave me the appreciation for iconic imagery, signs and signets that represent an emotion, a person, or a place, a person, or an emotion - for example, an anvil can be read as hard-hearted; a set of teeth can signify St. Appolonia; or an oak tree can mean Connecticut.
 
I made my first quilt in 1976.  Later in Boston, I worked on the NAMES Project - an ongoing memorial of sewn panels for people who have died of AIDS.  I made many panels for friends and loved ones, along with helping other folks make panels for their loved ones.  I joined a small quilt group which was true influence on my quilt-making.  I later joined the local quilt guild, and am still a long-standing member of the Quilters' Connection in Watertown, MA.  I moved to California and am a member of the Pajaro Valley Quilters' Association of Santa Cruz, CA.
 
Other quilt-making influences come from my friends and associates and certainly other teachers, such as: the incredible Rhoda Cohen, Ann Schroeder, Sylvia Einstein, Nancy Crow, Nancy Halpern, Nancy Crasco, Sandy Donabed, Tafi Brown, Paula Nadelstern, Tracey Brookshier, Susan Else, Billie Street, and the inimitable Joe Cunningham.
 
I present to guilds and groups - a trunk show where volunteers are asked to hold up my quilts as I discuss them. The holders-up often create their own sideshow along with the lecture!  I also teach quilt-making, have a quilting business, and am in constant flux of constructing a few quilts at a time.

I like to re-invent blocks or give them a new setting, such as Double Wedding Ring, Sunbonnet Sue, Pickle Dish, Drunkard's Path, Broken Dishes, Sunrays, to name a few.  I don't care as much about color as I do value - I like the idea of the eye flickering as it goes across the plain of the quilt.

I think I have created a successful quilt if someone says, "Hey, that looks like some kids made that."

 

© 2014 Mike McNamara, All Rights Reserved