Art and the artist have a mutual relationship. By creating art, the artist manipulates different media into something beautiful; while at the same time, as the artist creates, the art changes him or her. So, when Lynne Powell, owner of Crazy Wicked Stitch on Etsy, quit her job more than a year ago, and asked God to either bless her newly founded quilting business or to give her a good job with a regular paycheck, she had no idea how much God would honor her and use her reliance on him to shape her.
"When I quit my day job with a guaranteed paycheck last year about this time I was really scared about how we would make it so I prayed that God would either bless my business or lead me to another job with a 'guaranteed paycheck' that would be a good fit for both me and the company. He has blessed my business beyond belief this past year," she says.
Like many artists, Lynne has always been a creative person. And, like many artists, it took her a while to come up with a medium that adequately expressed who she was. "The main thing was finding a craft and 'sticking to it.' I did a lot of counted cross stitch when I was younger but would get halfway through a project and then put it away somewhere and wouldn't touch it for another year or more," she says. "My husband bought me a very basic sewing machine our second Christmas together - we're now going on eight years - and I had a friend at work that was pregnant so I got out my little sewing machine and put together a little baby quilt for her. It seemed like I got really hooked on quilting from that moment. About the same time, my Mom had picked up quilting and had purchased the quilting machine that I'm using now and she would quilt all of the little quilt tops that I made back then. It seemed that with each new piece I would try to make something a bit more complicated, and I just continued to challenge myself. I think I made one for just about everyone in the family and then learned that I could make some extra income by selling them."
Through the process of learning to quilt God developed more patience in this mid-40's mother and grandmother from Groesbeck, Texas. "I think patience is the biggest part. I'm not in the big rush that I was always in when I was younger," she says. "If I don't like the way that a section of my work is turning out, I'll now take the time to rip it out and start over. I promise that I would have never done that when I was younger. I would just shrug it off and move on anyways, good or bad."
Lynne says that she is fascinated by "all of the beautiful colors, patterns and sometimes textures" in quilting. "I think I'm drawn to it because I've finally found something that I'm good at," she says. "I say that, but, when I visited the Houston Quilt Show for my first time this past year, I've learned that my work is child's play in comparison to the beautiful works of art that I saw there. Seriously though, quilting is something that I've found that I will actually work a project from start to finish. I just love the way that I can take a stack of fabrics and then it's pure joy watching them develop into a beautiful quilt. Very much like a painter that applies his paints to the canvas and watches the pictures develop. Usually I choose my projects based on the fabrics that I'm working on. Once I start it kind of comes to me as I go."
Here is some more of her work:
"As of now I have not received any awards for my work but I entered two of my pieces into the Killeen Quilt Show recently. I entered a flag quilt (see first picture) that I made for my Dad before he passed away from cancer this past year at Christmas," Lynne says. "My dad was an Army veteran and loved history so I made his quilt with all 'Civil War Era' fabrics and made a pictorial border around it that featured many 'Civil War Era' memorials, President Lincoln, war maps, etc. My other entry will be a University of Kentucky T-shirt quilt. T-shirt quilts seem to have become one of my specialties as of late. I get my biggest thrill from taking peoples' treasured T-shirts and recycling them into a beautiful quilt that they can treasure. People can find my work on my Etsy site at www.crazywickedstitch.etsy.com or they can also find some of my work on my Facebook page Lynne's Crazy Wicked Stitch.
"Even though I didn't win anything at the quilt show I am glad I entered if only for the experience. I did learn a few things that I will implement in my future projects and will strive harder towards perfection," Lynne says.
Lynne's relationship with God shapes the way she does business and in how she treats people. She began her relationship with God as a young child. "My parents would take us to Sunday school and I remember that I loved the music more than anything in those Sunday School classes," she says. "I was raised Lutheran but my dad was in the Army from the time that I was about six months old until he finally retired when I was about 22. With us moving all around the world a good Lutheran church wasn't always available so I would attend some of the Baptist, Pentecostal and non-denominational churches with my friends wherever we happened to be. I think I accepted the Lord as my Savior when I was about fifteen at a Baptist Church in Germany.
"I've strayed away many times over the years but he always lovingly pulls me back in. I think that the biggest way that God has affected my art is by teaching me patience and to follow his biggest command that we are to love one another. I treat each of my customers in the way that I would want them to treat me and I can honestly say that I sew his love for all of us into each piece that I make. I've been so blessed with so many new customers that have not only purchased some of my works but that I have also been able to develop amazing relationships with. I know that I will have lifelong friend ships with a lot of the people that he has brought my way through my quilting. I also love the fact that I'm now able to start each day with time to really get into his word. I'm so blessed and thankful for all that he has done for me. I can honestly say that without his guidance that I wouldn't be the person that I am today," she says.
In the future, Lynne hopes to open a quilt shop in her local community. "I have all these wonderful dreams for activities and lots of fun things that I want to be able to share with all of my clients in the new shop," she says. "My other goal is to finish the course that I'm taking on making art quilts. I have several ideas for pieces that I would like to make. One of them will be to make a quilt with a picture that I have of my dad with my granddaughter Mikayla when she was about a year old. They both had a mutual love for each other and it shows so well in this picture. He was sitting in his chair last Christmas and she is wearing her beautiful little Christmas dress, sitting on his lap and she was just snuggled into him. I also see my own rendition of the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' being made into an art quilt using muted water colored fabrics. If I'm able to capture what's in my brain and turn it into a quilt I promise it will be amazing."
Lynne encourages other artists to follow their hearts. "Don't be afraid to try new things. And if you will follow the verse in Colossians 3:23: 'Work willingly at whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,' I believe that they will be able to accomplish anything they set their minds to.