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Storied Stitching Podcasts & Video

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Episode 15: A conversation with Johana Moscoso

Watch our video above OR listen to the podcast!


…Being able to dream big and continue doing work… I mean I feel like the most important thing it’s like you cannot stop making art…don’t give up don’t give up don’t give up…it’s the easiest thing to do, right, to give up, but I mean I don’t know it’s weird because sometimes you need to learn when to let it go as well. But I feel like when you are in the studio many answers come, many answers that you are looking for are in your studio…

Johana MoscosoTouch, movement, color, and a deep yearning for connection and commemoration are hallmarks of Johana Moscoso’s art.

The trauma of immigration as well as what it means to be a woman in Latina and US culture, mark her objects and performances.

In the Storied Stitching’s latest podcast, Johana Moscoso and I discuss her growing up as a girl surrounded by her aunt’s sewing machines, a loving family who “loves to party and dance,” and how it all informs her broad body of work – one that integrates textiles, embroidery, dance, and performance.

Learn how she began making (sewing Barbie clothes!)…

and found a home in the art room, a school space where her ADD was an advantage rather than a hindrance.

Recognizing her daughter’s learning challenges, Moscoso’s mother wholeheartedly supported her artistic talent, which was nurtured in Bogotá, Colombia. For Moscoso, family, migration, and a sense of dis/connection guide her work.


Mosco credits her education at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, in Bogotá, Colombia, as pivotal toward developing her transdisciplinary art-making.


Equally important to her evolution are her mom and her extended family of “storytellers.”

In this episode, find out:

  • her cure for artist block
  • her daily studio routine  (which includes white tablecloths…on her floors)
  • caring for seven cats!
  • the importance of having friends who understand contemporary art

Join Johana Moscoso and me as we talk about her life, family – and her latest work, the Ingrid Lopez project.

Find Moscoso at
Instagram: @johanamoscoso

Johana Moscoso Bio:

Johana Moscoso (born 1981, Bogotá) is a Colombian – American artist currently living and working in Memphis, Tennessee. Moscoso’s artwork explores co-narratives of South American and North American cultures from a subjective point of view. Gender roles, identity, and migration are explored through movement and labor. Radical expressions inform materiality that manifests in a variety of mediums in large-scale dynamic installations.

In 2016, she received the Individual Artist Program Grant, from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and the Illinois Arts Council to present the project “Round and Round” on two occasions with different art organizations.

In 2017 Moscoso was awarded the Arts/Industry Artist in Residency at Kohler, where she started the “Machera Floors”. In 2019, she was awarded the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant from New York, NY which enabled her to finish and cohesively display the “Machera Floors” at the Clough-Hanson Gallery at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. In addition, in 2019, she received a grant from The Puffin Foundation, LTD to continue the development of the ongoing Ingrid López Project.

ArtsMemphis awarded her an ArtsAccelerator Grant in 2020. It was a special honor to receive this support after relocating to Memphis, TN. Receiving the Creative Capital Award enabled her practice to grow in unprecedented ways, including the completion of the Ingrid López Project.

Catch her at

#freeformembroidery #freeformquilting  #embroideryart #quiltart
#storiedstitching #storiedstitchingpodcast  #storiedstitchingvideo #womenartists #stitchingpractices #contemporarytextileartists #creativepractice

Episode 14: A conversation with Heidi Parkes

Watch our video above OR listen to the podcast!


I was studying yoga and my teacher Rolf Gates, he was just so passionate about this phrase that “we want our students to feel successful above everything else“…For every one criticism you need nine compliments to balance something out..I practiced this in my high school art classroom and the workshops I currently teach…I want my students to feel they’ve succeeded in the art process

Heidi Parkes wanted to be a housewife when she grew up.

According to her fifth-grade teacher, “housewife” wasn’t a “profession.”

Art teacher, Parkes’s second choice, was a passion she pursued decades later at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After an enriching nine years of teaching at a Chicagoland High School, Parkes left. She embarked on her successful solo career as an artist and teacher, specializing in hand quilting and yoga.

We discuss her challenges while learning to read…

and her mom’s strategy to help her succeed. We explore Parkes’s special public school art program where she sought refuge in making things, where she could express herself and feel a success that literacy denied her.

In many ways, Parkes is the housewife she always wanted to be – she calls her lifestyle “thrifty housewife,” one that embraces sustainable living.

Her simplicity is far from boring!

Parkes’s life is enriched by her family, her students, and of course, her quilt making.

