Certified Teachers Program
Past NQA Certified Teachers of the Year
2011 NQA Certified Teacher of the Year: Lois T. Smith, NQACT, NQACJ
Lois T. Smith from Rockville, Maryland, is a teacher known for instilling, by example and word, the love of quilting and the value of excellence and attention to detail. She values the memories gathered over thirty years of teaching.
"To see passion override reason in a student is the highest compliment one can receive," says Lois.
Lois is both an NQA Certified Teacher and NQA Certified Judge. In addition to teaching locally and in more than forty states, Lois has taught in Africa, Brazil, Canada, and Scotland. Her quilt, Golden Memories of Christmas, won Best of Show in the Houston Quilt Festival in 1988 and was the first machine quilted piece to win that honor. Her Summertime Sampler is a part of the permanent collection of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.
While Lois' early work stemmed from traditional geometric patterns with a twist, more currently her pieces include her hand dyed fabrics and various surface design techniques. Most pieces relate to nature and the sea. Design elements or feelings come together as her work progresses. Lois seldom sketches a piece in detail, but puts more emphasis on collecting a workable color palette of fabrics that will then develop bit by bit. She is often surprised by the outcome. Once pieced or appliquéd, copious amounts of free-motion machine quilting are used to enhance and embellish the quilt surface.
Lois Smith is the author of Fun and Fancy Machine Quiltmaking (American Quilter's Society, 1989) and Lois Smith's Machine Quiltmaking (American Quilter's Society, 1997).
A native of Illinois, she graduated from Monmouth College and is married to Donovan A. Smith. They have seven children, ten grandchildren, and enjoy a vacation home on Chincoteague Island, Virginia.
2010 — Barbara Arnold, Rocky Point, NY
Barbara Arnold took up quilting thinking that keeping her hands busy would keep her from overeating. She soon learned that quilters love to eat. So much for that diet plan! After learning to quilt, all other needle arts fell by the wayside. Finding a local quilt show in 1986 opened new doors. Barbara and her sisters still make visiting this show an annual event.
Quilt shows and taking classes taught Barbara not just how to quilt but that she might have what it takes to teach quiltmaking. Barbara began teaching non-relatives in 1996 and hasn't stopped. Honing her teaching skills in a variety of local, regional and national venues, Barbara completed her journey to become a National Quilting Association Certified Teacher in 2003. Certification has been both personally and professionally rewarding. Barbara served as the Certified Teacher Coordinator for NQA from 2006 to 2008. She currently teaches in a local quilt shop and gives private lessons.
A traditional quilter at heart, she has recently begun to explore outside her comfort zone by incorporating a color that she's been known to struggle with. Except for that 'certain color', there's nothing about quilting that Barbara does not enjoy and believes that quilting should be an activity including humor and laughter.
The only thing that comes before quilting is Barbara's family. She and her husband Rob have been married 35 years, and share life with Hobart, the dog and Midget, the cat. The couple's three sons and their families are a source of pride. Barbara highly recommends having grandchildren, because they are so much fun. Barbara and Rob own a welding business that they run together and enjoy traveling to visit family, friends, and quilt shops and shows.
Barbara believes that all quilters should have a home guild. Hers is the Eastern Long Island Quilter's Guild, an NQA chapter. Since joining in 1995, Barbara has been a part of many activities and committees and has assumed a variety of leadership roles.
When told she had been named the 2010 Certified Teacher of the Year, Barbara said, "Thank you to my students for nominating me and the NQA committee for selecting me for this great honor. I will continue to do my very best to pass on the traditions of quiltmaking and to represent the National Quilting Association and the professionalism of the Certified Teacher Program every time I lecture or conduct a class."
2009 — Linda Hahn, Manalapan, NJ
Linda began quilting in 1993 and teaching in 1994. Linda received her National Quilting Association Teacher Certification in 1999. She has been nominated three times (2001, 2004 and 2008) for Professional Quilter Magazine's Teacher of the Year award.
