I'm a computer nerd, specifically the Macintosh kind. I love, love, love Macintosh computers--taking them apart, putting them together, figuring out what ailes them, playing with software. Whenever I had the opportunity, I worked as an Apple Representative (Yes, that was me in NYC helping to introduce the first iMac). I also love the Internet. I'm one of those people glued to the Internet for hours and hours at a time. Whenever I'm not on the Internet, it seems I'm writing about it , talking about it, or designing a Web site for someone. But, I wasn't always a computer nerd.
Back when I was a kid, I was always making something. I tried rughooking and basket-weaving, stenciling and decoupage, silversmithing and macrame. I embroidered the logos of rock bands on my jeans and handbags. At age 19 I became a member of the Embroiderer's Guild of America (impressive, eh?). Making things in my house wasn't anything unusual. My mom continues to be the best decorator I know; my dad, who passed away Sept. 2000, was a retired professional musician who wrote and played incredible music; and my siblings each have their own claims to fame.
In school I studied graphic arts (alas, dear reader, that was before the Mac was invented). I took classes in creative writing, art, and photography. I studied classical guitar, and I actually enjoyed physics. After graduating college I worked for more than a decade as an office manager and paralegal for a Mac-based law firm. I also worked part-time at a photography studio and did wedding and event photography.
In the later part of the 1990s, I received certifications in HTML and in Web page design. In 2001, I earned a certification in advanced Web design from United Digital Artists in New York City and took additional programming in classes in New York City (oh, I love NYC!). While I've attended many MacWorld shows on the east coast from the late 1990s (how I didn't go earlier still is beyond me) through 2001. In 2002, I attended my first MacWorld in San Francsico, going each year since (plus attending the east coast shows when in NYC). Even though Apple is no longer at Macworld, I continue to go to San Francisco. I miss seeing Steve Jobs at the keynote (he is mesmerizing, to say the least -- my favorite, the iPhone launch when everyone's collective mouths hit the floor in amazement), he was worth the many hours of standing in line to see him. I've also attended NAPP Photoshop seminars from 2001 through the present, and attended Photoshop World in San Diego 2002, Los Angeles 2003, San Francisco 2004, Las Vegas 2005, Miami 2006, Boston 2007, Orlando 2008, Boston 2009, Orlando 2010, Orlando 2011 (when the weather was terrible!), and Washington D.C. 2012.
But I digress. In 1982 I took my first formal quilting class from Jeanne Fraser, the then owner of the Quilter's Barn in Allentown, NJ. I went on to take every class on design and color I could find, and I learned how to paint, airbrush, and dye fabric.
In 1990, I self-published quilting patterns. I sold quilt designs and articles to any magazine that would buy them. In late 1990 I bought my first Macintosh (and promptly took it apart on my husband's pool table to upgrade it). After installing Deneba's drawing program Canvas on my Mac, a new world of quilt design possibilities opened up to me. (You can read a feature Deneba wrote on me by clicking here.)
In 1991 I discovered the online world. It was through GEnie (an online bulletin board service) that I responded to a post by Judy Heim. I went on to assist with her Mac questions and to write some articles for her book, "The Needlecrafter's Computer Companion."
In early 1996 we co-authored "The Quilter's Computer Companion," published by No Starch Press in October 1997. We wrote the massive, almost 400 page book, complete with hundreds of illustrations, without ever meeting! We did the entire thing with our computers and modems--Judy on her PC in Wisconsin, and me on my Mac in New Jersey. In May 1998, we finally met in Los Angeles to tape an espisode of HGTV's "Simply Quilts," hosted by Alex Anderson, to promote our book. Judy and I went on to write "Free Stuff for Quilters on the Internet" published by C&T Publishing. The book proved popular, and the series grew into 13 books in total - two that I wrote solo (Free Stuff for Traveling Quilters and Free Stuff for Pet Lovers). While the books are now out of print, I do have some copies available to anyone who may be interested. My newest book "Digital Essentials, the Quilt Maker's Must have Guide to Images, Files, and More " is published by the Electric Quilt Company. I have always been extremely fond of Penny McMorris of Electric Quilt, and when she approached me to write a book I accepted her invitation. Penny interviewed me for the February 2008 issue of the EQ Newsletter. Read it here. In the summer of 2012, I decided to document my work in a self-published book called Gloria Hansen: An Evolution in Stitches, Paint & Pixels. I'm pleased with the book, but I did it through Blurb which makes it expensive for anyone to purchase. I thus did another version using an iPad- and computer-compatible color profile as a PDF ebook. It's available through my website.
In 2008 I was honored to have a solo show at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles in San Jose, California. The show was called "Advanced Geometry: Gloria Hansen." I wasn't keen on that title, as math has never been a particularly strong point with me (although I'd love it to be). Yet Deborah Corsini, the curator, insisted on it. I was stunned silly when I read her introduction to the show: "Gloria Hansen is a woman with innumerable abilities and an abundance of energy and style." Wow. My smile continued to widen: "Her quilts excite me as they push the geometry of quilt making into a new dimension. Her work is skillfully crafted and elegantly designed and is amazing to look at. Although she laughed when the title of this exhibition was proposed ... her quilts clearly have a geometric sensibility and create compelling optical perspectives ... she has an innate visual understanding of the quality of points, lines, and plane." The incredibly flattering description continues on for several paragraphs! One of these days I'll put the full text on my site.
My close friend and mega-talented scripter and programmer, Derry Thompson, and I co-founded Gloderworks a full service Web company where I worked as a full-time graphic artist for more than a decade. In 2012 Derry relocated his company in a new office in Kidderminster, UK, and I began reducing my workload to focus more on my art-related goals and work with The Parkinson Alliance and related organizations. Today I do limited part-time work for Derry, and I also continue to do part-time for (including graphic design and photography) for The Parkinson Alliance and the Parkinson's Unity Walk, two nonprofit organizations that raises money for research to cure Parkinson's disease. I also continue freelance writing, and enjoy making quilts, painting, designing, photography, and exploring the computer and Internet world.
While I've used many programs over the years, and I'm sure I'll use many more, right now I primarily use Adobe Photoshop to design and print fabric for quilt making. I am honored that my quilts have won well over 200 awards and have been featured in many magazines, several books, and on TV. And I am grateful that I finally learned how to follow my heart and earn a living doing what I love.