Teresa Duryea Wong is a lifelong writer and communicator. She began her career as a journalist, and spent several years as the publisher of a fine art magazine. For two decades, she worked in corporate public affairs and eventually became Vice President of Communications for a large corporation.
 She is the author of two books on Japanese quilts and textiles: Japanese Contemporary Quilts and Quilters: The Story of an American Import (2015), and Cotton and Indigo from Japan (2017). She travels to Japan often to research and write, and travels the U.S. to lecture.
 In 2014, Teresa earned a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Rice University, where she authored her final capstone (thesis) on the history of Japanese quilts. In recognition of this academic research, she was named the ‘Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Foundation Scholar’ by the Bybee Foundation and the Texas Quilt Museum.
 Teresa has been a quiltmaker for 20 years and she is also a handbag designer and makes handcrafted leather bags and clothing for her own label, mariejay.
 More info on her website:  teresaduryeawong.com

Nancy O’Bryant Puentes, left, and Karey Patterson Bresenhan, 
right, present the Bybee Scholar Award to Teresa Duryea Wong. 2014.
CONTACT:  teresa at third floor quilts dot com

Here's the rest of the story for anyone who cares to read it.

I made my first quilt in 1997. To be honest, I saw a quilt in a Pottery Barn catalog and thought it would look cute in my daughter's room, so I wanted to make one like it. I didn't really know a thing about quilting. I did know how to sew though. I used to sew a lot as a kid and through my early teen years. My mom taught me on an ancient Singer sewing machine. My grandmother Frances was an amazing creative genius. There is probably not a day that went by when I knew her, that she wasn't sewing something. She was the kind of person who was never idle and I think I get that from her. My dad was the same way, always busy. He passed away in 2005 and I still miss him.

I've been married for 30+ years to a wonderful guy.  He is Chinese-American, I am white. When we got married, I chose to change my last name. There is hardly a day that goes by when I don't get some strange reaction to being a white girl with an Asian last name. Really? You would think people could figure it out by now, but this shows our Western European bias in America. I will share two of the funniest and most maddening stories (in that order). I once got a traffic ticket, and when I showed up at night court, the judge was quite grumpy. He called my name. I walked up to the bench. He said "You are not Teresa Wong." "Yes sir I am." He recovered faster than anybody I know and said "How did you get a name like Teresa?"  Thank you Judge! The other one is not so funny... I was at a reception talking to an Asian woman who was married to a Caucasian. She had changed her surname to his name, and she asks me --- are you ready for this? "How did you get a Chinese last name?" Seriously??? Yes, this happens to me all the time. Oh well, at least people remember me.

My husband and I have two adult children. I've been working since I was 16. I worked at several jobs and eventually landed in the corporate world for 22 years. The last 10 years were high-pressure management roles, with tons of international travel, large staffs to manage and countless CEO's and executives to please. In my 22 years, I worked with 7 Fortune 500 CEOs and had a lot of executive bosses - some of them were wonderful role models, so intelligent, demanding and successful entrepreneurs.... real leaders who you wanted to work hard for and people who taught me a lot. Others, just demanding and not so wonderful.

In the years of working and raising kids, I made some awesome quilts.
Pattern by Kim Mclean. All hand applique! And hand quilted! Teresa Duryea Wong
My first was made with the help of my quilt buddy who taught me how to appliqué the quilt top. Then she actually hand quilted that first one. From there I went on and made one or two large quilts by hand each year. Some of them are quite awesome, some not so much. I eventually made a quilt for my son too. It was this really cool original design based on the Rainbow Fish, and I built this whole underwater world around that fish. My son didn't really want to sleep with that quilt at the time, apparently he didn't like the buttons I put on some of the fish for eyes, but I know one day he will cherish it. I hope anyway, if not... whatever. I made a quilt for the husband too and for my mom. And one for a dear friend.
Detail of the Rainbow Fish quilt I made 15+ years ago for my son.
A really interesting thing happened in 2012 that I think was fate... or simply God looking out for me. I went with my quilt buddy Amy G. to the Houston International Quilt Fest --- as we've done for the past 17 years. Much to my surprise, I walked into the Bernina booth and sat down and bought a machine. Yep, just like that. Of course, I'd been thinking about this. But I never really thought I would do such a thing. My first sewing machine cost about $200. I bought it at Sears. This Bernina cost more than several of my first cars.

Studio in 2018. Custom cutting table, Bernina 820 Quilters Edition, Bernina 450 serger, industrial leather sewing machine, DIY ironing table (18 x 60 inches!), and space for Tom The Dog!
I opted for the Bernina 820 Quilters Edition because I just wanted to focus on quilting, not embroidery.  I'm not really sure what convinced me to plop down this much money - maybe it was the interest-free finance plan. But I think mostly I made the purchase because I had this big fat corporate job. I thought, this is why I am working!