Linda was on the faculty for the 2009 Quilters Heritage Celebration, 2009 Machine Quilters Exposition and the 2009 Mid Appalachian Quilters Conference. She was on the 2008 and 2009 NQA Show faculty in Columbus, Ohio. In August 2007 she taped a quilting segment for EBRUTV, Somerset, New Jersey. She has been part of the faculty at the New Jersey Quilt Convention since 2005 and was the featured teacher at the Frost Valley Quilting Weekend in 2004. Linda has taught in Bermuda twice and on three quilting cruises. Linda is the 2009 All Star at the New Jersey Quilt Convention.
Linda and business partner Merry May (under their business Double Trouble Studios) present Bed, Breakfast & Quilt Getaways — affectionately known as "BBQ". Linda is the co-author of the new book Insiders Guide to Quilting Careers with Merry May. They will have a series of articles entitled "Sew Thrifty" starting in Quilt Magazine, and another series entitled "Don't Quit Your Day Job...Yet!" for the NQA Quilting Quarterly. They will have a new pattern line called "Stash Bashers" coming in fall of 2009.
Linda has done commission work for Elizabeth's Studio, Shamash & Sons, Kreinik Thread Manufacturing Company and Sullivans, USA. Her work has appeared in Quilting Now Magazine, The Professional Quilter, Quilt Almanac, QUILT Magazine and the NQA Quilting Quarterly. She currently serves as a marketing consultant for Elizabeth's Studio.
Linda is co-owner (with daughter, Sarah) of Two Country Quilters, a long arm machine quilting business. Two Country Quilters also vends hard-to-find and specialty quilting items at New Jersey quilt shows. She is co-owner of Double Trouble Studios (with Merry May).
She lives in Manalapan, New Jersey with her husband Allan, daughter Sarah and her golden retriever, Amber Lynn, all of whom are involved in quilting! When she is not quilting, Linda enjoys Caribbean cruising, reading trashy novels and watching NCIS, any of the Star Trek series, as well as any of the CSI series. Her website is www.twocountryquilters.com.
2008 — Jennifer McCann, Galena, OH
Quilting began for Jennifer in October, 1997. In the first 2 hours of taking her first beginner's class, she was totally hooked. The first week of her quilting venture yielded 6 blocks all done by hand. "I couldn't quit!", was her apology at her second class when she presented so many blocks. After that, it was all about quilting.
Jennifer began teaching a beginner's class at her church in January 1998, hoping to cultivate quilting buddies. Like all quilters, she met new quilting friends and took more classes to increase her quilting skills. NQA provided the perfect forum for her interest in teaching others in the Certified Teachers program and she completed her certification in May, 2002. She loves teaching not only beginners, but advanced classes as well. Her favorite class is one she developed to help quilters make better fabric choices for their quilts. She has taught the class, known as "Value vs. Color," extensively and since 2003, it has been part of the Medley at the NQA Annual Show. Paper piecing and Borders and Bindings are just two of the skill and project classes Jennifer teaches. She also has several published patterns and has recently completed a short fiction novel about a quilter's unusual adventure. The book, Fat Quarters, includes an original pattern called "Star Struck". She travels to Atlanta where she conducts a Mid-Arm Intensive workshop several times a year and teaches for friends at Lake Erie and will travel to Buffalo this fall to visit the local guilds.
Her "Resource Center" is extensive and she credits quilting with giving her an outlet for her love of color. "I've sewn since I was very young and still have my little hand cranked Singer! It hooks to a table top with a C clamp!" She has graduated from the tiny Singer to a "big girl" machine and even has a mid arm. Jennifer has come full circle and quilts professionally.
Her husband Jim loves the quilting and he can be found at the Annual Show, helping out everywhere. "I've learned a lot by osmosis," he has been heard to say with a smile!
2005 — Jenny Carr Kinney, Ventura, CA
"I am flattered to have been nominated by my students and colleagues and honored to have been chosen by the National Quilting Association as Teacher of the Year 2005."
