Meet the Educators
The information below is from the previous year's festival. New information will be posted as it becomes available.
Robin Pickens is a quilt designer and a designer of textile collections for Moda Fabrics. Robin started working with Moda after winning the Global Fabric Competition on spoonflower.com. Prior to her work in the fabric and quilting world, Robin was a successful designer and art director in the television industry and managed and directed an in-house staff for a division of Time Warner/Warner Bros. Robin has also worked for over 10 years doing freelance work in animation, including work with E! Entertainment Network.
While exploring her desire to do more creative work, Robin started licensing her artwork to companies for greeting cards, calendars, craft books, dishware, holiday decor and more. She loved creating artwork that reflected beauty, color and joy in people’s homes. She still happily creates watercolor floral art for the Seller’s calendar “Seize the Day”, which she has been doing for the past 11 years.
Robin’s approach to quilt making came from a more improv perspective from some classes she took with her mother- the first quilter in the family! Realizing she wanted to share her perspective on quilt design, Robin started creating quilt patterns. She is happy to design in a range that spans a “transitional” perspective- from traditional to modern. She loves designing quilts to show off the grand florals she likes to create as well as Thatched, her basics line for Moda Fabrics, adding more color and subtle texture.
Online sew alongs have brought a wonderful opportunity to connec twith other quilters. Robin has enjoyed being one of the designers for Moda Blockheads, Sewcialties, as well as contributing to Martingale’s Moda All-Stars books. She loves to explore how different quilt blocks can look through her color studies. It is a joy to connect with the world of quilters and to make things with hand and heart!
Amanda Murphy… Always attracted to color, texture and pattern, Amanda Murphy has been designing, drawing, and sewing since she was a child. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University, she worked as a graphic designer and art director in Alexandria, Virginia, and New York City. After moving to North Carolina with her family, Amanda discovered quilting, an art that marries her passion for design with her enthusiasm for handwork. As she gradually expanded her knowledge of sewing and quilting techniques and combined them with the ideas she had been sketching over the years, Amanda Murphy Design was born.
Amanda markets her own full-color pattern line under Amanda Murphy Design label and has designed several fabric collections. Her fourth collection with Benartex will debut in Summer 2016. Amanda is also the author of several book with C&T Publishing including the best-selling Modern Holiday and The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book. A companion sampler and app will be debuting soon.
Ruby Star Society Founder and Creative Director Melody Miller is a goal-setter, and unlike most of us, the big, scary, long-term ones are her favorites. “The hardest part is knowing what I want, but once I’m clear, I go for it.” In 2013, she dreamt up the idea of Cotton + Steel, a modern fabric brand that began with collections and collaborations from five diverse female designers – something fresh and new for the industry that no one else had done at the time. Five years later, having built something beautiful but needing a strong foundation for it to thrive upon, the designers remained united and Melody pitched the idea of Ruby Star Society as a collaboration with Moda Fabrics. “Our designers have each grown in really beautiful ways, and I so strongly want this brand to accurately reflect the growth, wisdom, and courage of our artists,” For Melody, it was the perfect amalgamation of her experiences and skills, combining art, illustration, sewing, marketing and branding into one magical, creative venture.
Melody works in the Ruby Star Society studio in Atlanta, GA, and loves drawing, animating, driving fast cars, eating peanut butter, and creating mischief with her husband and children.
Devon Iott is the Brand Manager for fabric company Ruby Star Society, and she designs modern quilt patterns under her own banner Miss Make. After attending film school in Los Angeles and working in the film industry for several years, she found her way to the sewing world and never looked back. Devon has worked for Singer/Viking/Pfaff sewing machines, written for Seamwork Magazine, and taught sewing classes and workshops at numerous fabric stores across the country. She currently lives in Atlanta with her boyfriend and two cats, and she is always on the lookout for a new hobby.Visit Website
Homegrown comedian, Mary Miller, has been performing comedy & music from coast to coast for 25 years. Mary's ability to find the humor in everyday situations and day to day challenges hits home with audiences of all ages. Raised on a farm outside of Alexandria, Ohio in Licking County ,Mary’s first performances were for the livestock on the family farm. She began her professional comedy career at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, in Detroit, Michigan. Since then, her travels have given her the opportunity perform in comedy clubs, casinos, and at corporate events. She has shared the stage with Bill Engvall, Howie Mandel, Tim Allen, Brad Garrett, Kevin James, and many more. Her comedy shows have raised money for local and national organizations, such as Licking county Aging Program, Hospice of Knox county, Gilda’s Club of Metro Detroit& the American Cancer Society. Mary knows firsthand the healing power of humor and laughter, and it is her mission to empower people to find the funny in their own lives – everyday.Visit Website
I’ve been an educator for more than 35 years. School teacher, parent educator, an advocate for infants and children with special needs, a court-appointed special advocate, a software trainer, and a consultant. However, my long-time passion is quilting! I love working with colors, the geometry, the problem solving. I love seeing hundreds of pieces coming together in a work of art!
Little did I know when I started quilting more than 20 years ago that I would find a special niche that would let me put all these experiences together. I’ve learned that I love helping others learn, expand their quilt-making skills and tackle projects that they never dreamed of tackling!
A Quiltworx Certified Instructor for nearly 5 years, I’ve been making “Judy” quilts since I started Quilt-making. I’ve had the privilege of working through more than a hundred hours of workshops with Judy Niemeyer. I’ve pieced nearly 100 Quiltworx quilts. You’ll even see two of my quilts on Quiltworx Pattern Covers – a Dinner Plate Dahlia and the Terra Cotta pattern.
I continue to be awed at the precision of the patterns and the ease of assembly of these heirloom quilts. More importantly, I’ve never forgotten how challenging these quilts can seem to a first-time paper-piecer, but how satisfying they are when you can predictably complete a complex pattern with precision! I think this empathy is my special sauce. I’m really good at helping other quilters breakdown the process, teach those unique Quiltworx techniques so that finishing their quilt is a very achievable goal – even for beginners!! As a matter of fact… I love introducing the “excitement of Quiltworx” to those who have been reluctant to try.
In early 2020 as COVID-19 ended many in-person meetings and classes, I used my computer and teaching experience to take my classes, guild presentations and workshops online using Zoom. I’ve now completed scores of classes, trunk shows and workshops for hundreds of quilters! I’ve developed a great system of live classes, recorded videos, PowerPoint presentations, and handouts all hosted and organized online. I back it up with on-demand support through FaceTime, texting and chat. It’s been exciting to convene classes with quilters across the country! Recently I’ve gone international with quilters from Canada, Switzerland and India joining my classes.
Since COVID and my move to Texas – my visits to Shipshewana have been cut back. I’m eager and excited to return, visit my favorite quilt shop(Yoder Department Store and The Cotton Corner) and catch up with the students I’ve had the pleasure of working with in past workshops. I hope to see you at Quilt Festival 2022!