Cloth As Memoir

I’m organizing my living environment into a creative hands working studio. My Momma had a lot of nice things that she collected in my childhood home. Stories and her creative hands are attached to many of these items. But, the bottom line is that I’ve got too much stuff. It’s overwhelming! Momma saved everything. I’ve inherited the fabric stash from five women from four generations. Recently, I was gifted with fabric from West Africa and India that came to me through at least three different women’s hands. As I’m preparing to teach quilting, the stories attached to all this cloth make me curious about the lives of all these women.Continue reading “Cloth As Memoir”

The Creative Process

While unpacking boxes, as I settle into my childhood home, I came across my research from teaching Contemporary Art & Design at Chowan University a few years ago. The timing was perfect for me to be my own learner. “Teaching is for learners,” echoing in my ears in my Momma’s voice. The creative process of learning is revoluntary. My life is a witness to the insights gained from handmade craftsmanship. The process of making something out of nothing is healing especially when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances. Life is about taking the bitter with the sweet and learning how to walk out our fears. I’m living in Indigo Blues, seeking contentment with the circumstances of my life. I forgive my self and others. My goal is to stay focused on living in the moment and to learn to trust and obey God’s plan for my life.

Readings and unit lessons from teaching Contemporary Art & Design:

Show Your Work! By Austin Kleon

  1. You don’t have to be a genius.
  2. Think process, not product.
  3. Share something small every day.
  4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities.
  5. Tell good stories.
  6. Teach what you know.
  7. Don’t turn into human spam.
  8. Learn too take a punch.
  9. Sell out.
  10. Stick around.

My Indigo Blues Journey

I’m a Teaching Artist from a family of teachers and women who loved sewing, quilting, dyeing fabric, weaving rugs, embroidery and crochet.  I grew up in a multi-generational home where handmade was a way of life.  I earned a BFA at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Studio Art with concentrations in Ceramic Sculpture and Painting.  I have additional educational experiences at East Carolina University in Ceramics, Painting, Art Education and Textiles and graduate work at Western Carolina University and Penland School of Crafts.  My teaching experience includes K-12, community college and university.Continue reading “My Indigo Blues Journey”

Awa Indigo Art Project Ai-no-Keshiki

Today is Day 03 of my participation living with a square of indigo in a fading box with connections to Japan. The cloth was dyed with indigo from Tokushima and the art project is led and developed by Rowland Ricketts. Four hundred and fifty people are participating all around the world. I feel abundantly blessed to represent Wilson County and Indigo Fibershed. I will live with the indigo in the fading box until early December, when I will mail it back to Tokushima, Japan for a large-scale art installation at Bunka-no-Mori. When the art show ends, my box will be returned to me.Continue reading “Awa Indigo Art Project Ai-no-Keshiki”

Indigo Online Purchase Options

I use a lot of indigo! I grow some but not enough to sustain my dyeing explorations, plus processing my own takes more time.  I use natural indigo with multiple dips for silk scarves and clothing.  However, when I’m dyeing yardage for quilts I use pre-reduced indigo in bundles of three to five yards.  I only use cellulose fibers for quilts.  Pre-reduced indigo from all three sources seem the same.  I used Indigo Kits twice and wasn’t impressed and over dyed my results.  The finest ground natural indigo powder that I’ve used is sold at Maiwa.  I see color differences between natural and synthetic indigo.  However, may people don’t, they just see blue!  Home grown natural indigo keeps with the traditions passed down and practiced by women in my family, and I will always honor and respect the process.

Natural Indigo

Synthetic Indigo

Maiwa | Natural Dyes
#6-1666 Johnston St.
Vancouver BC Canada V6H 3S2
(604) 669-3939
Change Shopping Cart to USD at Checkout 
Dharma Trading Co. 
1604 4th Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 456-1211 


Wild Colours Natural Dyes 
Studio 319, Scott House, Gibb St.
The Custard Factory
Birmingham B9 4DT, UK
Change Shopping Cart to USD at Checkout 
PRO Chemical & Dye 
126 Shove St.
Fall River, MA 02724
Orders Only 1-800-228-939 
The Woolery | 859 East Main St. Suite 1A
Frankfort KY 40601
800-441-9665 |  
Rupert, Gibbon & Spider, Inc.

