Sharon Schamber: Masterclass

The Schamber Of Secrets

It’s Showtime! I promised you MORE PICTURES and MORE STORIES from my Paducah adventure, and today I am going to deliver. I hope you have a firm grip on your keyboard—and a tissue to wipe up the drool—because I have a very exclusive Show-N-Tell for you.

Going to these larger shows is always a lot of fun. You get to spend quality time eating, talking, laughing and shopping with friends. If you have friends like mine, you’ll also get to see their work displayed in grand and elegant venues. Along with these benefits, you have the opportunity to discuss the projects your friends are currently working on. While at this show, I had the opportunity to spend some time with my friend—and Master QuilterSharon Schamber.

During my conversation with Sharon, she told me about an applique quilt she had started working on in February. (That’s February of this year.) She said that she felt compelled to work on it—and boy, oh boy—has she worked on it. I am in awe of how much she can accomplish is such a short period of time. I think you will be equally amazed by the work I’m about to show you.

Masterfully Done When I say Sharon is a Master QuilterI mean it—literally. In 2008, Sharon received the prestigious National Quilting Association Award for her Spirit of Mother Earth quilt. Since 1980, only 25 quilters world-wide have received this special designation. To be included in this very short list of people is no small feat. The people whose name gets added to the Master Quilter list are Olympic level quilters. There are a lot of great quilters out there, but very few actually receive this special honor. This exclusive group is the best of the best. When you see Sharon’s work, you’ll understand why she has received Master Quilter status.

Exclusive Preview I could go on and on about our conversation, but I think I’ll let you see Sharon’s blocks instead. We can talk later. Now, on with the show . . . 

Sharon Schamber Applique Block 1

Isn’t that beautiful? Look at those details—and the color!
Now look at this . . .

Sharon Schamber Applique Block 2

It’s so complex, yet elegant. Now check this out . . .

Sharon Schamber Applique Block 3

Oh yeah, she also dyes her own fabric . . . and . . . embroidery floss.
I know—simply amazing—but wait—there’s more . . .

Sharon Schamber Applique Block 4

Look at that detail in the fruit—and the use of color. It’s very inspiring. I love the grape cluster! The fruit is just delicious. Mmmmmm, so good. This is definitely taking the Baltimore Album-style quilt to a whole new level.

Sharon Schamber Applique Block 5

Take a look at the quilting design. She is going to do all of that behind the applique. It’s so beautiful, I could weep. Those berries are tiny. You just won’t believe how small they are.

Sharon Schamber Applique Block 6

Don’t you just love this? Are we lucky—or what? She is very good to me. I was so touched by her generosity. Watch your keyboard. You are starting to drool.

Sharon Schamber Applique Block 7

Okay, I’m almost done. Remember what I said earlier? She only started this quilt in February. That’s February of 2011. That includes designing each block. I know. This is ridiculously amazing.

Sharon Schamber Applique Block 8

Each block is so unique. I can’t wait to see them together. I love all the embroidery details. She is my hero. I want to quilt like her one day! I’m just like you. I’m wondering if she ever sleeps. She says she does, but I’m not so sure.

Sharon Schamber Applique Block 9

Oh yeah, I have one more picture that I HAVE to share with you. That way you’ll know I really am her friend—and not a stalker.

Gene, Sharon and Tom

Gene (Sharon's husband), Sharon and me, all smiles after looking at her beautiful work.

I know. I know. I am very happy in this photo. Who wouldn’t be after seeing all of this amazing work. I hope you have enjoyed the show. If you want to see more of Sharon’s work, please check out her web site. It is chock-full of amazing information. She also has a variety of free videos you should check out, if you have the time. If you want to be a better quilter, you couldn’t find a better teacher to learn from.

Thank you Sharon, for making this special moment possible and for allowing me to share your amazingly beautiful work with my friends.

Are You Tired Yet? I still have a few more things I’d like to share with you about my Paducah adventure—if you are still interested. Please let me know. I love hearing from you.


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43 Responses to “Sharon Schamber: Masterclass”

  1. Lynn Kelly Says:

    Wow Tom! Her work is amazing, isn’t it? She makes me drool, you are right. I just wonder what goes on in the brain of hers. I’d swear it’s the same size as mine, but the creative part has got to be lots bigger! I love, love, love her work!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Lynn, I’m glad you enjoyed the show. Sharon’s work is wonderful to behold—especially up close. I know what you mean. Her brain definitely has a bigger creative part, and she exercises it constantly. I really love her work too. She is constantly stretching herself and the boundaries of quilting.

