Hi there…my name is Opal Cocke…that would be pronounced like the soft drink…yep! You will find me as Gooma8x online. This is how Jackson said “grandma’ when he couldn’t pronounce his r’s. The 8x means…that’s right, eight times grandma…seven boys and one girl. I am a retired teacher. I really only have a twinge of nostalgia at the beginning of the school year when all that energy is put into creating the ‘room.’ That I miss every Labor Day. I fill my days with fiber art. I fill my rooms with fibers, textiles and color. Sometimes I am happy to stand in front of a bin or two of fabric and just look and touch, and, oh yes, smell. There is nothing quite like the smell of new fabric from the bolt. I am surrounded by fabric in bins, shelves, pull out drawers, stacks, layers, bags, closets, under the sewing table….it is everywhere. But my most prized stash is my ever growing accumulation of bits and pieces, selvages, and remnants. It is here where I go when I am inspired to create a piece of fiber art.
I am often asked how long I have been a quilter. I have to stop and think how to answer…because my earliest memories are of me playing under the quilting frames at the ladies’ church group, legs and shoes all around…and bits of thread, fabric, and batting on the floor, and looking up I could see the colors of the quilt, and the pattern emerging….I always loved this….My grandmothers quilted, and my mother and aunts quilted…and, by default, I was a quilter. I threaded needles..and put little paper-backed pieces together in tidy piles. I went on to make clothes for my dolls, and eventually for myself. I made baby clothes long before I ever really knew that I would ever have a baby. It was just something that was done. I made clothes for my girls, and for their dolls….and then, I made a quilt. My first quilt for my last child….in which I used the fabric from the clothes I made her. It took me three years….Flying Geese…and it was all stitched and quilted by hand. Eventually I took some classes and learned how to make a quilt. I now make little quilts….the size of a crib quilt or smaller…sometimes much smaller.
Two years ago, after reading Creative Quilting by Karey Patterson, I started my own journal quilt project. I make a small page-sized quilt every week, often responding to a word, or something happening in my week. Sometimes when someone looks at my Littles (this is what I call them), I am asked what I intend to make with them? Will I sew them together and make a big (oh my goodness, ) quilt? And I have to explain that these are just for me, just as their journal or diary would be just for them. Sometimes that is hard to understand, the idea of making something just for the pleasure and challenge of making it, with no other purpose in mind. In the last year I have made ATC (artist trading card) sized fabric art with the Creative Mom Podcast theme of the month. I love the challenge of condensing an idea on that little canvas….These cards are exchanged with other participants. My latest endeavor is a collaboration with Amy Cowen, fiber artist, pen and ink artist, water colorist, pod caster, blogger…a lady of many talents. We are combining are two styles of art into quilted pieces that are uniquely ours and stocking a shop at etsy.com. We have just started a blog where we each talk about our thoughts and experiences with our fiber art. I do other things in my spare time…I knit a bit, journal, sketch, dabble in watercolors, watch for birds, and read. I do need more hours in my day!
I live about an hour north of Seattle on a small island on the Puget Sound. My studio windows let me watch amazing sunsets, storms coming in from the ocean, and all the birds who visit my yard. I share my studio with my dog, Cinda LooWho, and cat, KittyBoy.
I am excited and looking forward to working with such a talented team of artists.
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