Lise Belanger won Judge’s Choice for Once Upon a Time during Road@Home
Meet Lise Belanger
Canadian, Lise Belanger, began her quilting journey in fashion design school. She went on to work as a costume maker for many years in the major theaters of Canada. Eventually, she changed careers because sewing clothes didn’t ”excite me so much anymore.”
One day, her mother gave her a magazine, and while looking through it, Lise saw an art quilt and that’s when her sewing interest returned. Lise started quilting in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2015 that she started quilting full time. Her first quilts won the Trend-Tex challenge in Canada three years in a row. Lise has since participated in over twenty-five quilt contests.
Making Once Upon a Time
The inspiration for Once Upon a Time came from one of Lise’s quilts she had made the year before, Colourful Dream, an elephant quilt. She wanted to expand on those techniques and when she decided upon the owl subject, “the rest fell into place.” Lise commented, “I wanted to create a quilt where people could tell their own stories.”
When Lise was asked how long it took her to make, Once Upon a Time, she replied, “This is the question people asked the most, but I never have a good answer to this question. When I work on a quilt, I do so many other things in between that every time I try to keep track, it never works out. I mainly work on my show quilt at night, and it takes me less time than most people would think. I work out most of the problems in my head ahead of time so when I start, I usually can do it pretty fast, however, I don’t over plan anything and let the quilt show me the way. I can tell you how many pieces there is in the quilt: 3766 and how many stitches: 232,271.”
The techniques Lise used in the quilt is called, “separate fused appliqué.” Lise read an article about it once, and “liked it!” She says that the quilt is made of raw edge appliqué; the background fabric is hand-dyed, the castle is snow dyed, and the shading is accomplished by changing values in the fabric. The entire quilt was quilted on a sit-down machine.
Entering Once Upon a Time in Road@Home’s Contest
Lise Belanger had entered a quilt once before in Road to California’s traditional quilt show, so she said, “it was easy for me to participate in Road@Home. Due to the isolation and the lack of in-person shows, I wanted to stay connected and keep sharing my creations. I guess I need a reason to make quilts. The online application was also easy and convenient. Because I make art quilts, there are fewer categories that I can enter, and often it is the size that will determine where I can enter. I try to stay away from traditional quilt categories.”
The quilt was awarded Judge’s Choice by Road@Home Judge, Linda V. Taylor. Lise had never won in this category before. She was familiar with Linda and was “delighted and honored” that her quilt was Linda’s choice.
Once Upon a Time has already found its forever home, so it will no longer be available for in-person shows.
Future Quilt Plans
Lise only does a few quilt shows a year, and she already has a few quilts on hand. Lise usually frames her quilts if they are not for shows, which she feels gives her a broader audience. Lise shared, “Strangely enough, for me, Covid has been very good for art quilt sales, so in 2021 my goal is to quilt to replenish my portfolio because I am sold out.” She lives far away from anything related to quilting, so Lise has never taught or lectured much in her career. With all the online platforms, Lise’s challenge for 2021 will be to give presentations that highlight her knowledge. She has started lecturing and is working on making online classes.
To learn more about Lise Belanger, please visit her Facebook page.