Episode #24: Stories in Cloth with Quilter Maura Grace Ambrose

 “Quilting is such a social process. It’s such a self expression, in that the quilts are beautiful designs and they can speak for themselves. There’s such a wonderful story behind them, whether it’s the maker, or what they were doing, or what was going on at the times, or how the fabrics came to be, or whether it’s one piece of fabric that was salvaged from a great grandmother’s dress or something. There are just endless stories within quilts.”

— Maura Grace Ambrose

When my baby girl was born in June, we received many beautiful gifts, but three of my favorites are crib quilts. Not only do they provide warmth, protection against the floor, padding in the crib, and art when draped over the crib railing or the back of a chair, but it’s the thought and love that went into each one, the hours of construction, and the women behind them that truly touches me. Each has their own story and I look forward to passing these tales to baby girl when she’s old enough to understand.

My newest Thread Cult  guest speaks to this kind of care. Maura Grace Ambrose is an Austin-based artist and founder of Folk Fibers. She makes incredibly beautiful quilts, constructed of hand-dyed fabrics that she dyes using dyestuffs she forages for and grows. She then meticulously hand quilts her blankets, each of which are also made of natural fibers.

Recently Maura and her husband and business partner, Chapman Ambrose (pictured at top), moved to 10 acres outside Austin so that Maura would have more space to run workshops and have a bigger dye garden. I know. Dreamy!

I found Maura’s work through the Martha Stewart American Made awards, for which she was honored in 2013. Like my most recent guest, Denyse Schmidt, Maura brings her own unique style to her quilts, while also borrowing from tradition. And like many great craftspeople and artists, Maura’s career path has been circuitous, full of bends in the road and interesting pitstops. I always like to hear about how people make what they love into what they do.

If you’ve been waiting for new episodes of Thread Cult, thanks for your patience! The past few months have been hectic, but I have some exciting episodes lined up for the following weeks, including an interview with Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S and a follow-up interview with couture wonder woman Susan Khalje. So stay tuned!

Happy listening!

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Outro Music: “Smoothest Runes” by Thick Business

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