Meet the Quilt Artists: Ursula Riegel
This is part of a series of profiles of quilt artists involved in a project that saw Canadian quilters send their art to be displayed in a quilt show in Taiwan that will begin on April 30 and run through May, 2016. Read about the project here and find links to other participant profiles.
Ursula immigrated to Canada in 1985 with her family of husband Walter and two pre-school aged children, Ralf and Caren. All along they have lived in beautiful Victoria, BC. Just like most quilters profess, she has loved needlework and crafts from an early age.
Prior to becoming a mom, Ursula worked as an assistant teacher for one year in Great Britain, followed by 11 years as an elementary school teacher in Germany. In Canada, she realized that there was almost a full generation who had hardly been exposed to needlecrafts. This was her chance to develop after-school activities which she called “Fun with Needlecrafts”. It included every skill that involved needles, thread, floss or yarn.
The only skill she did not yet have under her belt was the truly North American craft of making patchwork quilts. Remembering the rise and fall of macramé, Ursula decided to take a beginner course in quilt making before the “fad” might be over. This was is 1991. Little did she know that she would actually soon help to keep the movement going.
First she introduced small quilting projects to her different after-school groups; then the Moms asked for evening classes. In 1993 Ursula started to teach at Satin Moon, the local quilt store in Victoria. In addition to that, a few years later she opened her own quilting studio for classes in all aspects of quilt making. For several years these quilting classes became a full time job.
Early on her adult students commented on her clear and detailed written class handouts that some of them to this day see as their “quilting bible”.
This encouraged Ursula to offer some of her designs as patterns. In 1999 her then still small pattern line called Designs to Share with You was accepted by the first Canadian distributor. By 2004 Ursula had 33 different designs and showed them for the first time at the International Quilt Market, a huge trade show in Houston. This proved to be great exposure to quilt store owners from all over North America and even further away who at the time still had these shows on their to-do lists.
Right now Ursula is in the process of releasing her 128th pattern. Chances are, you have one or two in your drawers and hopefully have even successfully sewn these projects.
Without her family Ursula would not have been able to accomplish all of this. Her husband Walter willingly took on the packing of all the patterns as well as the book keeping (what a relief for an artist!) Son Ralf is always ready to help out with computer glitches and initially did also the necessary photography. Daughter Caren has taught her mother the use of some of the computer programs, still edits all the patterns and has created and maintains Ursula’s website.
So many words that describe how the world's environment can be protected start with the syllable "re". I chose three to be depicted in this quilt. Replant trees wherever possible. Recognize women's value in all parts of the world. Reuse and recycle to reduce waste.
Re, Re, Re
Materials and Techniques
Fabrics were fused, raw edges were top-stitched. The tree was embellished with 2 different buttons - many of them antique - hence reused.
Detailed Closeup of Re, Re, Re