Founder's Collection: Cora's Quilts
My childhood bedroom was pink. The room also had a powder blue wallpaper border complete with lacey hearts that screamed “this room was decorated in 1995,” but the paint color was pink. And a little bit of that bubblegum paint lives on in the form of a subtle splatter on my favorite jacket.
Growing up in the suburban Midwest, I walked past a rack of quilts that sat in the hallway across from my bedroom several times a day. It was one of those pieces of furniture that you consciously know is there but don’t actively register, like an invisible obstacle.
But when I found myself lusting after quilt coats on Instagram as a 30-something, I conjured a mental image of that quilt rack and swiftly sent a text to my Mom. She still lives in the house with the formerly-bubblegum-pink-bedroom and the rack full of family quilts.
As my Mom’s youngest child, I knew she’d agree to letting me chop up a family heirloom. A few days later, I drove half an hour South to see a dozen family quilts sprawled across an upstairs bedroom. This was the first time I had really looked at these quilts. With age, I’d gained an appreciation for the artistry and precision my ancestors had poured into these collections of fabric scraps and thread. My eyes landed on a 1920s-era ivory quilt decorated with wreaths of greenery and pink roses. And a tiny bit of that bubblegum paint from my 1995 bedroom.
That floral quilt made the trek back into the city with me, and I did have it chopped into pieces and sewn back together as a jacket made just for me.
A few weeks later, I found myself brainstorming themes for a new Wandering Bud series. Our team had dreamt up the idea of a Founder’s Collection as a way to provide an option to our customers that leans closer to the fine art realm. This would also be an opportunity for me to work with clay again, which is something I rarely do these days. My mind quickly settled on using those piles of family quilts as inspiration for the first Founder’s Collection.
In the planning phase, I took photos of each quilt in my Mom’s collection and analyzed which patterns lent themselves best to a ceramic application. Once I narrowed the variety of quilted patterns down to those I was most interested in executing, I chose pieces from our collection to match with each quilt. Billie, our bestselling bubbler, was an easy choice for its geometric lines and symmetry which echo design principles used in quilting. The same thought process applies to Nelle, our steamroller. I wanted the challenge of incorporating Blossom, our newer, bulbous bubbler, so I decided to throw that piece in the mix as well.
Once I had the collection planned out, I filled a plaster-bottomed wet box with the slip cast bubblers and pipes I planned to decorate. I pulled together a cup of pottery tools to take up residency on my desk for the next 8 weeks, and I got to work.
For several hours each week, I was brought back to the early days of Wandering Bud; toiling away alone at a table, making whatever I wanted to make. In the basement studio days (2016-2020), I would frequently lose track of time as my hands were busy with clay and my ears were engaged in an audiobook. This experience in late 2022- early 2023 wasn’t quite the same as I came to realize I didn’t actually have the time to work on this collection–oops. But I pressed forward, as I always do. It took a few evenings and weekends spent in the studio to ensure I met our photography deadline. But that, too, reminded me of those early Wandering Bud days.
The Founder’s Collection: Cora’s Quilts launches on February 24th at 4pm CST. Cora was my great-Grandmother and architect of my new favorite jacket, so it felt natural to name this specific series of nine ceramic pipes and bubblers after her. There is only one piece available in each design as I personally made each of these ceramic works. Every piece is also stamped with a special Founder’s marking and comes with a signed and numbered certificate.
As for the bubblegum paint now spotted on the sleeve of my quilt coat: there was an incident with an aggressive laundry machine and an open can of pepto bismol-esque paint that sat opposite the rack of quilts. I’ll let your imagination fill in the rest.