      This is only one of the projects she’s working on. She showed me another one that was almost finished. You will be spellbound by her next quilt. Drool towels will be necessary when viewing it.

  2. Annette Winston Says:

    Those blocks are so beautiful, I think I am going to cry. What a wonderful eye for color she has. I envy you all in your amazing talent.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi there, It’s so nice to see your comments. I agree. As I was looking at them, they made me want to cry. The detail is so beautiful and inspiring as they are, but knowing the blocks were only partially done, made them even more amazing.

      You would LOVE her. She is very giving and generous with everything she knows. She is an inspiration to so many of us. Using her techniques has made me a much better quilter. I can’t thank her enough for that.

      Glad you enjoyed the show. Thanks again for dropping by!

  3. Penny ODell Says:

    Just breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey there, You are very welcome. I’m glad you dropped by to see her work. Now that you’ve picked up quilting again, you are going to have to send me pictures.

      I’m anxious to see what you are doing. I’ve seen you puppy photos on Facebook, but no quilts. Come on, show me the quilts!

  4. Sharie - Moss Bluff Says:

    Thanks for sharing. Her work is stunning………….

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Sharie, I agree. Stunning is only the first adjective to use when trying to describe Sharon’s work. If you go to the gallery section of her web site, you can see even more of her amazing work.

      Sharing her work is easy. Keeping to myself is hard. Glad you enjoyed the show.

  5. Gari Says:

    It has taken me more than a year to embroider, bead and assemble a pin cushion… a mere pin cushion.

    I have the greatest respect for people that can create like this… I can not fathom how it happens, but I enjoy seeing it and sure love your stories about these wonderful friends!

    Yes, more more more!!!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Gari, I know what you mean. If I get one or two quilts done a year, I’m happy. I don’t even consider the size—just one or two.

      No one should compare their commitment to Sharon. She approaches her work differently than most people. She has a manufacturing background and is a master at time management. She can get more work done in a year than most would consider possible.

      If you told Sharon about your year-long pin cushion, she would be just as happy to hear that you completed it, as she would be if you completed 20 quilts. That’s just the way she is. As long as you enjoyed the process, that’s all she cares about.

      Congratulations on the pin cushion. I’m sure it’s lovely and I hope you are PROUD of you accomplishment. Now you can go onto something else. I’m sure you have quite a long list of things you’d like to make.

      Thanks for sharing!

  6. Margo Says:

    Oh Tom! Don’t stop now!!

  7. Seattlebarbara2003 Says:

    WOW! I have never seen her work in person but the pictures alone are incredible. What talent. And she is so generous with her youtube videos. I learned how to do bindings from them. I also have bought all her books and her applique DVD. Are the blocks hand or machine applique?

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Barbara. She is very generous indeed. The has a strong belief that quilters should know basic quilting techniques so they can be successful. She also doesn’t think they need to pay for learning those basic things. That’s why she provides so many free videos.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, but they really didn’t do the work justice. Her work is best seen in person, to truly appreciate her artistry. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to see her work in person one day.

      I used to HATE binding a quilt, until I tried her technique. Now I actually enjoy doing them. I have almost all of her DVDs too. I also subscribe to network, so I can see any new video she releases. For the money, it’s the best instruction out there. I could go on and on about how much I love her videos, but I think you get the idea. I’m a really big fan!

      To answer your question. The applique is all done by hand. If you look at my next post you will see closeups of the applique. In one of the shots you will also see the back of the work. It’s definitely all by hand.

      Thanks for your comments and questions. I hope you drop by again soon.

  8. Funky's Mama Says:

    I’m not usually a big appliqué fan, but those blocks are gorgeous & amazing! Yes, please do keep sharing!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi there, I’m glad these blocks help expand your appreciation for applique. Applique isn’t for everyone, but when it’s done well, it can be appreciated by all—and this is done extremely well.

      Glad you enjoyed the show!

  9. jayardi Says:

    • • • Oh, to only be half that good would make my day. You know me and flowers on quilts, but I have to say those are gorgeous.

    ABSOLUTELY! we want MORE!!!!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Well, hi there. Yes, I know your viewpoint on flowers—and applique. Neither are usually a part of your normal approach to quilting, but I knew you would enjoy seeing these photos anyway.

      She does a lot of things in her quilts that I won’t do, but I really appreciate what she does, because she does it SO well.

      She is very precision oriented—just like you—and I know you would enjoy spending time together. She’s a blast and so are you!

