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The First Five Years 2017-2022: Learning and Experimenting


In the Summer of 2017, Sid Gard and  Elizabeth Townsend Gard set out on a (literal) journey: by train and car, to learn about quilting.  That began what became Just Wanna Quilt and the Quilting Army Krewe.  Those first five years were about exploring the field of quilting (making 125+ quilts), interviewing over 400 guests for the Just Wanna Quilt podcast, participating at quilt shows, including QuiltCon and International Quilt Festival and Market,  having sew-alongs, and most important to our mission, learning and exploring the needs of quilters, crafters and artists in their legal journey, both as artists and as either hobbyists and/or  businesses.  We wrote books.  We held workshops.  We answered 1000s of questions through Facebook.  Dr. Townsend Gard’s law classes also participated -- over ___ students engaged in the project, researching and working with makers on trademark, contracts, and other entrepreneurial activities.  And of course, COVID.  When COVID-19 first struck, we were in one of the epicenters here in New Orleans, and we saw across the country, as many did, the sudden shortage of masks.  Just Wanna Quilt, like many, turned into a mask-making space, and we worked to donate 1000s of yards of fabric to our local community.  We received two grants from the university to assist.  But that was not enough.  We were frantic to understand how to help keep our families and communities safe, and so we did 60 interviews within the space of three weeks, with nurses, scientists, and those on the frontlines of making masks.  This culminated in the Tulane Homemade Mask Summit, a two day virtual conference.   And then we were exhausted.  


We were sewing.  We were in lock down.  We were worried.  We did a few interviews, but we had lost our mojo.  There were so many things vying for our attention.  Mostly, we were writing.  We had two projects going -- one on medallions and museums (with Willow Olson and Elizabeth Townsend Gard), and the other on legal issues that crafters, artists, and quilters face (with Sid Gard and Elizabeth Townsend Gard).  We had been working on both for a while. During COVID, we continued to focus our time on these quieter projects. 


In 2021: we did a few episodes but things were not back to normal.  Hurricane Ida hit just as we were taking the kid to college - and I stayed in Chicago for most of the semester.  It was a weird time.  Nothing was quite right.  And I was always almost ready to come back to New Orleans.  


2022 - we are going to call that the lost year in podcasts.  But we made up in writing.  


In 2022, Sid Gard and Elizabeth Townsend Gard secured a four-book contract with C&T publishing that focus on Legal DIY for Makers:  Just Wanna Trademark, Just Wanna Entrepreneur/Start-Up, Just Wanna Copyright, and Just Wanna Contract.  These are based on but a significant extension of our original writings on these topics, and expand from merely quilters to makers of all kinds.  The first, Just Wanna Trademark, is due out in September 2023.


Sid Gard, now a sophomore at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, focuses on the world of artists and crafters.  Elizabeth Townsend Gard, professor at Tulane University Law School, provides the legal stuff.  Together they merge their work into one.  It’s been a blast.


We have so much to be thankful for -- the friends, the experiences, the learning.  And we have had 25,000 subscribers to the podcast, over 4000 in our quirky Facebook group, and over $100,000 in sales of our self-published books.  


And so now onto the next five years, which we are calling - Engagement and Action.  But before we do that, let's take a look at what we thought we were going to do, and what we've done so far.

The project as it was first conceived

So, here is our original idea. 

  • Get better at quilting by trying all kinds of techniques, styles, and tools, and document that journey. Try to quilt a little bit every night and share early thoughts either in the Facebook group, a working draft or a blog. (I've quilted from start to finish now two years in about 40 quilts). 

  • Gather together a community of quilters to explore what quilting means to them, and what role law, particularly copyright law plays within the quilting ecosystem.  Interview them. Invite them into the project. (Two years in, we have 3200 Quilting Army members, and we generally gather on Facebook and in person).

  • Create a Podcast. That talks about quilting, community, and copyright. (We've had over 300 guests now, including famous people like Alex Anderson, Mary Fons and Tula pink, regular quilters, pattern designers, industry, and non-quilters that are fun too.  And we're generally in the top 10 quilt podcasts, and sometimes even top 5).  

