When we got married, my parents gave us an antique patchwork quilt for our wedding gift. It was and is […]
When we got married, my parents gave us an antique patchwork quilt for our wedding gift. It was and is the softest, most used, and favorite blanket in our family. I always wondered if I would be able to find a special gift like that for my children, when they get married. I think I found it. Comma Workshop’s very first quilt was a wedding gift, Kerri, the founder of Comma Workshop, made for friends. (See interview below). Each quilt has an original story or poem quilted directly into it, in both white thread and a contrasting color thread. All poetry and stories are original and written by designer Kerry Larkin. Comma Workshop will also create one-of-a-kind, custom quilts! What a great gift.
Thanks so much for agreeing to answer questions for us today! Your product is so unique, we wanted to know a little more about Comma Workshop and you!
1. When did Comma Workshop first start selling quilts?
I started Comma Workshop in 2010. The first Comma quilt was a wedding gift for some dear friends. It was all white (surprise!) with a thin line of printed fabric. Across the front, I stitched the words ‘Hibernation wakes orange lights and sweet wonder…’, referencing how we emerge from winter to the brightness of spring. They loved the quilt and suggested I make more. The next day I registered ‘Comma Workshop’ as an LLC, and haven’t stopped quilting since.
2. Why the name Comma Workshop?
‘Kamma’, in the sacred language of certain sects of Buddhism, means ‘Karma’– which translates into ‘Intentional Action’. ‘Comma’, in English, is a breath, a space…a pause. The idea of designing with intention and a quiet thoughtfulness, I hope, embodies our quilts.
3. Where did you learn to quilt?
My great-grandmother was Pennsylvania Dutch, so I grew up around quilting. I remember she and her sisters would sit around a large quilt frame and hand quilt. My sister and I would play under the quilt, as if it were a fort! They would occasionally let us put a few stitches in and it was so exciting putting on the thimble and trying to master that hand quilting rocking motion with the needle. I love being able to carry on the tradition of quilting– with a modern and fresh perspective.
4. I see you went to school for Architecture, did you ever “practice” Architecture?
Yes! I worked for Qb in Philadelphia that does gorgeous work! (little plug for them: www.qb3design.com) Their aesthetic was quiet, clean, and modern, and I definitely carried that experience into my quilts.
5. Please tell us where the idea came to “write “ poetry on quilts? Was it an “AHA” moment?
For as long as I can remember, in any art that I’ve done (sculpture, collage, textiles) I’ve always included words or stories. In 2008, I created an installation piece for a gallery in Philadelphia where I stitched stories onto white silk. I really wanted to push the idea further, and since I was trained as an architect and designer, I wanted to explore the idea of textiles and words in a more practical sense, and making quilts was the logical solution. Functional, yet beautiful.
6. We would love some detail about the 80 foot yellow arrow you carried across the country?
Such a fun project! In 2005, I taught ‘installation art as social action’ at a summer camp in Wyoming. We were visiting a Native American medicine wheel in the Big Horn Mountains and having a serious conversation about sacred space and how you define it (physically, in space) and I jokingly said ‘You need a big yellow arrow pointing to it.’ The next day I made an 80 foot yellow arrow! It rolled out along the ground and I proceeded to roll it out all across the country pointing it at things that were sacred, beautiful, or meaningful to the people I met along the way. This was way before social media and Instagram, so it was a really sweet and personal project for me — a heart project.
7. What is your favorite piece you’ve ever made?
Such a hard question! First, I love the early ones where I was really playing and exploring. Second, I collaborated with a writer, Jody Jenkins on a collection, and I loved all of those quilts — especially ‘Joy’. I also do a lot of custom quilts — wedding vows, favorite memories, etc, and it’s so nice to play a little part in someone else’s life– it’s very meaningful and really makes me appreciate what I do.
8. What is your favorite quote/poem/story you’ve ever used?
Again a hard question! All of my original quilts are written by me, so they of course are all personal and meaningful. ‘Rain Comes Down Like Arrows’ was inspired by my time in the Big Horn Mountains where the Big Yellow Arrow emerged, too. ‘A Perfect Moon’ is from my time exploring the mountains of Colorado. These are two of our most popular quilts which makes me happy that people connect with these stories.
Thank you again for all your time, Kerry, and for sharing some insight into your not so typical journey!
Images provided by Comma Workshop