Dar's Longarm Quilting
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Getting from there to here --

I was born into a crazy Italian family in a little town called Long Branch - nestled along the Garden State shoreline. My grandparents migrated from Naples Italy to New Jersey (go figure) where they started their own businesses, raised their families and truly lived the American dream. No matter what obstacles came there way - and there were plenty - they pushed forward, found the lighter side and never gave up! I'm proud to say that I clearly inherited their sarcastic sense of humor, their iron clad work ethic and most of all their sheer determination to follow my dreams no matter what!



Here --

While most people I know cannot recall early childhood memories - I on the other hand can remember some of mine like they happened yesterday. And each and every one of those memories are woven together in luscious living color.

I can remember, for instance, running my little finger nails up and down the mint green textured walls next to my crib. I can remember being walked in my carriage by my mom in her bright red winter coat - the trees and blue sky rolling around her golden blonde hair tumbling in the wind. And oh boy - that first BIG box of crayons in 64 colors with the sharpener in the back. Periwinkle blue! Who knew there were so many colors with such interesting names! I spent so many happy hours filling the pages of my coloring books with polka dots and stripes and patterns. Little did I know that I was quietly designing fabric!

After earning a degree in Art (of course) I moved to California where I landed my first real job as a graphic designer producing print based materials for a large Bay Area ad agency. By the early 90s - everything went digital and I transitioned out of print work into multimedia and web design. Computer-based graphics afforded me a palette of millions of colors just a mouse click away. And although I really enjoyed graphic design and still do - I continued searching for that "mysterious something" that would later come to define me.

And that day came one evening while we were vacationing in North Carolina. At the Inn where we were staying - I met a quilter named Tess - just by chance - and we had a brief life changing conversation. I am sure this woman has no idea today - that she changed my life by simply sharing her passion for quilting with a complete stranger. I listened to her talk about her work as she shared her latest project with me - I heard myself say out loud - "I've always loved fabric and patterns and colors and I've always wanted to do this." It just came right out of my mouth and we both heard it together for the first time. And then Tess looked at me and softly said "Well - why haven't you"?

I was speechless. And as I sat there trying to answer her - a flood of my previous artistic endeavors flashed before me. I had designed and hand cut linoleum blocks to print on fabric that looked suspiciously just like quilt blocks. Created wax resist batiks. Designed needlepoint motifs that looked gee - just like quilt blocks. I was already a sewer. WHY on Earth did I never allow myself to make a quilt??? And yet here inside of 15 minutes - this sweet quilter quietly nudged me into the deep end of the pool!

On the drive home to Florida I began making an insane shopping list of everything I was going to need to hit the ground running. I needed to make up time for all those lost years. I needed a new sewing machine and rulers and a rotary cutter and thread and pins and books and patterns and lots and lots of fabric! My husband just nodded. The seed had been planted. He went on vacation with his wife and he came home -- with a quilter!

I did hit the ground running and I have never stopped! And somewhere along the way I test drove a longarm! The eagle had landed!! To paint and design with thread was a natural progression for me.

I truly love every aspect of quilting and the fact that there is ALWAYS something new to learn and explore. Today I live happily with my husband David in Central Florida with our feline crew and quilt from my home studio on a Gammill Classic Plus - affectionately known as Lucy. I am truly blessed to make my living doing something I love so much.

And so I leave you with a few words of advice. Listen to your own voice, create and follow your own dreams and above all never ever stop!