Her work and life boundaries are constantly blurred as she quilts watching her favorite television shows or spending time with her aunt and nephew.

Parkes credits her education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as pivotal toward developing her art and abilities to deal with the art world. Equally important to her evolution are her mom and her yoga teacher, Rolf Gates, models who guide her studio, social media, and teaching practices.



In this episode, find out:

  • how Parkes became addicted to quilting,
  • what she taught her high school art students (inflatable, anyone?)
  • her latest project (her third quilt pattern)

You won’t want to miss Heidi Parkes, the wholehearted housewife who lives in both the art and craft worlds!

Find Parkes at
Instagram: @heidi.parkes

Heidi Parkes Bio:

Before Heidi Parkes was born in Chicago, IL in 1982, her grandmother organized a collaborative family quilt to commemorate her birth. This set the tone for a life centered on the handmade- raised in a home where sewing, mending, cooking, canning, woodworking, photography, ceramics, painting, and plasterwork were the norm.



Now based in Milwaukee, her quilting and mending celebrate the hand, and her works tug at memories and shared experience. Often using specific textiles, like an heirloom tablecloth, bed sheet, or cloth teabag, Heidi adds subtle meaning and material memory from the start. Ever curious, she works with a variety of quilting techniques including visible hand piecing and knots, improvisation, patchwork, and applique.

Heidi pursues her passion for teaching by lecturing and leading workshops across the country and shares her creative process with thousands on Instagram.

Heidi has exhibited in art and textile museums across the country and is a current resident artist at Milwaukee’s Lake Park through the ARTservancy with Gallery 224.


Additionally, Heidi lives a handmade lifestyle, sewing her own clothes, fermenting, eating from pottery she made a decade ago, and practicing hand yoga, which she shares with other creatives on her YouTube channel.

Catch her at




#10 Cabbage patch kids & one patch blocks?

Hello there! Get cozy…

Stitchers – whether you’re sitting in your comfy chair with your coffee, in your car,

or looking for ENGAGING content teaching in your home or in a school—

We’ve got your stitched stories covered!

Get ready for an in-depth look at the infinite definitions of patch and the challenge of identifying patch quilt designs! 

Vintage Cabbage Patch Doll:

But before we dive deeper, let’s get inspired!




Ready for inspo?

This episode’s quote is from Oakland – based chef, Preeti Mistry.


In answer to the question,

Which of your traits are you most proud of?

Mistry answered 

“I am myself. I refuse to fit into what people want me to be or expect me to be. I stand up for what I believe in and will fight for it..”  

And I think a lot of us would agree that trying to be oneself is very difficult, especially when you’re a woman!

We are socialized by both family and mass media to be certain things and it doesn’t matter how many opportunities we may or may have professionally or personally!

We still seem stuck in the same playbook, unable to wrench our way out of stereotypes –  married/single; divorced/single mom; stay at home/working mom….

it goes on and on….and there’s a tinge of disrepute clouding all of these identities, no matter how much one strives to attain their version of success….

Let’s strive to be like Mistry, and embrace OUR authentic selves!

Quote from  In the company of women: inspiration and advice from over 100 makers, artists, and entrepreneurs, by Grace Bonney. >>Get it >>>here


Blue background with stars

What quotation or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?

which of your traits are you most proud of?

Share on Instagram, Facebook page, or in our private FB group, Storied Sewing Circle ( >>join here!)




Here’s my “patch” story—What’s yours?

I recall my eighth grade advanced math teacher, Mr. Michelevitch, strolling in with his various corduroy and plaid blazers – inevitably with the patched elbow!! 

We could always depend on some male character on a 70s television show wearing the same thing – 

a kind of goofy image of the intelligent older white man wearing a grimy corduroy blazer with contrasting patches on his elbows! But “patch” has SO many definitions and associations. 

It boggles the mind.

Quilt blocks and the idea of one, four, and nine patches remained a mystery for me for most of my life. I sewed clothes or dolls, not quilts.

Because I didn’t come from a tradition of quilting and barely heard of the practice while growing up, I had no story of the patched quilt block!

Vegetable patch, skin patch, cabbage patch kids, YES. Patch quilts? No.

Now, think about YOUR Patch memory! Does it have to do with quilting, mending, or some other experience?

What is YOUR “patch” story?

Share on Instagram, Facebook page or in our private FB group, Storied Sewing Circle ( >>join here!)


What’s this episode really about?

We’ll start with the complex definition of the word patch. 