Jenny Carr Kinney of Ventura, CA has been making quilts since 1968 and in 1989 began professionally teaching quilt making. In addition to earning her teacher's certification from the National Quilting Association in 1999, she has a degree in textile science from the University of California, Davis and a California Teaching Credential in textiles and sewing.
Jenny is a faculty member of her local community college and successfully convinced various committees that quilting is a part of our community and a source of employment and income. Today, Ventura College offers quilt making, quilt pattern drafting and American quilt history to students for college credit as they work towards an Associate Degree.
Jenny also teaches for her neighborhood school district at the Adult and Continuing Education School, is a charter member of the large local quilt association, and has orchestrated many quilt demonstrations and exhibits.
She teaches a variety of techniques because, "One method cannot be mastered by all individuals or is appropriate for all construction situations. There are ten ways to do everything, and five of them work, three of them are good, and you pick one."
In addition to teaching beginners the basics of quilt making, Jenny specializes in historically inspired antique reproductions and period-appropriate quilting motifs sewn with modern equipment using today's techniques.
2004 — Sandra Turner, Santa Maria, CA
Sandy Turner of Santa Maria, CA has been an NQA certified teacher since 1995. When informed of her selection as the organization's Certified Teacher of the Year, Sandy said she was "thrilled" to receive the honor, especially because it was based on letters written by her past and present students. What did some of her students say? Here are a few excerpts:
- "She is truly an exceptional teacher who inspires many beginning quilters, as well as those who have been quilting for some time."
- "Her explanations and instructions are very clear and easy to understand."
- "She is generous with her affection, time, information and humor."
Sandy did not begin her education in quilting with an eye to teaching it some day. She just loved the creativity quilting allowed her to experience, and then to share with others. What inspired Sandy in earliest quilting days, and still does, is the fabric. "I love the pictorial fabrics and the challenge to find wonderful ways to combine the pictorial with the traditional." She taught basic quiltmaking for eight years through her local adult education system at Hancock College. There she met the challenge of teaching both new and experienced students in the same class. Needing a break from the constant preparation of new material, she began lecturing and offering workshops to local quilt guilds, developing her own technique of hand appliqué, writing, and publishing original patterns.
Sandy now organizes a quilt retreat titled "Out of Hand & Heart, A Quilt Retreat." She has a book proposal in the works and who knows what the future will bring this talented instructor.
2003 — Fran Kordek, Elkins, WV
Fran Kordek of Elkins, WV was chosen to receive the first Certified Teacher of the Year award presented by The National Quilting Association. She has been making, designing, and selling quilted items since 1974. In 1983, a local shop owner asked her to teach quiltmaking, and she has been teaching a wide variety of quilting classes ever since. Her degree in education provided a strong foundation in teaching skills, and in 1993, she became an NQA certified teacher. Guilds and seminars in and around West Virginia have provided Fran with ample opportunities to share her quilting knowledge and to hone her teaching skills.
Although Fran has a strong background in hand piecing, hand appliqué, and hand quilting, her current emphasis is on machine techniques. Working with the West Virginia documentation project heightened her appreciation of quilting traditions and classic quilt patterns. This developed into a focus on keeping traditional designs alive using newly available tools and timesaving techniques. Fran has also designed a line of stained-glass quilting patterns under the name "Subtle Endeavors".
Fran writes all of her own material for class presentations. She has been complimented on her patient, thorough, and personal teaching style, and is widely recognized for being well prepared. Fran has successfully introduced hundreds of students to the joys of quiltmaking, and has encouraged hundreds more to improve their skills and nurture their creative spirits.
Fran's full-sized quilts have been juried into numerous national quilt shows. Her works regularly earn top awards at regional shows, most recently Best of Show at the 4th Biennial West Virginia Quilters' Show. Two of her quilts have received the Award for Excellence for Quilting at the Husqvarna Viking International Convention (1998, 2004).
Since becoming an NQA Certified Judge in 1996, Fran has served as an associate judge at the 2003 NQA Annual Show and, in 2004, presented NQA's first Patricia Morris Memorial Lecture.