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Fabric of Life

My name is Mary Jose and I have been a textile conservator serving museums, galleries and private collectors for the past 25 years.  My passion is the preservation of material culture as expressed through traditional textile practice.

I have pursued this through my work as a conservator but just on 8 years ago I established my business,  Fabric of Life.  I am privileged to be able to travel throughout the world visiting textile artisans to learn about their work and to buy for my business. 

As all textile lovers will know there is always something more to learn about textiles  and more beautiful textiles to discover.  I am hoping to connect with people with similar interests through TAFA and also to source materials for my conservation work.

Mission:  Fabric of Life specialises in handmade contemporary and antique textiles individually selected from around the world.  We are proud to offer original handmade textiles that are finely crafted, distinctive and beautiful for use in interior design, fashion or as gifts.

We follow Fair Trade principles by buying from individual makers or projects that help to promote community development, self-sufficiency and sustainability. Each year we visit villages that still  practice traditional textile arts and select exquisite handmade pieces for Fabric of Life customers directly from the maker.

We are also proud to present a range of Australian Aboriginal textiles and fibre works from communities throughout Australia.

Fabric of Life also provides textile conservation services for the care and preservation  of a wide variety of antique and contemporary textiles.  Professional conservation enables objects of beauty, interest, sentimental value and cultural significance to be enjoyed by present and future generations. Whether you have a unique item yourself, or are responsible for the care of a museum collection, Fabric of Life has the expertise to preserve and care for your special textile piece.

Our expert team can provide advice on the right textile for your home and prepare the perfect display system to suit. The Fabric of Life textile collection is diverse in culture and style. We travel the world, sourcing textiles of the highest quality from artists across Asia, Africa, South America and Central Australia. Most works are new but we also stock vintage textiles for the collector. This is what makes Fabric of Life’s textiles truly unique, a collection you won’t find anywhere else.

Our extensive range is on display in our Melbourne Street store in Adelaide and online at Fabric of Life.

Location:  North Adelaide, South Australia
Online shop:  Fabric of Life
Brick and Mortar:
   Fabric Of Life
   Handmade and Fair Trade Textiles, Gifts and Conservation
   141 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, South Australia, 5006
   Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials (AICCM)
   The Asian Arts Society of Australia (TAASA)
   The Fair Trade federation of Australia and New Zealand (FAANZ)
Languages spoken:  English

Fabric of Life in Australia


I am a wool artist, working in Vilnius, Lithuania in Europe. I am from the same country as the Men's Basketball players Arvydas Sabonis, Darius Songaila and Zydrunas Ilgauskas :) 

I make giant-sized men's shoes as well as the normal-sized men's, women's and children's shoes. My felted shoes can be worn outside and inside, you can choose them with or without water-proof soles.

My felted shoes are made from 100% natural wool. For excellent performance of the wool, my shoes are very soft, lightweight and comfortable. In addition, wool naturally resists microbial proliferation, protects from bacteria and neutralizes odors. Since ancient times it was believed that the wool is similar to acupuncture: it has pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory and body-enhancing properties. 

The wool felting came into my life only few months ago when I was visiting my countryside. Once I entered the attic of the house, opened the my great-grandmother's antique chest and saw clouds of old gray wool. The spinning wheel was standing beside it. My Dad remembers his childhood when he wore very warm felted shoes made ​​by his grandmother. My Dad's stories have inspired me. From this it all began.

My felted shoes look little bit different from those ancient ones or those made by my grand-grandmother. Here, Tradition meets Modern. I'm interested in new trends, fashion colors, and in making innovations. I have a very high priority on quality. 

During the last twelve years I worked in the various companies. This experience taught me a lot. Now I am doing what I really love. I create alone and strongly believe that everything is possible to make, if you put all your mind, creativity, experience and efforts in it. 

I sincerely hope that you will like my designs and I will do my best to provide quality pieces and good service. I also want to mention that I can accept wholesale orders.

Location:  Vilnius, Lithuania, European Union
Blog:  ekohausstore
Other social media:  Twitter, kaboodle
Languages spoken: English, Russian, Lithuanian

Felted Wool Shoes from Lithuania by EKOHAUS

Tags:  traditional felting,  felting art, Lithuania, wool horse, felted miniatures, felted shoes, slippers, warm, comfortable, regulate body temperature, national traditions

Crossroads Trade

I started Crossroads Trade as an outgrowth of my love for ethnic textiles, joining it to my commitment to fair trade. After running a brick-and-mortar store in two locations for 11 years, my business is now all on-line.

As a retailer and wholesaler, I'm always looking for uncommon works by ethnic artists. Most items you will see on my websites are not available in stores or online. I showcase work from producer groups whose traditions are little known in the United States. Each year I scout new locales to identify new artisans and traditions.

