ann darling: non-stop irresistible
By Patricia Belyea
TACOMA WA Ann Darling charmed me from the moment I met her at the October meeting of Surface Design Association. Tall and stately with a trace of an Australian accent, Ann radiated an exotic aura. Once I got to know her, Ann seemed more like an overgrown kid full of curiosity and creativity.
A StashFest presenter, Ann is sharing some of her global fabric collection with Northwest quilters and textile lovers. On Monday I ventured down to Brown’s Point to see what Ann is releasing to this fundraising event for La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum.
My visit started in Ann’s studio filled with sewing machines, memorabilia from around the world, fabrics galore, and now boxes of treasures for StashFest.
Ann’s appreciation for handiwork and folk art drives her collection. From Guatamala to SW China, Ann has purchased precious pieces over a lifetime of travel. Some of the fabrics will never be made again because the women’s work has now been replaced by machines.
Box after box revealed more handmade delights as well as specialty fabrics, yarns and threads.
Check out this two-yard piece of vintage cotton twill with a playful bear. On the selvedge, it reads: SHRUNKERIZED.
What does Ann do in her studio? She makes custom designer clothing. As a gangly child who couldn’t fit any department store clothes, Ann learned to sew her own from a young age. Some of Ann’s garments include fabrics she designs and prints at Spoonflower while others feature embellishments from her global collection.
Ann will be bringing a rack of her creations to StashFest!
My visit finished with a tour around Ann’s home that’s filled with more visual and textural gems.
A wonderful lunch was served upstairs in the all-purpose living room overlooking Puget Sound and under an arched ceiling painted with a blue sky. Ann’s husband, Peter, joined us for a thoroughly pleasant meal.
As much as Ann’s eclectic wares will contribute greatly to this year’s StashFest, it’s her energetic and generous personality that will boost the experience of StashFesters.
StashFest :: One-of-a-Kind Fabrics and Designer Wearables
Sat, March 29 11-5 / Sun, March 30 10-3 FREE
La Conner Civic Garden Club
622 South Second Street, La Conner
Across the street from La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum