And so the baton passes to Mr. May in the #NGAQB race. Paul has been the one to watch from the very beginning of this bee. His timing is meticulous and he always delivers ahead of time. He seems to have at least half a dozen projects on the go too, so maybe he’s some kind of quilting wizard? Here’s a little about him in his own words.
“Paul Hallinger, born in New Jersey. I am the product of a very nuclear family – dad, mom, me, and my sister. I am the older brother. Just a rather mundane childhood of growing up watching Japanese cartoons and Dr. Who. Oh, and Monty Python. And I was one of those ‘studious’ types who would much rather take home a 100 book reading list for the summer. And if my aunt would lend me her books on UFOs, psychic phenomenon, and otherworldly things, I would fit them in alongside The Great Gatsby.
I took up some levels of sewing and crochet in my teens, mostly because I lived next to my grandmother and aunt, both of whom spent time doing these things. I took a sewing class at a local fabric store (yes, they existed back in the Stone Age) and made a really cool for the times patchwork denim vest. Someone in my family still has it!
I graduated from high school and went off to college. Well that was an interesting thing to do. I lived in a co-ed dorm, found more fun than I could possibly ever want to experience, and decided that if majoring in forestry meant I had to learn Latin, well, that was not going to happen. So after a fun-filled year at a small liberal arts college in northern New Jersey, I dropped out.
And then I just explored new and fun experiences. I worked at various jobs, hung out at clubs with friends, got into CBGBs, became enamored with punk, double pierced my ears, got a tattoo, and colored my hair a lovely shade of blue after spending months looking like Rutger Hauer in Bladerunner. I would not trade those life experiences for anything. And Doc Martens ruled.
I eventually went back to college (I think I was 26 or so), working full-time and going to school full-time. I majored in sociology with a minor in psychology and I am that person in the room who doesn’t say much but is intrigued by everything going on around him. And then off to grad school in the wonderful land of California. I spent two years getting my masters, buggered off the phD (eternal studentdom was not for me) and took a job with the Federal government in 1991. Been there as a day job ever since. I have lived in Jersey, California, Missouri and am now back in Pennsylvania.
What, too impersonal? Not a big sharer, but here you go.
I have been with my one true love for 26-ish years now – our first date involved a trip to the dump. A true romantic that one. We both remember the movie we went to see and the fact that I didn’t go home. And never left much after that either!
I took up quilting in 1992 or so – I had gone to Europe on a wonderful two-week adventure and upon returning to the states blew out a couple of lumbar discs when I grabbed a suitcase out of the trunk of a car. Cross country flight and pain, not a good mix. So I was out of work for a few months and was going absolutely bonkers counting the ceiling tiles when a friend showed me how to cross stitch and then how to do quilt stitching by hand. I then asked her to show me how to make a quilt. I was using a lovely White sewing machine that I had bought at a ‘school over-ordered’ sale. I took it in for service and was amazed at the Bernina sewing machines, so I bought one! and then another. And then another. I have three. Two embroider (another favorite of mine). And then I bought a Juki (I like it for the more industrial needs!).
My quilting is like my musical taste – punk funk other junk, classical jazz industrial pretty much anything I listen to and like. So I quilt things I like – I don’t confine myself to any particular style. I do tend to be a little ‘matchy’ with my fabric choices and tend to stick to one or two choices in a quilt – I personally feel that the fabric designer did what they did and I should let their expression stand relatively sound. When I look at some stuff produced by other quilters I just start hearing “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong…”. My own personal aesthetic. I need some level of cohesion.”
I actually got these blocks done early on in the month because I was so excited to start them. You see, there were no rules, only a size, eight and a half inches unfinished. This month, we could really let loose, picking and choosing what we fancied. Colour, style, fabric…it was all down to us.
I decided to piece some improv blocks as my love affair with that particular style of piecing seems to only get more steamy. I chose bright, bold-coloured fabrics along side greys and pieced them into negative space with my new favourite, Robert Kauffman’s Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in black. I found it a little challenging sticking to the constraints of an 8″ block as there was so many things I wanted to do, but I’m happy with the outcome. Hopefully Paul will be too!
You can find out more about Paul and his fantastic work over on his blog and on Instagram, where he posts as evildemondevildog. While you’re there, check out the rest of the bee beauties using the hashtag #NGAQB.