I'm dedicated to ensuring fair trade. I purchase directly from artisans, cooperatives, refugee communities, economic development initiatives and a limited number of wholesalers who subscribe to fair trade principles. Artisans are paid promptly, receive a fair wage by local standards and set the price for their work. Working conditions are clean, safe and accessible. Children who are learning traditional crafts are doing so after school; many mothers are working to pay school fees for their daughters and sons. I'm an active member of the Fair Trade Federation.
-Kate Harris

Mission:  Crossroads Trade is dedicated to ensuring the survival of indigenous craft traditions around the world. These traditions may express themselves in such timeless works as Kuna Indian molas and Palestinian cushion covers, or in new forms. Ghanaian batiks are fashioned into messenger bags. Shangaan artisans from South Africa have expanded their embroidered works from ostrich-leather bags to spectacular cushion covers and wall hangings. These artisans deserve a fair price for their labor and the opportunity to work in safe surroundings.

Location:  Arlington, Massachusetts, USA
Online shops:  crossroadstradeworldofgood
Blog:  crossroadstrade
Other social media:  Twitter
Memberships:  Fair Trade Federation, World Fair Trade Organization
Languages spoken:  English, French, Spanish, some Japanese and Russian

Kuna Mola from Crossroads Trade

Tags:  Inuit, Africa, Latin America, India, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Central America, Mexico, South America, human trafficking

Marlis Egger Textile Art

I’m a full time textile artist and retreat organizer based in the Italian part of Switzerland.  The retreats, TexArtAcademy, bring in students from around the world:  textile artists, patchworkers, quilters and all those who love to experiment with textiles and new materials.  Tutors are internationally known textile artists.  The workshops take place in Ticino, the sunshine state in southern Switzerland.

Artist Statement:  My work explores and documents the joy of playing with fibers. I choose to work as an abstract artist because I have always been intrigued by pattern and color. I use different techniques to dye, paint and print my own fabrics made from natural fibers. They are the starting point for my textile images.

I am most inspired by people I meet and places I visit. My camera is my companion. I take photographs for further reference, but also alter them digitally and print them on fabric.

I am open to new techniques and materials, but the point of departure for these experiments will always be fabric: the tactile attraction and the enormous quality of fabric, the suitability to manipulation, the quality of raw edges and hanging threads, the way painted and dyed fabric changes character, the flexibility to surface design. These qualities continue to challenge and to inspire me.

Location:  Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland
Brick and Mortar:  TexArtAcademy - Retreat in the Italian part of Switzerland
Blogs:  marlisegger (art), aroomwithaview (photo)
Social Media:  FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn
Memberships:  SAQA, SDA
Languages spoken:  German, English, Italian

Potato Blight | 20" x 16" | Marlis Egger ©2010

Tags:  surface design, hand dyeing, machine quilting, hand embroidery, thermofax printing, fiber artist

Gina Pierce Design

I am a textile designer and educator, working in London, UK.

Having worked as a freelance surface designer, I now produce my own range of fabrics and wallpapers, plus a small range of bags and cushions. I sell to interior designers, architects and the public, and can produce bespoke prints from the range, or new, personalised designs.

I am inspired by history and location, researching into ancient fabrics, maps and buildings for imagery.  My work uses both digital and hand prints.  I am interested in combining the two methods of production along with aspects of 'digital craft'.

I am also the Course Leader of BA Textile Design at London Metropolitan University.

Artist's statement:  My aim is to  create beautiful and interesting designs inspired by people, places and stories from our recent histories. They can evoke memories of the past, reminders of events that may have been forgotten, and which can be celebrated and given new life.

In my own work and in my teaching, I use and promote both traditional and new technologies, and believe by combining these we enhance creative practise.

Location:  London, United Kingdom
Memberships:  Hidden Art
Languages spoken:  English

Gina Pierce Design

Tags:  printer, historical,  textile designer, interior furnishings, researcher, lecturer, teacher, digital technology 

MarketPlace: Handwork of India

MarketPlace: Handwork of India is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing economic opportunities for women artisans in India, and empowering them to bring about changes in their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities.

Our clothes are rooted in a long tradition of artisan work, rather than based on fleeting trends. Reflecting classic styling, our designs are fresh and versatile.

“Leadership By Design” sums up our strategy. Planning and controlling every aspect of production has given women basis skills that they use in planning other aspects of their lives and taking initiatives in community actions, their children’s schools, and changing relationships between them and their husbands and children, especially their daughters.

Women are involved in design workshops, executing plans for production, the entire quality control, and managing the transfer of skills. MarketPlace is currently working with 14 cooperatives, representing over 480 artisans, most of who are women. The clothing and textile products made by these groups are marketed in the U.S. through an attractive catalog, website and a number of specialty and clothing stores. Sales in the U.S. in 2008 was almost $1 million.