It’s ancient history deriving from the French. 

And then it’s many iterations over the centuries. 


Naturally, I will insert some of my own stories into these varying definitions over time that I found deeply disturbing and humorous…paradox rules its lengthy meanings. 

Then, we will expand upon “patch” in relationship to quilting.  

Specifically, we will dive into Patchwork and the one patch block design. I will discuss Barbara Brackman’s latest encyclopedia of pieced quilt patterns —-  and the difficulty of attribution and pinpointing quilt block designs.

Why? Over the centuries, women improvised, creating their own variations and names of quilt blocks. 


Just to give you an idea of how massive this enterprise was for Brackman, her latest book is 500 pages and contains some 4,000 quilt blocks! 

That’s a lot of female design ingenuity for sure!

And likely many designs remain undocumented and lost to history…

Finally, we discuss the challenges I found in trying to decipher which quilt block I thought I adopted for a piece I made! 

Brackman is right,  when it comes to quilt blocks it’s better to be fluid than rigid!

So join us and get ready to be patched and blocked during this podcast episode!





Middle school student drawing

Hey hey! References for educators and….. nerds!


Want more juicy info? Check out the refs below! Indulge in your LOVE of all things “stitch!”

Brackman, B. (2020). Encyclopedia of pieced quilt patterns. Electric Quilt Company. Get it >>> here

“patch, n.1”. OED Online. December 2020. Oxford University Press. (accessed February 08, 2021).


[This post may contain referral-affiliate links. If a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.]

#9 Part 2: Muslin: Its fractured history in the United States

Here’s my “muslin part 2” story–What’s yours?

Although I earned my MFA- Master of fine arts- within a traditional textile program- (particularly the undergrad program)— that focused on weaving and dyeing cloth, 

I’d never seen a loom until I entered the studios of Umass Dartmouth in August 2001. 

Machine-stitching was and IS my vibe. 

The raucous clackety-clack of the weaving room startled the heck out of me. 

If handlooms were this loud, I couldn’t IMAGINE how loud machine looms were-
especially when my maternal grandmother and her siblings worked as child laborers,
overseeing the looms in a Fall River textile mill. 

No wonder they all went deaf!

After graduation, I served as an assistant weaver to the talented, Concord, MA-based fiber artist, Barbara Willis.

Though I never set up the warp (the vertical yarns on the loom), I worked the weft. 

I learned about weave structure and the definition of plain cloth fabric: the warp and weft were equal parts up and down.

Barbara’s sublime scarves defied gravity: her “floating” warp/wefts freed the rich purple chenilles
mixed with sparkly golds to ultimate advantage. 

Her fibers emerged, popped out of the weave, not buried under a more democratic
yet less attractive plain weave for the fibers and aesthetic she was after.

Yet, so much cloth IS plain cloth – the simple over and under design. 


In this episode, we talk about muslin, and perhaps more accurately, plain cloth, and its dizzying, contradictory history in the N. American colonies—and in the post-Revolution United States.

What is YOUR muslin or plain cloth story?

Share on our Facebook page or in our private FB group, Storied Sewing Circle ( >>join here!)


What’s this episode really about?

We get into some serious stories concerning the paradox of plain cloth in the United States.

First, we’ll start with a review on the function of a colony-  and how it went down in  British North America 

Then, we will discuss family life in pre-industrial New England on the eve of the revolution –

And how ministers got in the mix and motivated women and girls to become a part of the colony’s boycott of British goods in the name of “Liberty.”

 We will explore the definition of Liberty held dear by certain people —and clothing made of plain cloth as a symbol of Independence –  depending on what body wore it.

Finally, we will examine a textile manufacturer in post-revolutionary Rhode Island – 

who embodied the unreal contradictions of freedom and enslavement and ultimately power, profit, and control that still motivates so many people and businesses in this country.

After listening to this episode, you’ll be more informed as to the connections between:

  • cloth and gender,
  • production and race that shaped
  • and continue to shape deep-seated values lurking in the United States. 

Join us for this podcast, and learn about muslin/plain cloth’s fractured history in the United States!!





Middle school student drawing

Hey hey! References for educators and….. nerds!


Want more juicy info? Check out the refs below! Indulge in your LOVE of all things “stitch!”

Mandell, H. (2019). Crafting dissent: Handicraft as protest from the american revolution to the pussyhats. Rowman & Littlefield. Get it >>> here


[This post may contain referral-affiliate links. If a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.]

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