"Follow your passions and work on the thing that brings you joy. I believe if you love and care for something it will grow."
Maura Ambrose was educated in Textile Design + Fiber Arts at Savannah College of Art & Design. She worked for a few years in preschools, on a couple of organic farms, and spent some time traveling America before founding Folk Fibers outside of Austin in Bastrop, Texas. She makes her quilts using 100% natural fibers (both vintage and new) and natural dyes. Her work has been featured in Martha Stewart Living, American Craft Magazine, Country Living and Design Sponge, and she's collaborated with Levi's and Terrain on bespoke quilt collections.
It was 2010 and I was on a road trip with my husband Chap. We traveled America and lived out of our VW camper for 4 months. It was a dreamy time, full of reflection about the past, present, and future. We had uprooted from our routine lifestyle and lived everyday as an adventure. Once we were homeward bound, my mind and heart started racing as I dreamed of my vision for starting Folk Fibers. It felt like I was about to grab a tiger by the tail! At home, I got straight to planning a dye garden, making quilts and dyeing fabric. I'm now still living that dream: gardening, making one-of-a-kind quilts and dyeing fabric. The big changes we made since then have been buying a house and acreage in a small town outside of Austin and having a baby.
Photo: Gustav Schmiege.
It's rewarding and beautiful to connect with the entire process of creating, that is a big reason why I hand-dye fabrics for the quilts that I make. I am incredibly inspired by Rowland Rickets, who lives in Indiana. He has a company with his wife called Ricketts Indigo, together they farm indigo and create art from the indigo they plant.
Since our recent move to the country, I am working on the foundations for growing more dye plants and teaching annual workshops.
If I could do anything (and money wasn't an issue) I would start building a studio on the front of our property. When I started Folk Fibers in 2011, it was in the living room. Since then, I have taken over a room (with a door!) in our house. But the ideal dream is to have a studio outside of the house, amongst the open prairie at the bottom of our hill. I plan on using the space for teaching workshops, dyeing fabric and making quilts.
Photo: Molly Quan.
My current "wanderlust weekend" is reuniting with my old friends from art school. A group of us met at SCAD about 10 years ago and began collaborating on portfolio pieces. Since then, a core group of us have stayed in touch and continue collaborating as professionals. The level of connection and creativity between us is unreal. Being with them feeds my soul. A few of these friends have recently purchased property in upstate New York, and I long for the days when we can unite around a bonfire and spend time just playing and creating together. And now that we're at the age of having babies, it has brought a whole new level of excitement!
All images used with permission of Maura Ambrose.