Dan Rouse Is My Hero…

I don’t have a lot of heroes… At least not in the real world.

Maybe because I am profoundly cynical. Maybe it’s because my standards are impossibly high. Maybe I’m just a jerk. Who knows? But there it is; I don’t have a lot of heroes. I just don’t think I am the hero-having sort, and sometimes I feel a bit odd about this. I seems a bit unnatural or something…

There are a couple of exceptions though… (I’m not quite a robot.) Maybe over time I’ll tell you who all of them are.

At this point you may be asking yourself what the point of all this is. (I do tend to ramble.) I seem to be trying to come up with some clever segue into who one of my heroes is, but I it looks like that isn’t happening today. (Damn you words!!!)

Perhaps I had just be direct. Here it goes…

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Dan Rouse is totally one of my heroes!!!

If you don’t know Dan you ought. If you do, you probably know that you are lucky. He is sweet, and clever, and generous, and all those excellent things a person ought to be. He is also one hell of a quilter…

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(Pear Blossom Quilt)

I first ran into Dan right around when Pear Tree was launching. (It feels like an eternity ago even though it is just over half a year ago.) I didn’t really know him, but I had seen a few of his incredible quilts and asked if he would be willing to play with some Pear Tree.

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(Pear Blossom Quilt)

He did far more than play. Whiz bang, before I knew it Dan had whipped up a quilt that opened a few of my eyes (I imagine that I have a few thousand eyes somewhere in my brain, most of which still need opening). At that point I was still just getting my quilting legs under me, and the idea of Dan whipping Pear Blossoms up just amazed me…

Before seeing this I was absolutely terrified of curves. Afterward I just had to start playing with them. Not that I thought what Dan did was easy; he just flipped the switch in my head (I have lots of switches in there too) that made the fear go away.

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(New York Beauty)

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(New York Beauty)

That’s a big part of why Dan is one of my heroes. Talking with him, seeing what he makes, and trying to figure out how he thinks about his quilts consistently opens those eyes and flips those switches. Dan does thing with my fabric that I would never have thought of, but feel like I should have. He just seems to see through designs to what the ought to make. In short, I always feel like Dan gets it. Seeing his work, getting to talk to him consistently makes me a better quilter, and a better designer. Sometimes I just go to his blog to think about stuff, to try to gather in a new perspective.

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(Venn Diagram Baby Quilt)

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(Venn Diagram Baby Quilt)

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(Venn Diagram Baby Quilt)

I don’t mean to say there aren’t a whole lot of people I truly respect and turn to for ideas, support, and advice, ’cause there are. There is just something about Dan and his work that truly resonates with me, that prompts the next set of questions I may need to explore.

Now I send Dan some bits of each new line as it comes out, not in hopes that he’ll promote it in some way, but just to see what he will come up with. I don’t care when he gets around to playing, or if he lets it sit there for years and years. It’s about getting to see what he eventually comes up with. It’s about the unexpected combinations and realizations, the way he makes me see my own fabric and imagine what I might design next. More than anything, what Dan does challenges me to make more nuanced fabric that I look forward to him responding to.

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(Drawstring Backpack)

Perhaps hero is too blunt of a word; I don’t want to embarrass the man or put him on an ill-fitting pedestal. So perhaps I had best leave it at this: Dan Rouse is freakin’ awesome and I thank my lucky stars that I know him and that he plays with my designs.

Yay Dan!!!

-T

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