Needlework and textile arts run deep in my family. Cross-stitched sage advice, hand tatted doilies, embroidered linens, appliqued tree skirts, needlepointed stockings, and beautiful hand stitched quilts all make their appearances in my home throughout the year. I suppose seeing all of this when I was very young had an influence on me...I was curious how these objects were made. I looked at the stitches and the backs of pieces, wondering what tools were used or how long each piece took to make. I liked to imagine my great grandmother working on a quilt, sitting at her kitchen table with a wood fire stove heating up the room as she stitched. Looking at these textiles opened my eyes to life in a different time, where things were made slowly and with great intention. I could see the merit and value of making things by hand and I decided I wanted to make things like the women of my family did as well.
Around the same time (elementary school) I fell in love with the Little House on the Prairie book series and became fascinated with the textile arts and crafts of the 1800s. I fondly remember pretending I was Laura, sitting atop a covered wagon, working on a cross stitch sampler. I made dolls and bonnets and toured my neighborhood prairie land in my red wagon. I had dreams of going to town to buy yards of beautiful calico print fabric and colorful ribbons for my hair. Most of all, I admired the sacred way in which textiles were approached. Materials were expensive, the process was timely, but the final product was treasured.
For my fall collection, I've jumped back in time to my prairie dweller days and will be showing patchwork quilted garments, naturally dyed fabrics, and beautiful hand knitted sweaters at the fashionSPARK show in downtown Raleigh on September 19th. Oh, and calico prints and ribbons will definitely make their appearance...I'm working on getting that red wagon out of the garage too :)