Too Legit To Quilt is one of the coolest local makers in Ohio. Owner, Dre, creates quilted goods by hand. She has a very unique style that stands out in a crowd. We have been following this amazing artist on Instagram for a while and we were excited to have the opportunity to interview her. Meet Too Legit to Quilt at our Summer Maker Mart on June 3, 2018!
Tell us about your local business.
My business is called Too Legit to Quilt, a name that a friend came up with 6 years ago when I was still exclusively quilting! I live in Columbus, OH and have been here a little over two years. I always knew that I wanted to be an artist, but was encouraged to choose something more financially fruitful, so I decided to study Fashion Design. I went to the Savannah College of Art and Design, and halfway through school, I realized that I hated Fashion Design, but I developed a total obsession for beautiful textiles. Having grown up in Appalachia, my grandmothers and their mothers quilted and I absolutely loved their quilts, so once I found a love for textiles, it seemed natural that I would start quilting.
My quilts evolved into layered, appliquéd wall hangings, which evolved into patches! My mission is to use textiles to express myself artistically, but to also to create intentionally. I use mostly repurposed materials in my work. There is a great deal of waste produced in the fashion industry, and fast fashion and constantly changing trends create a desire to always want to buy the next thing, to always have NEW, and to toss out the old. 80% of those clothes that people toss out end up in a landfill…only 20% are reused or recycled. And with billions of people on the planet, just imagine how detrimental this can be to our environment. So I continue to use repurposed textiles, to do my small part and to spread knowledge about waste.
What drew you to your craft?
I was drawn to textiles in college. They are so lovely, soft, comforting, diverse, and play an important role in our lives! Quilting is a familial craft, so joining my love of textiles and quilting just made sense for me. And I knew that I wanted to express myself even further with textiles, and I always loved collage, so the appliquéd wall hangings became a marriage of my favored artistic techniques.
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
I love *almost* everything l make (trial and error means some things are no good) and I'm always trying to outdo myself so I can't pick a favorite. However, there are things that I have made that were turning points or lightbulb moments for me, and those are really notable. One example is when I first started to make wall hangings, and I made what ended up being a skeleton torso. It felt like it created itself. My original plan was to just make a small anatomical heart, but from there I kept adding more and more elements. It was the first time I had quieted my mind and allowed a piece to organically evolve until it was completed.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in first grade, I entered a self portrait into an art contest and won. From then on I knew I wanted to be an artist.
What is your creative process?
I usually create based on issues I’m dealing with (and others are dealing with), or a stage I’m at in my life, or things I want to work on within myself. I use a lot of symbols; usually symbols of power or wisdom that I feel would benefit me in my efforts to better myself, and a lot of times they resonate with other people, too. Once I’m ready to make something I always sketch it out, then choose fabrics, and just let loose! I have a good amount of fabric stored up, and am always looking for more interesting textiles, while remaining mindful not to hoard. I try to live somewhat minimally, but it’s a lot harder with art supplies. It’s better for my creative process to have things on hand when I’m in a good work flow. But it’s all about balance (like most things)!
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
It’s hard to say what advice I would give myself. Experiences are such a critical part of our individual journeys. I wouldn’t be in the place I am, or know the things I do if I hadn’t learned the lessons along the way. Advice is great, but if you’re not in the right mindspace or open to receiving it, its empty…it won’t resonate with you! I’ve gotten so much advice (mostly unsolicited), that I NOW see was really great advice, but at the time I wasn’t where I needed to be to receive it. But maybe THAT’S what I would tell myself.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
For an artist, the bottom line isn’t moneymaking or greed. It’s the love of carefully and intentionally creating something that is an expression of self, and the connection and exchange of energy when it resonates with someone else. Supporting a creator whose work resonates with you is a really special way to connect! It’s also sort of a vote with your dollar. When you keep your support within your community, you’re strengthening it! Think global, act local, ya know?
Why do you love doing what you do?
I love doing what I do because it’s such an integral part of me. It is what I was born to do.
What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?
I don’t always consider what I do a business, I think of myself more as a working artist. I don’t know if I would even qualify to hand out business advice! But for me, what has been effective is working very hard and being patient. I put a lot of time into what I do, take responsibility for and learn from my mistakes, remain true to what resonates with me (despite what may “sell well”), and never give up if I hit road blocks.
What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?
My favorite thing about exploring Ohio is how much is always surprises me. It’s easy to give in to believing stereotypes about a place, or making assumptions, and it’s a powerful lesson to learn not to do that! Ohio is beautiful….there are so many places to love, magical unexpected corners, and people who love it and want to make their home the special place it is!