Meet a member – Michael

keep calm and quilt on
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Originally from New York.  Victoria and I moved back to London after we got married 3 years ago.  She is British and works for an investment bank who relocated us when her position changed.  I went to F.I.T. in NYC for Advertising and Graphic Design, not Fashion as the name suggests. When I graduated I took my first job designing novelty books for HarperCollins. A few years later I was lucky enough to get to work with Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart, both have changed the way Children’s Pop Up Books were looked at.  After several years as the Art Director I moved to Penguin where I was given the chance to create and design my own pop up books.  My first was the second place winner of the NY Book Show in 2010 with my book Everyone Says I Love You.
book1In 2012 I designed and engineered another book called Spin which won the Novelty division.
book2book3Since moving to London I continue to design Children’s books for several publishing companies around the world.
What inspired you to start quilting?
My mom has been quilting for a number of years and about 8-9 years ago I asked her to show me how to sew.  I have a black dog and my mom didn’t want to spend many hours making something for me if Lily was going to lay all over it. Over one holiday break between Christmas an New Years she brought in her spare machine and showed me what to do. I have been hooked since then.  It feels like a combination of painting and building but with fabrics and if anyone knows me they know I love building things.  The perfect match in my opinion.
quilter streetMom and me at the Columbia Road Market.
What is your favourite tool or notion?
Going to have to say a seam ripper.  If you ain’t rippin’, you ain’t quiltin’.  I like to think I am fairly competent on my machine but no matter how good you are you will always make a mistake or find a seam that could be done better. My little Clover ripper is always near by.
What is your favourite fabric right now?

florence_denyse SchmidtThere are too many to choose from.  I am going to have to say my giant bundle of “Florence” by Denyse Shmidt given to me by Denyse herself on a visit to her Studio in CT.  I’m a bit afraid to open it but I think I will and can get over it. Here is my first quilt. DS all the way.

What’s your pet hate?
I hate people who stop walking, dead in their tracks on the sidewalk.  Especially when they stop to take a picture of a shop window.  It’s called a sidewalk for a reason, Walk!
Tea or coffee?
happy to serve cupsTea, 2 sugars no milk
cupDo you stick to one project at a time or have several on the go?
I can’t stick to one thing at a time.  My office is a mess of things.  Both book jobs and quilting projects intermingling on the desk.  That goes the same for my knitting and cross stitch projects.  I like having the freedom to pick and choose what I want to work on and when.
michaelwedding-inviteVictoria and my wedding thank you cards.
skull jacketI was bored.  Kay got a knitted skull jacket!
james dean x stitchmy little x stitch version on my larger James Dean quilt.
What are your vices?
I quilt while watching the UFC. Back in NYC I would stand at the island in the kitchen watching the UFC while actually quilting.  Don’t ask me why? That’s just the way it is.  Usually I bind to Law and Order because no matter where you are in the world you can always find an already viewed episode on TV.
Hand or machine quilting?
Machine.  Was lucky enough to get a Janome Horizon a while back. While I piece everything on the machine I do finish binding by hand.  I think if you are going to spend all that time and money on a quilt it should be finished by hand.
janome horizonmy baby
What’s your favourite film?
That’s hard to say.  Growing up I was a Pulp Fiction fan. Have seen it dozens of times and each time you watch it is see something new. I would probably say most of the Fast and Furious movies.  Cut me some slack! I’m a guy and I like cars.  If you ask Victoria she would tell you my movie selections are on the girly side of things.  Who doesn’t like a good chick flick from time to time.
Favourite band?
A number of years ago a friend had won some concert tickets from work to see a band that I liked and few that I didn’t really know.  We both ended up liking one of the not known bands and have been a huge fan since then.  If we have met in person at any time in the 3 years I have been in London you would have seen me in one of the dozen or so concert shirts I have from a band called Blue October. An Alt Rock band from Houston Texas. Since my first show I have probably been to at least a dozen shows both in the States and in London.
blue october

What do you do when your not quilting?

When I am not quilting I am building elaborate pop ups for different Publishers around the world. I always have a scissor and paper with me.

pop up book parisMy 75th Anniversary Pop Up for Madeline. Out in early 2014 from Penguin.
teddy pop up
A Pop Up Firetruck with Teddy Bears for the Book Company in Australia.
pop up monstersMy paper monsters for Caterpillar Books.
bamboo bikeI am also training for the London Nightrider again on a Bamboo bike I built.  100K through the streets of London at night raising money for Battersea Dog and Cat Home.  Feel free to Donate with the link above.  Victoria and I have been fostering since we moved back to London. We have had three amazing Staffies.
michael2The big mush, Philip.
dog“is that my ball” Leroy
dog3 the 14 year old, Kay.
First live band?
My first Concert was Poison and Warrant at Nassau Coliseum back in 1990. I was 14 years old and my neighbor took me. Since then I have been to 100’s of shows. I’m a child of the 80’s. Hair Metal was what I listened to.
michael&victoriaRadio 1’s Hackney Big Weekend 2012
Michael blogs over at





2 responses to “Meet a member – Michael”

  1. Basmati avatar

    That was a really interesting read! I randomly discovered Robert Sabuda’s pop up books in Spain and thought they were amazing.

  2. debbie mclure avatar
    debbie mclure

    love it

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