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Front Porch

Quilter, artist, Renaissance man

By Elizabeth Bettendorf
Published March 16, 2007


LUTZ - Dave Strom made his first quilt as a 9-year-old boy alongside his mother and grandmother. It was a utilitarian bed quilt on which he helped tie yarn tufts every four inches.

He came from a family of self-sufficient and creative people who had traveled west by covered wagon and grown up on farms and homesteads. They canned fruit and vegetables, sewed, quilted and baked. All those skills were passed on to the children and grandchildren, including Strom, now in his 50s and a passionate quilter.

It's more than a hobby.

Strom and his wife, Linda, make custom quilts and hand-dye fabrics for other quilters in their Lutz home. They also custom-dye quilt backing and sell their fabrics at quilt shows.

Call him a quilter's quilter, but Strom - a retired computer systems analyst - is a renaissance man of sorts: He also works as a cashier at Wal-Mart and as a tax preparer for Jackson Hewitt.

He was recently elected president of the 300-member West Pasco Quilt Guild.

His quilts are intensely colorful, well-suited for hanging and extremely artistic. His grandmother was a well-known Iowa painter whose work hangs in the Iowa governor's mansion.

"There are more guy quilters than people know," says Strom, who is one of three male quilters in his guild and says he sees male interest in the art growing.

Strom, who once worked as a glassblower, grew up taking classes at the Toledo Museum of Art. In college, he designed all the costumes for the school production of Othello. He used to paint alongside his grandmother during his free time in college.

"I really come to quilting as an artist," he says.

In fact, he's known for it. His bold and bright quilts are an inspiration to other quilters such as Joyce Griffith, past president of the West Pasco Quilter's Guild. She calls Strom's quilts "bright in hue as well as color value."

They're also highly creative.

"We all get stuck in patterns sometimes - we want a pattern for everything - but Dave just steps out on the edge, which is delightful," Griffith says.

He works with his wife to design colors and patterns of quilts. Linda does the sewing.

Their home is filled with quilts and color, a refuge of reds their favorite with a color scheme ranging from bright orange-red to burgundy to rust.

"My wife and I are the only people who can do three loads of red laundry a week," he says, laughing.

He recently completed a quilt called Global Neighborhood, a design that incorporates a rich yellow background with houses in red, orange, green, blue and purple.

"I work in bright, vibrant colors. Think primary, happy colors," he says.

He loves quilting because of the "interplay of color, the texture of fabric - the touchy-feely part of it."

Elizabeth Bettendorf can be reached at

[Last modified March 15, 2007, 07:46:21]

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