  • Write articles, books, and social media posts about Quilting and Copyright -- for quilters, for academics, and for the industry.  (We have books available at

  • Create a Facebook Group, Just Wanna Quilt, to explore topics and a forum that allows our growing community to share and discuss anything quilt-based. (We're 2500 strong, and we have sub-groups like the Stealth Sewing Squad, which are our quieter quilters that like a small group and sew things -- I send things to them; the Just Wanna Quilt-Gypsy Wife Sew Along (run by Gigi Baay and now has almost 500 people and growing everyday, our our newest Just Wanna Quilt-Inventory Quilt Sew Along, where we are using our stash to try new techniques and use up the things we bought.)

The Podcast

Quilting Stories First, Copyright Second

  • Interview all kinds of people who "just wanna quilt" or have quilting stories to tell -- across the country, in every area of the quilting world, to better understand the quilting ecosystem. (We did that and still do - over 300 and counting).  

  • Fieldtrips related to quilting, of course  (We've been to Houston Festival (and had a booth in 2018), Houston Market three times (with a booth in 2019), Paducah, QuiltCon (teaching), and local shows.  We want to start traveling to guilds and other shows to teach).

  • Clues gathered directly or indirectly about the role of law, and in particular, copyright (but also trademarks, patents, trade secrets and right of publicity).  (We're doing this.  The Just Wanna Create book address this, but so do the Just Wanna Series, including Patents, Trademarks, Branding, and Contracts.)

  • Something fun to listen to while we're all sewing and quilting!  (I hope y'all like it.  We now have 21,000 subscribers! We plan to have special series in 2020, on quilt history, long arming, and entrepreneurship.)

The Quilting Army

Community, New Friends, Common Interests, Conversations, Adventure

  • Create community through conversations, activities, and a Facebook group where anyone can post and comment.  The more, the better. (My favorite part)

  • Research:  look into topics, combining the knowledge of our quilting army with our law students' legal research skills. (That's happened now for five semesters in both law and communication classes.  Awesome.  They've been guests on the podcast, and more to come).

  • Experience everything. (Totally)

  • If there is interest, monthly online meetings, and projects! (We haven't done something monthly.  We could.)

  • And eventually, a clubhouse.  (We're working on it.  We now have three spaces to play.  We'll see what happens next).​

What We've Done So far

  • Been Featured in QuiltFolk Magazine, Louisiana Issue, 2018

  • Recorded over 400 episodes of Just Wanna Quilt, with over 25,000 subscribers

  • Had booths at both Houston's International Quilt Festival and Quilt Market

  • Elizabeth, Ricardo, Ron and Allison have taught at Quilt Market, Threads of Success and QuiltCon, among other places including guilds.

  • We've run an Gypsy Wife sew along and an Inventory Quilt Project (See our Facebook pages)

  • We had 80 sign up for Copyright Camp in July 2020! 

  • We have our first cohort of Quilting Army Krewe Copyright Experts in training right now.

  • We've published Just Wanna TrademarkJust Wanna Patent, Just Wanna Create: Copyright and Fair Use StrategiesA Little Bit of Copyright for Quilters, Social Media for the Workplace, IP: Doctrine and Practice, and are working on more titles soon.

  • Our book Just Wanna Trademark has helped countless quilting and crafts entrepreneurs register their own trademarks at the USPTO!  (We are so proud!). We have personally trademarked (or are in the process) for Just Wanna Quilt, Quilting Army Krewe, Just Wanna (for our book series), and our logo.

  • Our sponsors for the research side of our project have included Jaftex, AccuQuilt, Warm Company, Stencil Company, Havel's, Turtle Hand Batik, Quiltsmart, June Tailor, and many more.

  • Elizabeth was a brand ambassador for Michael Miller (that was fun!)

  • The Facebook group -- which supports the research by engaging in conversations about life, quilting,a nd copyright, now has over 3800 members (small but some standards, but by ours, we so love the Quilting Army and the thoughtful conversation).

  • We have visited New England Quilt Msueum, National Quilt Museum, Museum of Design Atlatna, the Art Institute of Chicago, warehouses of Jaftex, offices of Quilts, Inc., New Orleans Museum of Art, and many more.

  • Elizabeth has written a series of six articles for Quiltmaker Magazine on quilting and copyright, featureing her own quilts and those of the Quilting Army.

  • We are loving TikTok!

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