Tom Russell is one of those people who come into your life and hold a special place in your heart forever. I met Tom in junior high in my art class. He was so mannerly, funny and so very talented. We hit if off immediately. He had a wonderful handwriting and loved to draw character animals in his unusual style. Whatever the assignment was, he did it creatively and with artistic maturity. He took different classes throughout the years, but in one class we made the first quilt of 65 quilt projects that spanned a 30 year period of time at Morrilton High School. Tom graduated and went off to school and ended up in Knoxville then Houston.
Through the years he has been a constant friend. Whenever he would travel back to his hometown he would always come by and we would catch up. When he started quilting he came to Arkansas to our retreats and workshops. It still amazes me he took a class from me years ago and now I learn from him. His work is incredible and meticulous. I can make a whole quilt top in the time he does the hand embroidery on one block. You can see the flaws in everything I do, but there is never a flaw in Tom’s perfect work. Since he moved to Houston I get to see him at the big quilt show. It is always fun to watch him dissect a quilt and show me tiny things I would never see. Oh, and patience! He has the patience to shop with me. Tom is a not a big collector, He is quite the opposite. Where I seem to have the need to purchase and acquire, he doesn’t. I don’t think you would call him a minimalist, just doesn’t need things. He has taught me so much about life, art, creating, and being a friend. So, many of my friends are now his and I absolutely love some of his close quilting friends. I wish we all lived closer, so we could create together.
One of my most prized possessions is an autographed HGTV “Sparkling Vases” pattern. He wrote, “Jim, Thanks for showing me the way. Love, Tom.” One of my favorite things to read is his blog. I love the way he describes things, and his photographs are fantastic! He just has an eye for the unusual shot filled with fantastic colors and textures! Go to his blog: http://tomrussellquilts.wordpress.com It’s just like Christmas. It’s always great to have him in Arkansas, but today we are now only an email, cell phone, or blog away. Here’s to you my special friend! I am so glad you are in my life