Skip to content

STUDIO VISIT: AUSTIN’S FOLK FIBERS

August 6, 2013

The Americana movement has been establishing itself for sometime now and with the support of strong brands like Levi’s and Pendleton, this growing trend of American made goods is spreading like wildfire.  This movement isn’t just thought about in regard to iconic denim and apparel, but an over-arching theme of  “getting back to our roots.” Heritage is a word that we hear alot these days in describing collections or brand names, but for those that are truly accessing their roots, it means so much more.

The movement..

The movement..

The idea of “getting back to our roots” is something that I really relate to these days and find myself getting closer and closer to with each of the changes I make in my path.  Being in Austin part-time I have been meeting many people that live the life described in the graphic above and I find all of it extremely inspiring and romantic.  This is what real life is about folks.

Maura Ambrose and her husband Chapman are living this life out at a ranch in Bastrop, Texas just 25 miles outside of Austin.  I found the above graphic on the Folk Fibers instagram feed when I first discovered Maura’s fantastic quilts and everything about it resonated with me.  After spending some time browsing through her inspiring photos, I knew I needed to get to know her in person and find out about her passion for her art:  QUILTING.

Maura outside her farm

Maura outside her farm on one of her handmade quilts

Maura and her husband Chapman started Folk Fibers about two and a half years ago after they moved to Austin from Philadelphia.  Maura started quilting 8 years ago while studying fibers during her college years in Savannah, Georgia.  She has always had a passion for quilting and after a few years working for other creative companies, her husband encouraged her to follow her dream and start creating quilts full-time.

A quilt hangs on the wall in her den

One of her masterpieces hangs on the wall

sdfd

On display in her bedroom

A close up

A close up

Each of Folk Fibers quilts are hand-dyed and hand-made taking around 4 weeks to complete each work of art.  Maura creates the top and the pattern to each quilt and pins everything together before she passes off to the local artisans that help her stitch them together.

A piece of the pattern to a quilt

A piece of the pattern to a quilt

Scraps are used to create some of the quilts

Scraps are used to create some of the quilts

Representin'

Representin’

Stitching techniques on display

Stitching techniques on display

More stitching techniques

More stitching techniques

Examples of stitches she teaches to the local women that help her

Examples of stitches she teaches to the local women that help her

Using raw silk, cotton muslin and linen (as well as vintage scraps she finds), she hand dyes them with natural dyes that she wild harvests such as osage orange and pomegranates.  Maura’s love of textiles and hand dying is shown in each of the beautiful Americana inspired palettes that she creates.

Her backyard dying station

Her backyard dying station

Showing me the process

Showing me the process

This number is for me :)

This number is for me 🙂

Maura and Chapman just moved into their new home this month yet already have the essence of their style all around their home studio.

Studio moments

Studio moments

Inspiration books

Inspiration books

One of her favorite inspiration books

One of her favorite inspiration books

In the studio

In the studio

Chapman handles the other side of the business sitting outside with a view of the surrounding pastures

Chapman handles the other side of the business sitting outside with a view of the surrounding pastures

Folk Fiber’s dream turned into reality when a member of Levi’s creative team(Jay Carroll of One Trip Pass), answered a tweet that Maura sent out for him to look at her quilts.  In just a short time, the Levi’s team commissioned Folk Fibers to make dozens of quilts to sell at their “neighborhood stores”  as a part of their MADE HERE collection featuring handmade American goods. All include recycled Levi’s jeans or Dockers pants; as well as other new, vintage and hand-dyed natural fabrics.

Folk Fibers for Levi's

Folk Fibers for Levi’s

Her collaboration with Levi’s didn’t stop there, they soon commissioned her to create a quilting pattern in the back of a collection of vintage denim shirts that sold exclusively on their site in high demand.  I originally found Folk Fibers when I spotted one of these numbers on Instagram and became obsessed. Those of you that know me personally should know that Levi’s is one of my all time favorite brands in the world and patchworking is an art that I have a serious passion for.  I mean, I can’t believe I don’t own one of these!!

Folk Fibers for Levi's

Folk Fibers for Levi’s

Folk Fibers and Levi’s will continue their collaboration this fall with their Station to Station Railroad tour that launches this September.  Organized by artist Doug Aitken, Station to Station will connect leading figures and underground creators from the worlds of art, music, food, literature, and film for a series of cultural interventions and site-specific happenings. The train, designed as a moving, kinetic light sculpture, will broadcast unique content and experiences to a global audience from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  Folk Fibers will be on this tour and you will be able to meet her yourself at the 9 stops they make across the country.

The exposure that Folk Fibers has gotten from Levi’s and social media (she has almost 50,000 followers on Instagram) has helped launched the brand and she currently has a year long waiting list to own one of these beauties that range in price between $600 and $4000 for a King size quilt.  Each quilt is packaged in a handmade cedar box by local artist Kelly DeWitt to express the heirloom quality of each of her one of a kind designs.

Cedar box by Kelly DeWitt

Cedar box by Kelly DeWitt

You can see more of her designs on the website, and you most definitely should follow their life on Instagram to witness firsthand how she and Chapman are living an inspired life of quality and simplicity.  Their images are beyond beautiful and saying they are inspiring doesn’t even begin to express it.

Maura and Chapman Ambrose of Folk Fibers

Maura and Chapman Ambrose of Folk Fibers

Advertisements
2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2013 10:24 am

    I LOVE quilts. I have one that my grandmother made me, it’s the only thing I don’t let my dog near. So much goes into these beautiful quilts.

    Great write-up and so happy to know about Folk Fibers.

    Those patchwork shirts need to make their way into my closet.

  2. August 6, 2013 7:24 pm

    Reblogged this on Calico Connections.

Leave a Reply to Katie Johnson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: