thoroughly modern laura piggott
By Patricia Belyea
OTTAWA, CANADA In 2009 Laura Piggott created a quilt for her first baby soon after he was born. Made with modern fabrics and a traditional pattern, Laura followed Elizabeth Hartman tutorials online to learn some patchwork basics.
So Laura asked The Modern Quilt Guild if Ottawa had a chapter. Headquarters responded “Not yet” and suggested she start one. With Laura’s leadership and the help of three other committed quilters, Ottawa had its first MQG meeting in the Spring of 2013—with 30 people showing up.
Today the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild stands over 80 members strong. The guild meets monthly in the conference room of the local newspaper. “The meetings are always fun,” Laura shared, “with Show ’n Tell, tutorials, sometimes an invited speaker, exchanges and swaps.
Laura quilts non-stop and has a home-based business, Waffle Kisses, where she teaches classes and workshops in her basement studio. Laura explained that selling herself and then convincing others to take a class is perhaps her biggest challenge.
Laura has built up her clientele organically with repeat students and word-of-mouth. “Once they come,” she stated, “they usually come back.” (Laura bakes goodies the day before her classes. Do you think that has anything to do with her high rate of customer retention?)
This February, Laura attended QuiltCon in Austin TX—the annual gathering of the Modern Quilt tribe. Laura took one full-day class, a half-day class and volunteered for 16 hours. I was surprised to learn that the two classes she chose focused on surface design—block printing and screen printing. “I can sew at home anytime. I wanted to try something I had never done before,” Laura explained.
Already planning to attend QuiltCon next year in Pasadena, Laura doesn’t intend to overbook herself this time. She’s looking forward to meeting others and mingling more. All the same, Laura has signed up for a 9am to 9pm workshop with Lizzy House on Fabric Design and Printing!
Heading upstairs for a nibble of banana bread with a built-in cream cheese layer (yum), I found a home full of art. It turns out that Laura always wanted to be an artist but was discouraged from pursuing that interest for her post-secondary education. So she got a teaching certificate following her undergraduate degree and taught Spanish in high school.
It’s also obvious that Laura loves animals. Three calico cats joined us in the studio. Upstairs, Maizie, the world’s fluffiest cairn terrier, kept a close eye on us as we chatted.
Laura lives in the charming town of Carleton Place, about 25 miles west of Ottawa. My visit included a stroll to The Pickle Dish, the local quilt shop, right downtown. There owner Jan Kittle welcomed us warmly.
Jan has volunteered to add new quilt blocks to the Canadian AIDS Memorial Quilt once it’s completed a relay journey across Canada. With great enthusiasm, Jan showed us the finished submissions from the ten provinces and three territories.
As Laura and I drove back to my mother’s home in Ottawa, I asked “What’s next?” With her two-year stint as OMQG president over and both her children—Xavier (6) and Chiara (4)—now in school, Laura has more time to herself.
In the immediate future, Laura’s whipping up baby quilts, iPad cases, clutches and cup cozies for the upcoming Etsy Made in Canada show on September 26. Her Big Picture includes more improv quilting, getting back to painting, and maybe even gleaning a Masters from UBC (online) in Fine Arts & Creative Writing. Go Laura!
To visit Laura’s Waffle Kisses website +click here
Connect with Laura on Instagram @WaffleKisses
To visit The Pickle Dish’s website +click here