Folk Fibers Guidebooks is the realization of my goal: to share the craft and folklore that prevails around quilting and natural dyes as a series of video workshops. The first series of videos on quilting are available online through my website. The initial seedling idea was to publish a physical book, and it quickly evolved into a video project that allowed me to connect with my community and collaborate with a few talented and generous friends.
Making my first video workshop became a story about achieving a major goal that took years to accomplish and required a lot of help. The more time I spent dreaming, the bigger my ideas got — it felt too daunting of a task to try and make all of my dreams-come-true. I tried to break it down and simplify, but it still felt hard. I felt stuck, so I started asking for help. When I began collaborating with friends that inspire me is when I felt the wind in my sail. I got to a point that it would be harder to let the dream go than to chase it down, bring it to life, and watch it grow. So that’s what we did; brought it to life!
I worked closely with my husband Chapman to plan the outline and write the content for the first Guidebooks on “Making A Scrap Quilt”. Chap kept me on track with my goals, helped me adjust priorities when new ideas came in, and truly was my greatest supporter. I could not have done it without him.
What took years to plan and schedule, took only two days to film, followed by months of editing and building the website that would host the video workshop. Our insanely talented friend, photographer, and cinematographer Josh Goleman filmed the video. Josh flew in with his wife and baby. We rented the gear in Austin, and for a few days, we turned our living-room into a film set. I've been collaborating with Josh for over a decade now. We met in college and started working together during our senior year, when Josh helped me document my portfolio. We have a strong and trusting creative relationship. I knew I was in good hands working with him.
My dear friend, and talented Austin-based bluegrass musician, Jenn Miori, joined me on camera as my co-host. Jenn's presence and practical questions about the process of making a quilt are helpful and important to the viewer. Having Jenn by my side to chat with helped me find my pace teaching on camera. She was the touch of magic I needed to have fun and enjoy the process!
Through the journey of making the first video series, the process of collaborating with my husband became the hardest part. We slipped into the mistake of mixing our personal relationship with business. It got messy. On days where I was lacking confidence, I made Chap out to be the bad guy in thinking that he is making me do this hard thing that I wasn’t any good at. I was giving up on myself, when he wasn’t. The tension was building and our personal relationship was strained. Working together brought deep introspection that has been both painful and enlightening. We received therapy. I learned that self-care meant expressing ourselves, not sacrificing ourselves! I discovered firsthand that creativity is a spiritual expression and not an ego. To get us through to the finish line, we developed a mantra that was sometimes spoken, often silent: “we seek freedom to be creative. We chase after what inspires us. We encourage each other to be artistically confident and productive”. This was a wonderful thing to learn about ourselves individually and together. We respect one another and have learned a great deal about how to best communicate with each other and to reach our goals. Thank you, Chapman.
Teaching workshops for over 15 years has shown me that anyone who has an interest is capable of learning. I recognize that people take workshops because they value a personal connection and an opportunity to ask questions. They want to connect with themselves and learn how to make their own ideas come alive. We all long to be a part of something bigger. We choose to make things that are interesting, unique, human and real. I teach workshops in the way that I work - by taking fear out of the creative process. There is no right or wrong way to make a quilt. There's no strict set of rules to follow. You can make a quilt all on your own, or with a community of people young and old, male and female, it's still a quilt.
I created Folk Fibers Guidebooks for those who are unable to join me for a workshop. It’s also for folks that do attend in-person workshops and seek a reference point to follow along step-by-step when they’re back at home. Video workshops are ideal for people that need to breakdown the process by starting and stopping at their own pace. Maybe you’ve made made a quilt before but it’s been so long you need a refresher, this workshop is for you! Those of you who are seasoned quilters looking to learn new techniques like hand-quilting or improvisational patchwork, this workshop is for you too! Whoever you are wherever you live, if making a quilt is in your heart, this workshop is for you!