Sharon Casey received $5,000 from Sponsor, Moore’s Sewing Center, for her winning Director’s Choice entry, Boogie Brass Band.
A Road to California Tradition
There is a tradition at Road to California that the Director of the Show gets to choose the winner for the Director’s Choice Award. Matt Reese is not only the Director and Owner of Road to California, he is also a lawyer, and a musician. His undergraduate degree from California State University – Long Beach was in Tuba Performance. Because of his music background, he usually chooses a music-themed quilt to receive the distinguished Director’s Choice Award.
Meet Award Winning Quilter, Sharon Casey
Sharon Casey had a bad experience with her first foray into sewing. At 12 years old, she was asked to make a garment and wear it in a Girl Scouts fashion show. She had never sewn before and her garment ended up being a “lopsided” dress that she wore down the runway. She was “mortified” from the experience and “swore I would never touch a sewing machine again.”
It took 30 years and an encouraging sister-in-law to introduce her to quilting. Soon, she was having the “time of my life” arranging fabric blocks. Not long after, Sharon bought a Bernina and sewing supplies at a quilt shop near her home and began gathering fabric. Her first quilts were all original designs from scratch.
Finding Her Voice in Contest Quilting
Twenty years after her sewing re-boot, Sharon is still enjoying sewing and making award winning quilts like the Road 2020 Director’s Choice, Boogie Brass Band.
Sharon entered her first quilt contest in 2014 in a Studio Art Quilt Association contest called Oasis. Sharon had been seriously ill for several years and making art quilts had become her therapy. “This theme was perfect for my journey toward recovery,” recalled Sharon. “My quilt was named ‘Serenity.’ It was juried into the show and traveled around the country to different quilt shows as a special exhibit. What a thrill! I will never forget the feeling when I received the show catalog and flipped through it. There was my quilt!”
After that experience, Sharon went back in her studio with a desire to celebrate life by making large, vibrant, colorful quilts. She took classes online and in person, taking workshops from her favorite quilt artists. It was vital to learn the skills and techniques needed to do the things I wanted, like piecing beautiful curves, but even more important to me was developing my artistry and individuality.
Sharon is very “comfortable” entering her quilts in large shows, whether or not they win a prize. “I love sharing them and getting feedback, especially from people who are just discovering quilts as works of art. I hear things like, ‘That’s a quilt?’ Or ‘I didn’t know quilts could be like that.’ I also sell my quilts, and have donated some to benefit worthy causes. It makes me happy to think of them having a life after me, rather than having to roll them up in a dark storage box.”
Making the Director’s Choice Award
Quilting is the way Sharon merges the two passions of her life – music and art.
It took Sharon a year to make Boogie Brass Band. Boogie Brass Band owes its creation to the big band music Sharon’s parents played when she was growing up. Sharon also loved the sound and pageantry of marching bands, especially when they would stop, count off, and break into full tilt boogie! Sharon also confessed, that while she was working on Boogie Brass Band, “I couldn’t stop singing, “76 trombones in the big parade…” while I was working on it. (from The Music Man)”
Sharon was at home when she learned from a friend that she had won the Director’s Choice Award. “I called out to my husband and showed him and we both danced around the living room!”
The prize money is currently sitting in Sharon’s bank account, waiting to be spent on fabric.
The Next Project
The next quilt Sharon is working on is the third in a series of large abstract compositions with a musical theme, using bold, contrasting colors. She noted that she likes to play with size and perspective, so that objects are larger or smaller than expected. “It makes me smile.” And Sharon is quick to add, “…As always, there’s music playing while I quilt!”
To learn more about the Road 2020 Director’s Choice winner, please visit Sharon Casey’s website.