“I grew up in a household that was filled with lovingly hand-crafted, knitted, and stitched items. My mother grew up in Finland, where the needle arts were greatly revered, along with the iconic fabrics of Marimekko and other textile companies. When I wore a hole in my favorite pants, my mother would patch them and add a touch of embroidery.”
When my sons were little, I focused on paper collage as a creative outlet. In a happy twist, my youngest son came home with an embroidered piece that he’d made in high school art class, and subsequently started embellishing a shirt and jeans. My interest in fabrics was reignited, and not long after that I started stitching.
When a friend gave me a vast collection of upholstery samples, there simply was no looking back. I became obsessed with finding and using ‘found fabric’, taking inspiration from the layering of colors and patterns. Look closely at my pieces and you may see snippets from an old dish cloth, a loved Boden skirt, or the now-too-tight Old Navy sundress.
Several years ago I was inspired to stop buying new clothes in response to the waste and environmental impact of the fashion industry. I took to shopping at thrift stores, mending pants (thanks Mom!) and reading up on boro stitching, which has its roots in Japan. Reuse of even the smallest scraps of fabric and visible mending are characteristics of boro, and can be found in my fabric collages and other pieces. I use a simple running stitch to add texture and color, layering swatches of fabric as I once did with my paper collages.
In the last few years I’ve enjoyed teaching classes and workshops where I can share the slow and meditative process that I use. We start small — with some basic stitches, building upon them and exploring the use of color and texture from various textiles. I love nothing more than the inspiration that comes from these events.