  10. KathyE Says:

    ….never too tired to hear from you, Tom. You will be a Master Quilter one day. I love Sharon Schamber. I think she is the absolute best!
    I took a class from her. She had to tell me what color I was.
    Love your blog!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Kathy, that’s so sweet. I hope to be a Master Quilter one day. Just hope I live long enough for it to happen. I’ve got a whole lotta learning to do before I reach that level of work.

      Sharon’s classes are the BEST. I took her piec-lique class. It was the best class and I actually feel like I can piece a curve without the stress. Before her class I avoided curved piecing. If my quilt needed a curve it was appliqued. With this technique I feel ready to make a few quilts I’ve been putting off because of my lack of skill.

      She told me my color too! I can’t imagine what it’s like for her to step into a room of people. It must be like looking at a constantly moving rainbow.

  11. kathydrew Says:

    I have admired her work for so many years. The perfection with everything she does is so inspiring to me. I have always said that when I grow up I want to be just like Sharon Schamber, but there can only be one Sharon. My hope is to someday take a class from her. She is so amazingly talented and so gracious. The best of the best.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey you! You would love taking a class from her, and I know she would love having you in her class. You two are so alike, in many many ways. I know it will only be a matter of time before your paths crossed. Once they do, you will be fast friends.

      In my book, you are one of the BEST of the BEST!!!

  12. Robin Says:

    Oh WOW!!! I’m a huge fan of Baltimore Albums, but Sharon’s work is exceptional!!! Thank you so much for sharing these photos! And you’re right, I was drooling!!!! I see big awards in her future for this one.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Robin, Yes, Sharon has taken the traditional Baltimore Album to a whole new level. Her work speaks to the traditional, but the design and color use are so fresh and contemporary.

      The border treatment she is using takes the quilt design in a direction I have never see in a Baltimore Album. If you look at my next post you will she examples of how the borders are done.

      I see big awards for this quilt too. In the past year or so, I have noticed an increased interest in the Baltimore Album quilt, especially after the 2011 special exhibit in Houston.

      I think we’ll be seeing more Baltimores in our future, an they will become even more popular because of quilts like Sharon’s.

  13. Jackie Says:

    Don’t make us beg! I’ll never get enough of you and your adventures!
    She indeed has a talent, whom else did you see?

    Your Blog is THE BOMB !

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Oh Jackie, You are too sweet, but I thought you might be getting bored, so I had to ask before I continued telling of my adventures in Paducah.

      I’m SO glad you hear you are not bored. Thanks for putting up with my long-winded posts.

      I think YOU are the BOMB! I see your smile every time I read you blog. I love how you met the fabric challenge. Turning those feathers into a Siamese cat was very clever. I’m so proud of you!!!

  14. Marié Says:

    It is unbelievable that she can have all the “master” skills- her quilting is amazing, the applique designs is beautiful and the actual applique is a show stopper! Thanks for this preview!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Marié, Her work is pretty amazing, but she has spent practically her whole life sewing. Before quilting, she made couture gowns for weddings and beauty pageants. She has an extensive background in textiles and manufacturing. All of this experience she has brought to quilting.

      She has been a master long before she received the designation. I’m glad you enjoyed the show. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to see her work in person. Seeing her work in person will be a day you will remember and talk about for years to come.

  15. Eileen Keane Says:

    Tom, a friend sent me your blog addy so I could add my drool to everyone else’s. OMG!! She really is amazing-was that all done by hand or machine?
    I hope she’s planning on Houston for this quilt!! She’ll take the cake once again.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Eileen, I have seen your name pop up on a couple of yahoo groups I follow. Thanks for stopping by, and for adding your comments.

      I agree, Sharon’s work is drool worthy for sure. All the applique is done by hand. She has been working on this quilt while she’s been on the road teaching. She is very disciplined and devoted to seeing a project through.

      I’m sure she is planning for this to go to Houston, but it make take a while before we see it. Some of Sharon’s quilts sit for years before she is ready to finish them.

      Her last Best of Show (Mystique) waited five years before completion. She works in stages and has multiple quilts going at one time. For each new one started, there is another one nearing completion.

      She showed me photos of her next competition quilt while in Paducah. You will be AMAZED by what she has created. I mean AMAZED. I’ve never seen anyone do what she has done in this next quilt. She just has the binding to finish and this binding is going to knock your socks off.

      I know you are going to be excited when you see it, because she was so excited when she was telling me about it. If she gets that excited, it is going to be something to see. I can’t wait!