Location: Evanston, Illinois, USA
Online shop: marketplaceindia
Blog: marketplacehandworkofindia
Memberships: MarketPlace is well recognized in the Fair Trade Movement and was one of the founding members of the Fair Trade Federation and is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization.
Social Media: Twitter, YouTube
Languages spoken: English

Reversible jackets by MarketPlace: Handwork of India

Tags: fair trade, veggie dyes, embroidered clothing, cotton clothing, Indian clothing, economic development, Mumbai, SHARE

Cameron Taylor-Brown

I am a textile artist, consultant and educator who loves weaving, yarn, color, and design - and enjoy collaborative teaching and learning. I am fortunate to be able to immerse myself in many aspects of textiles.  I maintain a weaving studio,  teach all over the country, and represent several yarn distributors in Southern CA and AZ.  In 2011, I launched ARTSgarage - a textile resource center and reference library open by appointment.

My website shows images of my work and a complete list of classes. Please contact me if you wish to purchase artwork, are interested in taking a class or would like to hire me to teach.  

Artist's statement:   My artwork reflects a passion to shape order out of chaos—to start with bits of thread and create something complex and satisfying where nothing existed before.  As I weave, I embrace and celebrate the ancient heritage and language of woven cloth. The rhythms and interplay of pattern, color and texture fascinate me, and the tactile quality of the actual fiber is extremely satisfying. I thrive on the challenges and opportunities presented to me as I move forward to explore new and interesting possibilities.  

Location:  Los Angeles, California, USA
Languages spoken:  English

"Indigo Dreams #1", Weaving by Cameron Taylor-Brown

Tags: fiber artist, textile artist, handweaver, handweaving, weaving teacher, creativity, collaborative learning, colorist, color classes, textile library

Carla Madrigal/Madrigal Embroidery

An on-line textile community appears to be a great solution to a  field which can be isolating. I would like to share information and communicate with artists and craftspeople in this arena not only to build friendships but to enhance exposure and to help organize shows and sell. 

Artist's statement:  To continue to create interpretations of the world around me.  Art is a necessary but often neglected part of life which ideally should surround, enlighten, and bring  joy and wonder into our lives. 

Location:  San Francisco, California, USA
Online shop:  madrigalembroidery 
Languages spoken:  English

Embroidered Heart by Madrigal Embroidery

Tags:  colorful, textile art, wearable art, decorative art, re-fashioned, recycled, unique, neck ties, fabric jewelry, custom orders

Coco Kulkarni

I have been collecting art for a long time.  All sorts of art:: paintings (oil, water, pastels, ink), sculpture (wood, metal, stone), tribal drawings (some painted on cow dung!), textiles, and even photographs.

The antique textiles I have belong to one particular region in India called Kutch. Many of them are over 70 to 90 years old.  Most of them are in excellent condition. Some are embroidered and some are appliqued.  There's a rich variety of colours, motifs and techniques. All beautiful!

My love of fabrics inspired me to make and sell handbags on Etsy.  I use wool, cashmere, leather, cottons, and some blends to make handbags with clean contemporary lines and beautiful patterned fabrics. I don't use patterns, and I stay clear of 'designer' fabrics. I free cut all my bags, so they're never really the same size or shape. My latest handbags are made from hand spun, hand loomed cottons (khadi) from India, and some have hand blocked prints on them.

Location:  Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Online shops:  ThreadsOfOld
Languages spoken:  English

Ganesh, Embroidered detail of a vintage textile from Kutch, India

Coco Bags

Tags:  Vintage, ethnic, India, Kutch, Gujarat, wall hanging, folk embroidery, folk applique, collections, Saurashtra, bag, purse, khadi

India Flint

I work with windfall leaves, cloth, felt and stitch to make pieced textile works in which the colour is printed directly onto the cloth from the leaf without the use of synthetic chemical adjuncts. Each dyed fragment involves a walk to collect windfalls. Sometimes that means just heading out with a bag, at other times I stop at previously determined trig points such as the call of a bird, the end of a verse of song in my head or the simple counting of steps. I think of the individual pieces as documents of place; landscape drawings formed through the application of colour derived from the land. Stitched together they become parts of a never-ending story.

The processes are slow and mindful, a kind of immersion in intimate knowledge of the land as much as quiet concentrated work on stitching and piecing. The cloth is dyed in small segments bundled around stones, twigs and [sometimes] found metal trash.  The bundles are gently simmered in a brew comprised of locally harvested water [from seas, rivers, lakes, ponds or puddles depending on where I happen to be working] together with a few handfuls of windfall leaves to give colour to the solution. After cooking they are left to rest - this allows time and the elements contained within the leaves to do their work. After unwrapping, the cooked leaves are returned to the environment as mulch.

