Exploring Folk Art with Wool Appliqué & More

Posted by Kelsey Anilee Smith on Jan 13th 2020

Creativity never happens alone. While solitude is part of the creative process, friends are key to creating beautiful things. For out of friendship often comes inspiration, exposure to new ideas, and a healthy dose of fun.

This is why, for her third book, Rebekah wants to highlight the influence of friendship on her work. In the process, she aims to show readers and makers how it is that the many different hand-sewing techniques can be “friends.” When Rebekah began the process of writing, she knew that this kind of book could not be done alone. So she asked me, her daughter, to co-write with her, and we gathered some other friends to come on board with us as well.

Many folks we meet as we travel and teach do not create using just one technique. We have met quilters, rug hookers, needle punchers, embroiderers and more who dabble in those along with wool appliqué. In this way, Rebekah’s students were also part of the inspiration for this book. It is such a joy to observe the different kinds of handwork people use in making beautiful objects for their homes.

In light of this, every chapter of the book features a project (or part of a project) that is completed in wool appliqué and another technique. The chapters with two projects show readers how to do one project in two different ways. The chapters with one project are those which work two handwork techniques in tandem. I helped create the three projects that use embroidery, and we got a crew of friends (and family) to share their experience in rug hooking, quilting, yarn sewing, punch needle, and cross stitch. Each project required someone who works in a technique besides wool appliqué. We gave you a glimpse into the friendships we share with those who collaborated on the book at the beginning of each chapter as a way to “meet” other creatives from across the country. In the back of the book, you’ll find a few other friends who made alternate colorways of the projects for us.

In order to celebrate the book, we recently hosted a day of stitching, shopping and demonstrations. We called the event “Wool & Friends,” which, for us, sums up the essence of this book. We gathered as many of the collaborators as we could and had some of them demonstrate the techniques featured in the book. 

Exploring Folk Art with Wool Appliqué & More was, in the end, a work of friendship. We hope that readers are inspired to try old techniques in new ways, along with finding and forging creative friendships. 

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Follow Rebekah L. Smith's blog and read about the event "Wool & Friends" here

Order Exploring Folk Art with Wool Appliqué & More here

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