Featured Artist- Lynn Chinnis

Lynn Chinnis is a charter member of Postmark’d Art. She lives in Warrenton, Virginia, with her husband Jim. They have one daughter, Sarah, who lives with her husband and daughter in Cary, North Carolina. Lynn began in quilting making traditional quilts.

Tell me a little about yourself.

I made my first quilt in 1975 for my daughter’s first “big girl” bed out of scraps from her clothes:  polyester, cotton, whatever I had—a lot of kettle cloth. It was 6-inch squares and tied with yarn.  Since the “batting” was an old army blanket, it pretty much had to be tied.  Unfortunately I didn’t pay attention to the fiber content of the yarn, which curled up into little balls the first time the quilt was washed.  Over the years it has been washed quite a bit, so they have become very tiny little nubs.  The quilt is affectionately (or not so) known as the “sandbag” quilt and my daughter still uses it.  Family members who like sleeping under something heavy love it, the down comforter set not so much.

After that, I didn’t make another quilt until about 1992 when a friend of mine talked me into a quilting class at a local store.  By that time we were using rotary cutters and rulers rather than scissors and cardboard templates, and quilting became a lot more fun.

When did you join Postmark’d Art?

I joined in 2004 when the group first started.  I had gotten bored with traditional quilting and wanted to try something different.  Somehow I found the QuiltArt mailing list and was amazed at what people were doing.  It seemed a lot more interesting than my traditional quilts. I finally got brave enough to try a QuiltArt Deck of Cards swap.  I really enjoyed experimenting with different techniques in a small format and wanted to try postcards.  At that time Art2Mail was closed to new members, but they had created a waiting list for a new group.  A short time later that there were enough of us on the list and Franki Kohler  agreed to take charge of the new group.  I remember we had discussions about what we’d call ourselves, but can’t recall any of the other choices.

Since then I have joined a couple of other postcard groups.  They are all run a bit differently and have different “personalities.”  Time pressures have caused me to give up the other groups, but I will stick with Postmark’d Art.  I am trying, however, to limit my number of themes I sign up for each trading period.

When did you start making postcards?

I hadn’t made any until the Postmark’d Art group started.  A friend had joined another postcard group, and I had seen a couple of hers.  I remember searching the web for what to use in the middle and tips for finishing the edges. The Deck of Cards swap used regular playing cards for the base and we mailed them all in a package to the coordinator who parceled them back out, so I had no experience with making something that would actually go through the mail.

How do you display your postcards?

I have them in two large baskets in my living room. I periodically give the baskets a “stir” so that different cards will be visible on top.  I’m about ready to buy a third basket.  People are always interested in seeing the cards.  I finished my Round 14 cards at my guild retreat in April, and people were always stopping by the table to see what I was working on.  My husband always enjoys the ones I receive, but he does ask what’s going to happen when I run out of places to put the baskets.

What have been some of your favorite themes?

Wow, there have been so many good ones.  It’s always fun to see the suggestions we come up with at the beginning of each round.  In some cases I wonder what on earth someone would do with that theme, and then when I see the albums I wish I had signed up for it.  Some I’ve liked because I’ve especially enjoyed working on them, or my cards have come out really well, and others because the cards I’ve received had been especially great.  I have done Circles at least twice.  There is something very Zen-like in cutting circles of various sizes and colors, and maybe a few lines, and just playing with the arrangements.  I liked both the Fire and Water elements themes because I had gotten a needle felting machine and could play with that.  The Song Titles theme was fun because there were so many different songs, including my 40’s standard “Autumn Leaves” which some folks had never heard of.  Guess I was showing my age with that one.  I enjoyed the Photo to Fabric group in the last round.  I used a small part of a beach scene that I have been meaning to make into a wall hanging someday.  Playing with that in postcard size gave me some ideas about composition for a larger piece.

Tell me about your other interests.

I do a lot of reading.  I knit quite a bit and always have at least two projects going.  I also enjoy gardening.  Both of us dislike lawns, so most of our backyard is a garden.  I try for the cottage garden look, but sometimes it just seems messy, especially when it’s as dry as it has been this summer.  The birds enjoy it though, and we have become quite interested in bird and butterfly watching.   We love to travel and especially like poking around on back roads and in small towns.  I try to remember to always have my camera with me to record ideas for more quilts.

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