Alex Anderson considers herself a teacher at heart. "I'm never going to win the ribbons of Paducah," Anderson said, but for two 90-minute sessions during the American Quilter's Society Quilt Week, she will be at home with her 170 students, sharing her knowledge and receiving tips from students in return.
She described quilting as "an ambiguous process" in which quilters never seem to be enamored by their accomplishments. Anderson said she regularly asks students how many consider themselves "experts" and rarely has anyone raise a hand.
She refers to her classes as interactive lectures. "I present and then I take questions from my students," Anderson said, "I learn a lot from the participants." Anderson's two interactive lectures during the April Quilt Week are titled "Beautifully Quilted" and "Dynamite results from your Stash."
Anderson said she loves Stash quilting, which is nothing more than using the stash of material left from earlier quilting projects.
Anderson said her own version of Stash quilting is somewhat of an antithesis to the basic concept.
"I've been known to spend $400 on a stash quilt because I don't think my stash material is good enough," she said.
Although she doesn't present at Paducah's AQS show every year, it holds a special place in her heart. Anderson said it was in Paducah she met current business partner Ricky Tims. "It all started in Paducah," she said, noting that he was then the new kid on the block.
Anderson and Tims went on to found TheQuiltShow.com - they celebrated the online show's 10th anniversary on April 2 - which now offers 250 on-demand shows with new episodes available every other week.
Anderson is the author of more than 30 books that have sold more than 1 million copies worldwide.
In 2009 she was chosen by readers of Quilter's Newsletter magazine as "The Most Influential Person in The Quilting Industry."
A year earlier, Anderson was the Silver Star Award winner given by the International Quilt Festival.
The award is presented annually to the person "whose work and influence has made - and continues to make - a sizable and positive impact on the quilting industry and community."
Anderson is the co-creator of the Quilter Select brand and will be at their trade show booth throughout Quilt Week when not teaching class.
Her love of quilting started when she finished a Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt as part of her coursework toward receiving an art degree from San Francisco State University. That love has not waned.
The grandmother theme that started with her first completed quilt in 1978 came full circle last month. Anderson said "my blue ribbon for the year happened when I got my 21/2 year-old granddaughter on a sewing machine earlier this spring."
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