I make things to hang on walls and to enfold bodies. Sometimes I show a collection of garments. From time to time I am commissioned to make costumes for dance. I travel the whirled to teach and tell stories and every now and then I write a book. 

Artist's statement:  In my work I honour the stitch and the dress-up box, cherish fragments, rummage contentedly in grandmother’s button jar and remember old tales. I reference the traditions of the nine-patch, follow sheep trails, go woolgathering and fill my pockets with leaves. As a small girl I loved to sit on the front stoop with my grandmother listening to her telling stories as the sun gradually set. My favourite was that of the princess who finds herself alone on the forest and must make her clothing from what she can find...leaves, grass and wisps of fur caught on the bushes. It’s still an important story.

Location:  in the wilds of South Australia
Memberships/Important links:
Languages spoken:  fluent English and German, basic French and Latvian

"Second Skin" by India Flint

Boucherouite Rag Rugs

Due to his love of Morocco, its culture and way of life, Jean-Yves Sevestre, with the help of the architect Denis Estienne, created Dar Syada : an exceptional place where traditional architecture meets modern design. Since his arrival in Morocco, Jean-Yves has been interested in Boucharouette tapestries, intrigued by the modernism expressed in this tribal art. The fluidity of the colours and the abstract design in these carpets called out to him and very soon he had them hung on the walls, contributing to the notion of “tapestry art”.  Within a few years, he had gathered an impressive collection and started to promote their sale with a Moroccan friend, Chafik Moujahid. 

For a couple of years, there was little interest.  The materials used were often scraps, creating the perception that these carpets seemed destined to remain domestic rugs. Following interest by private collectors, the publication of numerous books describing the fascinating and artistic qualities of Berbere carpets, sales to well-known designers and exhibitions in Europe and the USA, have all contributed, in the last few years, to a growing interest in this style of Berber tapestry.  Jean-Yves and Chafik  continue to scour the length and breadth of the villages found in the Middle and High Atlas mountains in order to buy directly from the Berbere women.  They are still moved and excited by the poetry and creativity expressed in these works.

Location:  Marrakech, Morocco
Online shops:  and Etsy
Brick and Mortar:  We have a permanent gallery, Darsyada, in Marrakech and an art gallery in Isle Sur La Sorgue in France (Galerie Demesure)
Languages spoken:  French, English, Arabic

Boucherouite Rag Rugs form Morocco

Tags:  Morocco, Carpets, Boucharouette, Tribal art, Berber, Tapestries

Anton Veenstra

"Faded Flower", Tapestry by Anton Veenstra

My 40 year passion has been in making textiles. I have a particular visual language and textiles is the vehicle of expression for me. It has visual interest, texture and lustre.     
Artist's statement:  Textile, because it is so everyday, has long been overlooked in importance in the art world. I think a reappraisal is overdue. My intention is to promote tapestry as a feisty medium for depicting reality and dream. As a precious material it also has great potential as an upholstering fabric, one of its traditional functions, and also as a component of wearable art.

M5 Bus Self Portrait, Tapestry Weaving by Anton Veenstra
H 30 cm, W 30 cm

Location:  Sydney, Australia
Social Media:  LinkedIn
Languages spoken:  English, French, German

"Beauty Past Change", Tapestry by Anton Veenstra

Tags:  visual, texture, lustre, portraiture, wefts, individuality, environmental, ethical, everyday, harmony, vitality

Victoria Gertenbach

Even though I have spent most of my life living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I still find myself looking at the surrounding countryside as if it were the first time that I ever laid eyes on it. I am continuously inspired by the deep beauty of the farmland. I am struck by the grace of the aged lines and odd shapes found in the old, worn and weathered barns that magically still stand. I am in awe as I watch farmers slowly hand-plow their fields with a team of mules, just as it was done centuries ago.

At the same time, I am grateful for the ingenuity of technology, with which makes my life and work easier.

Living in this place, where the past and the present meet everyday, has had a profound influence on my work. I hold the awareness of both worlds close to me, and am always looking for ways to honor and marry the two through my stitched, patched and quilted works.

Artist's Statement:  Using simple materials, I strive to create beautiful and well constructed stitched pieces in order to pay tribute to the past and the present, and to express emotions that I otherwise would be unable to express.

It is my sincere hope that when others view my work, they feel something... a connection of some sort, a bit of comfort, a memory of something almost forgotten, a knowing that they are not alone.

Location:  Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA
Online shop:  Silly Boodilly
Other social media:  Twitter
Languages spoken:  English

Quilted Works by Victoria Gertenbach

Tags: Art Quilt, Textile, Stitched, Patchwork, Patched, Improvised Quilting, Modern Quilt, Boro, Work Quilts, Lancaster County


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