I started my first blog in the summer of 2013. After two months, I knew I could do better so I abandoned my rookie blog and started over with third floor quilts.

I entered my first juried art quilt competition in 2014 and I got in! My art quilt "Wanna Cookie" was accepted into the special exhibition "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" at International Quilt Festival. Another quilt has been accepted into Sacred Threads for 2015.

Teresa Duryea Wong, 2014. "Wanna Cookie?" Hand applique, machine quilted.
FINALIST: Special Exhibition: "It's Raining Cats and Dogs."
In 2013, I also left the corporate world (woohoo!) and started following my passion. I now quilt, sew, research and write full time. I have loved my journey with Japan and I treasure every moment I have spent there and the amazing people I have met, many of whom I now consider my friends.

So, for the 12 people who may have read all the way down to here (bless you!),

And back to my name thing, I've decided to bring back my maiden name and stick it in the middle. My 2 books are published under Teresa Duryea Wong.  Connects me to my dad, to my grandmother... and other parts of my family. Now you know the rest of the story. Thank you for reading!


  1. Don't know if you'll see this comment, but I enjoyed your story a lot. You know, people all have a story, and I want to know their stories. Although meeting you, I would assume you married into that last name, I still understand people asking about it. They want to know your story, they just word the question wrong.
    I love to write as well, and am hoping to launch my connection project quilts this summer, behind schedule of course!
    LeeAnna Paylor Not Afraid of Color!

    1. Thanks for being one of the "12" people who read this! That number has not been audited by the way... its just you and my mom... and maybe 2 other people. haha

  2. Good morning! Just wanted to let you know you can update that number to "13"!!! I love to read about people and their lives and how/why they make choices, etc. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to reading and seeing more!

    1. Karen: I just saw this comment. I can't believe you read the whole thing - I am honored!! Thanks for taking time to read and comment. You're very kind.

  3. Make that number '14' Teresa. Love the story, and I love quilts too. Although my great grandmothers down to my mother have made quilts, I stopped sewing with my wedding dress. I'm also doing a thesis, which will be a book (as my master's will be in books and digital media!), so yet another thing we have in common... Hope to catch up with you someday when I get back from The Hague.

    1. Hi Suzanne. Wow - 14 readers is awesome and totally unexpected! Thanks so much for your kind words. I also love hearing what other people are doing too... good luck with your thesis!

  4. Hi, Teresa! I loved reading your blog! It makes me happy to see all of your beautiful creations. Can't wait for your book to be published. I'm bringing a birthday cake up to Frances's shop this afternoon. If you get a chance, come on over. I'd love to see you again.

  5. Love your story, Teresa! I am also a fan of Kim McLean's designs and have several of her quilts in the works...although I'm not doing them by hand. (^_^) Looking forward to meeting you at Quilt Market in a couple of weeks.

  6. Morning, saw your article on WWCB this month and wanted to stop by to learn more about you. Glad you decided to squeeze your family name in...great story and lovely work!
    Crystal @ Urban Patina

  7. Also love to hear people's stories. There have to be many more others than just 12. Very envious of those red shelves. You have given me the push to do some organizing you are right less shopping more creating. Debbie dbstef@shaw.ca

  8. I love this!!! Duryea is not so easy to read or say as Wong ;) It sounds like you have had some great people and great opportunities along your quilty life path!

  9. So will I be number 13? LOL I loved your story, I went back to my Daddy's name when I divorced because I wanted that connection and I hated everyone always having trouble with my married name. Plus, I had no children so I had no reason to want to keep it. I love the Rainbow Fish story book I always read it in my classroom every year. I work at Quilts, Inc every year at Festival and I remember your "Wanna Cookie" quilt. Look forward to meeting you soon.

  10. Well, what an interesting story! A friend just shared a link to your website and I really enjoyed getting to know you. Bless you and your family for surviving Harry, almost unscathed. I'm from Florida, and still evacuated from Irma. I took the opportunity to visit the first Fall Pudacah Quilt Show with friends who evacuated with me. My husband stayed behind and is keeping in touch of home situation. I've met many wonderful people here in the quilting community. What a wonderful network there is in the quilting world and the internet constantly enlarges my circle. Quilt on!

  11. Hi Teresa - I so enjoyed your two lectures at QuiltCon 2018 (just last weekend) that I sought out your blog. Your two books arrived this week, and I'm enjoying both reading them and looking at them on my coffee table! I lived in Japan with my family in the 1960's, and we came back with yukata and kimono and lovely fabric memories. Your lectures and books have reignited those memories. Thanks so much - a pleasure to hear you at QuiltCon 2018, and I hope you'll lecture at QuiltCon 2020 in Austin.

    1. Thanks Ann. You have made my day!!! So wonderful to hear from you, and thank you for attending my QuiltCon lectures. What a great conference - I was thrilled to be a part of it. I can't wait for QuiltCon to come back to Austin!