Margaret Brewster Willingham
Margaret Brewster Willingham is the founder and creative force of Eye of the Beholder Quilt Design. She is a retired professional dancer, teacher and choreographer. "I used to choreograph dances. Now I choreograph quilts."
"Two things inspire me", says Willingham, "Creating things of beauty, and helping others to find their creative voice while gaining the skills to make beautiful things. Behind me in all of this is God, the ultimate creator of all beauty".
Margaret, a quilter who specializes in hand applique and reverse needle-turn applique and designing uniquely elegant patterns, fell in love with all things fabric and beautiful at home. She grew up with a legacy of family heirlooms, including the hand work of her ancestors. She remembers fondly going through the trunks of lovely linens and quilts hand-stitched with decorative threads to grace a table or a bed made by her great-great grandmothers.
Though she made her first quilts as a teenager, she began quilting in earnest in the mid-1990’s, but has been sewing and embroidering since she was 10.
Many of the designs Margaret creates for Eye of the Beholder Quilt Design were inspired by the craft men’s work of the Victorian Era, where the necessary functionality of a thing was imbued with a touch of elegance. She has been a pattern designer for Island Batiks and EBI Fabric since the spring of 2015, and for RJR Fabrics, Batik Textiles and Timeless Treasures since 2016.
Margaret’s reverse applique patterns have been picked up by Keepsake Quilting, Nancy’s Notions and Annie’s.com. Her Twinkling Flurries Quilt pattern was published in Fons & Porter’s Holidays Magazine, October 2016, and Giving Hearts block in 100 Quilt Blocks, Vol.14, and Pacific Splash was published in Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting, issue 132, 2018. She had blogs about her hand and machine techniques published in AQS On Point in 2017 and 2018 - "Trace, Baste, Snip & Stitch"; "Machine Reverse Applique". She was a featured Designer with American Quilt Retailer, "Meet Me in St. Louis" and at Houston International (2017).
Margaret has been collaborating with other artists to create unique quilt offerings. Christmas RAPPing, her first book, releases November 1, 2018 and is a joint venture with Nan Baker of Purrfect Spots, Island Batik & Aurifil, and Flowers in the Wind table runner XV inspired Siesta Silver Jewelry to create beautiful pendants and earrings in their top grade, nickle free sterling silver.
"I love that touch of elegance", says Willingham. "Quilting gives us the chance to decorate the lives of those we love with a touch of elegance. As I realize these designs in silks, batiks, cottons and wool, I play with pattern, color and texture, re-visioning the architectural motifs into quilted pieces."
Since 2014, Margaret’s quilts have been juried into Road to California, Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, Coming Up Roses, AQS Des Moines, New England Quilt Festival, Kansas City Regional Quilt Show, AQS Grand Rapids, AQS Paducah, Vermont Quilt Festival and Minnesota Quilters Show.
An experienced national teacher who encourages and inspires, Margaret shares her love of hand work while empowering quilters through trunk shows and in workshops taught in Northern Colorado quilt shops and guilds, and at Granite State College, NH(2015, 2016, 2017), Applique Away on Galveston Bay, TX (2016), Vermont Quilt Festival, VT (2016, 2017), Sew Original Quilt & Creative Expo, KY(2014), and at Open Studios, Demos and Schoolhouses in Portland, Chicago, Des Moines, Houston, Grand Rapids, Chattanooga, Asheville, Salt Lake, St. Louis and Kansas City, and through her blog at www.eobquiltdesign.com. Margaret will be teaching hand and machine reverse applique at Road to CA and AQS Lancaster in 2019.