  16. Thearica Burroughs Says:

    Tom.. Thank you so much for sharing Sharon with all of us!! I absolutely LOVE her and her work! I actually have her quilt “The Angel” hanging in my master bedroom. I won it during the giveaway she had when debuting her new website! I will treasure it for all of my life! I promised Sharon that it would go to the Paducah Museum one day. Not too soon though, I want to enjoy it for a good long time to come. 🙂

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Therica, Yes, I know you have her Angel quilt. You are a very lucky quilter indeed. To see it every morning and evening would be a wonderfully inspiring way to start and end each day. You are a very very lucky quilter. I hope get to stare at that quilt for many many years to come. I know Sharon would feel the same way.

      Sharon’s binding video for that quilt has changed my quilting life. My bindings have never looked so good. Each time I start to bind a quilt I watch the video again, just to refresh my memory and to see that beautiful quilt.

      Congratulations on winning such a treasure.

  17. Nellie Durand Says:

    Reading through all the above comments, what can I add but my own “WOW!”?

    Thanks for sharing, Tom.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Nellie, Thanks for stopping by. I’m so thrilled you dropped in and left a comment. I really enjoy reading your blog and watching you explore all your different interests.

      You last wallhanging was so inspiring. I loved all the strings hanging from the surface of the quilt. There was so many levels of texture and interest to that piece, it is very hard to describe how amazing it is. Thanks for taking me through your journey.

      I can’t wait to see what work on next.

      For those of you interested. Here’s a link to Nellie’s blog. Check it out. She does some pretty amazing things with fabric.

  18. Annette Johnston Says:

    What an amazing talent Sharon is. She’s put her own twist on the Baltimore Album quilt even before she starts the actual quilting. Taking this art form to a new level for sure. I can hardly wait to see the finished quilt. Thanks so much for sharing, Tom. It’s given me the impetus to forge ahead on the two BAs that I’ve got on the go.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hello Annette, Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. After looking at her work, I also felt compelled to work on my Baltimore Album. Mine is only in my head, but her blocks definitely got the creative juices flowing.

      Sharon’s blocks show the potential within this style of applique. She showed that every Balitmore Album doesn’t have to be the same Her color choices alone, move the genre forward. Work like this gives people permission to try new things.

      I’m glad to see that these photos inspired you to forge ahead with the two quilts you have started. I know they take a lot of work, but when you see results like this, it’s definitely worth all the efforts.

      Good luck on finishing those quilts!

  19. Cynthia Strang Says:

    this is absolutely beautiful work! Sharon is one talented lady. Most impressive to me is that she dyes her own fabrics and I just love the shading details in her work!
    Enjoying your blog so much, I told Jeff it makes me want to learn how to quilt! Your work is beautiful, too! So good to be able to keep up with you this way! We think of you so often. Sending our love….

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi there, It’s good to see you hear. Sharon’s work is really amazing. Her fabric dyeing is pretty wonderful for sure. She is an expert at finding the right section of fabric to use in her applique. That’s what makes her applique so interesting. She pays so much attention to the details, that you get to appreciate each one.

      I’m glad you are enjoying the blog. If you decide to be a quilter, that would be great, but not necessary. The important thing is that you appreciate it, and I can see in your comments that you do.

      Ha! You would think that as much as I write in a post, that I would be better at corresponding with people, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I have the best intentions, but fail miserably. 😦

      Much love to you and Jeff!

  20. Carol Ann Wilbourn Says:

    Gifted! Incredible! Amazing! Just words and they can’t express how fabulous Sharon’s work truly is. Thanks you for sharing these wonderful photos.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey Carol Ann, Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. Sharon is quite the talented quilter.

      Speaking of talented quilters. When am I going to see that show quilt on your quilting frame? I need you to finish it so I can share it with my readers. I think they are going to love it too.

      One more thing. Have you tried those paints you got at Paducah? Are they to die for?

  21. Carol Ann Wilbourn Says:

    Tom, they really are ‘to die for’! Yes I’ve used them – they are over the top! I have a fish that can’t wait to be embelished with them! I’ll keep you posted!

  22. grapeskystudio Says:

    Everything Sharon does is amazing….but I love your work so much too Tom… being a fellow graphic designer I was always drawn to your quilts. I never realized you were a graphics person at first and then when I found out it made real sense to me why I was particularly drawn to your work. I love your sense of shapes/ patterns and color – so gorgeous and “graphic”. Loved your recent appearance on The Quilt Show too. Thanks for the tips.

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