Customer Spotlight: G. Barner Quilts

CS_G.BarnerQuiltsName:  Greg Barner

Business Name:  G. Barner Quilts

Website:  www.gbarnerquilts.com

Greg Barner creates fabulous quilts in a variety of styles.  His work is bursting with color and geometric shapes.  Visit his site, www.gbarnerquilts.com to see a wonderful gallery of his work.  You can see a small selection of his wonderful quilts in the picture gallery in the middle of this post.  He also instructs and gives classes in the art of quilting.  Here’s what he had to say about his craft,  the industry and why he uses EnMart products.

What do you like best about what you do?

GB: I started quilting fourteen years ago when I needed something to do that was creative, mathematical and involved problem solving.  Quilting fit the bill.  When my mother retired she took up quilting for others and I would help once in a while. When I neared retirement I knew I needed something to fill my spare time so I took up quilting with the intention of seeing how good I could get and doing some instructing.  I continue to work at getting better and I have done quite a bit of instructing around the area.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your work?

GB: I like the challenge of learning new techniques and patterns,  but I also like creating my own patterns,  especially abstract patterns.  In fourteen years of quilting I have not lost interest in learning more.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing your industry as a whole?

GB: There are a lot of quilters in Michigan,  especially Northern Michigan.  The biggest challenge is to continue to grow as an industry,  involving more people in quilting,  particularly the younger generation. Another major challenge is cost,  mainly the cost of fabric which continues to increase.  If the pattern continues it will make it difficult for some people to continue because they can’t afford the fabric.

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Were you always creative?  Did you make things as a child?

GB: I have always been doing something creative.  Growing up I was involved in vocal music and drama as well as sports.  I taught elementary school for forty years and tried to be as creative as possible in my approach.

Was there a mentor or someone in your field that helped you when you were starting out?

GB: My quilting is mainly self taught (trial and error a lot of the time). I do have an extensive library of quilting books and magazines for ideas. I have found shop owners and other quilters very willing to help me improve.

What one tip would you give people starting out in your field?

GB: I would encourage people starting out to pick smaller and simpler projects to learn with.  This would allow a person to experience more techniques in a shorter time and perhaps with less frustration.

What are your goals for your business?

GB: My goals for the future are to continue to experiment with new patterns and techniques.   I would like to create more of my own patterns.

What products sold by EnMart do you use most, and why?

GB:  I was introduced to Iris threads a number of years ago by an embroiderer. I piece (sew) with the Iris Ultra Cotton thread and I quilt almost exclusively with Iris thread.  My long arm works really well with the Iris UltraBright polyester thread and customers like the look of it.  I have tried other threads,  but my long arm quilter prefers the Iris thread.

Note:  If you’ve visited the EnMart booths at AQS Paducah or Quilt Market in Houston,  you’ve seen Greg’s work.  He very graciously allows us to display his quilts in our booth at these shows.

 

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Featured Friday 7/15/16

megaphoneWith all the problems in the world right now,  it seemed like a good day to spotlight some of the good that’s happening in the world.   People sharing knowledge is always a good thing,  and we’re lucky to have so many smart people out there who are willing to share what they know.

First to share knowledge this morning is Eileen from Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog.  She’s talking about stitching in ombre, a look I really like.  I’m with her in liking this look.  It’s visually interesting and doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to do.

Second on the list is Stahls with a great post about different ways to get ready for football season,  if you’re the shop outfitting the team.  From two-a-day practice uniforms and athletic wear to sports bags,  Stahls has decoration suggestions that are sure to make your local football team happy.  It’s definitely time to start thinking about back to school,  and this post covers one aspect of decorating school apparel.

Third in line at the knowledge drop today is the Retail Minded blog,  with a discussion about rebranding and when it’s time to do so.  If you’re considering a rebrand for your business,  make sure it’s happening for the right reasons.  This post talks about some reasons to rebrand and how to refine your vision of what they new brand should be.   If you’re thinking your business image needs an upgrade,  this is a great post to read.

Fourth on the docket is a piece from the Purple Daisies Quilting blog,  which talks about the cost of all the free knowledge that people are sharing.  The post makes a good point,  people who love their craft and want to share it,  also love to share knowledge,  but sometimes sharing that knowledge is their business as well.  This post recommends trying to support those who are teaching you for free by purchasing their products and supporting their work.  I think it’s a good recommendation.

Last up,  I want to share a post from Seth Godin called “The Flip is Elusive“. With all that’s been happening in the world,  and because I’m kind of a crusader at heart,  I’ve been thinking about how we can change the world for the better,  and I think this post answers that question quite well.   It’s not about big and flashy.  It’s not about making others wrong so you can be right.  It’s about persistence,  and trying to understand what others are saying.  If we keep showing up day after day and try to make our little piece of the world better,  I believe we will succeed.

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Time Travel Tuesday: Not Just a Patch

ensign logo pictureMost of you probably know that EnMart sells blank patches. These squares and circles,  ovals and oblongs,  rectangles and rockers are a popular item,  but they’re not just for embroidering with a name or a logo.  Other markets for patches could include the souvenir market,  morale patches,  merit badges and more.  Over the years,  patches have taken on many different meanings.  In this Time Travel Tuesday post,  I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of them while,  perhaps,  pointing out some potential new markets for patches.

The use of emblems to signify allegiance with a particular group has existed pretty much as long as recorded history.  Heraldic emblems were common in this time period.   An heraldic emblem or crest was often used to represent a noble house or knight,  and would show up on flags and tapestries when that particular individual or family was represented.  Wearing a heraldic badge showed allegiance to a particular family or house.   The two sides in the English “War of the Roses” used white or red roses on, among other things, badges,  to symbolize which side they had taken in the war.   A badge was an easy way to identify who was friend and who was foe.

Badges as collectibles or a record of having been to a particular place, souvenirs we’d call them now,  also have their root in history.  Pilgrims in the Middle Ages used to get metal badges from the famous shrines they visited.  This was such a common practice it was even mentioned in the “Canterbury Tales” by Chaucer. In later years,  when automobiles and trains and planes made the process of traveling simpler,  many people started collecting badges from National Parks or other attractions they’d visited to help commemorate their stay.  There is even a market for national park collectibles, particularly vintage badges.

Merit badges are another type of badge that has been around for quite a while.  Anyone who has participated in the Girl or Boy Scouts is familiar with a merit badge,  which is awarded for completing a series of tasks or learning a new skill.  The Boy Scouts began using merit badges in 1911.  The Girl Scouts in 1912.  Merit badges are popular with many clubs and can be used to showcase achievements and new skills,  or to signify new ranks earned within the group.

Emblems have a long history of providing identity and cohesion for a group,  of commemorating an event or occasion that people want to remember,  or memorializing the learning of a new skill or the achievement of a new rank.   Part of the reason the trade in vintage emblems is so brisk is the fact that these emblems symbolize and event or memory of which people want to be a part.   Who wouldn’t have wanted to be one of the people entitled to wear the mission patch for Apollo 11?  What memories would a person have if they collected a badge during a visit to every National Park?  Emblems are part of our history and also a little piece of history themselves.

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