P.O. Box 425
Healdsburg, CA 95448
800-442-0455 (US & Canada) 


All About Indigo

Indigo plants grow abundantly in the fertile black sandy soil on the ancestral homeland of the Tuscarora Confederacy in coastal and Eastern North Carolina.  The plant grows as a shrub with spreading branches between three and six feet tall.  The leaves are slightly hairy and are separated into leaves opposite each other.  The indigo dye comes from the leaves.  The plants can also be grown as a cover for other crops and makes an excellent fertilizer.  The plants produce pea-like flowers and pod fruit in small clusters.Continue reading “All About Indigo”

Essential Edge Live 2016

Indigo Fibershed Logo
Hand-dyed fabric created in Wilson, NC | USA

This is day number four after attending the Essential Edge Live Retreat, whose motto is “BE BOLD OR ITALIC never regular | Dream It. Plan It. Live It.”  My goals for attending this retreat were two-fold: 1) to gain clarity and insights into ways to increase sales; and 2) to network with other creatives to design new opportunities to promote art and creativity.  Both my goals were achieved in this two day retreat.  I’ve attended other small business workshops but being with other creative people made it more personal.

So, how do I intend to use the knowledge I gained?  First and foremost by planning.  We started the process of planning next year by breaking it down to quarters, months, weeks and days.  Simple concept but this will be my first year utilizing such a plan.  I realize the value immediately.  The flip slide of planning is accountability.  Essential Edge has partnered me with other creatives who are holding me accountable to what I say I’m going to do.  This is important for me.  I desperately need to be apart of a community of artists who value truth and honesty with a commitment to learning new skills, growing past yesterday and willing to explore the “What If?” possibilities of sharing with others.

My Momma
My Sweet Momma ~ Doris Jones

To keep myself on task, I’ve promised myself to keep a daily freewriting journal.  I’m using a bound journal and writing by hand.  To help me become consistent with blogging, my goal is to share a minimum of two blog entries each week.  I’ll share my successes, obstacles and failures.  I feel my late mother’s presence in my life and I hear her voice saying, “Don’t promise what I can’t deliver!”  Momma was a teacher and demonstrated her strong belief that we should share everything that we know.  She told me hundreds of time, “share with the world and the world will share with you.”  I know my Momma’s truth, that in oder to receive I have to give.  I think this is especially true for artists.  Being selfish, and wanting the spotlight to always shine on you cuts off your creative energy, hardens your heart and makes you see the world through antagonistic eyes.  That’s not the road I choose to travel.  So, tune in each week as I journal my journey to make Indigo Fibershed financially self-sustaining, while I have fun dyeing cloth and making quilts.

Dreaming Big

Indigo Fibershed Bannner
Putting Lessons From Essential Edge Live 2016 Into Practice

Last Thursday and Friday, I attended an intensive small business retreat for creatives called Essential Edge Live in Raleigh.  This blog now becomes my journal describing my process to dream big, plan effectively and become a successful small business artist.

Walking Away

Penland Sky
My last pic from porch of Northlight

Today begins a new journey in my creative hands adventures, because today I walked away from being an Auction Volunteer at Penland School of Crafts.  I love Penland with all my heart.  I am who I am as an artist because of my experiences and associations with Penland.  But as of today, I’m no longer an Auction Volunteer.  The symbolism of my last photo taken on the porch of Northlight says more than words.  Northlight in a building on the campus of Penland that will be disassembled in a few months.  The first time I went to Penland in 1990 Northlight was under construction.  So this photo is my last and represents so many memories I have shared on Penland Mountain.  I will continue to be connected to Penland but not as an Auction Volunteer.  Circumstances have caused me to walk away.

Standing Rock
The largest Native American Protest in American History

However, the energy from Standing Rock is changing me.  Along with two transformative art experiences in Upper Textiles during the 5th and 7th Summer Session at Penland, I’m changing.  I’m empowered to return to my ancestral NC Algonquin heritage and convicted to return to the Pau Wau Trail.  I’m focused and I’m determined to honor a promise made to my dying mother and to Mat Randolph to tell our Algonquin stories of survival through dyeing cloth and stitching.  It’s amazing how circumstances can change the course of our lives.  I’m humbled and blessed by the manifestation of God’s Divine Mercy in my life.  ‘Water Is Life’: Paddling through North Dakota’s Standing Rock Protest