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The Loaded Trunk

Every piece selected for The Loaded Trunk embodies my approach to life: rich, artistic tradition, creativity and craftsmanship. I believe that both traditional techniques and new interpretations of old traditions bring immeasurable beauty and warmth into the home.

Working with a global network of artisans and designers, each item sold through The Loaded Trunk is personally selected for its ability to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Each piece is either created specifically for The Loaded Trunk, or purchased from a local market across the globe.

I believe in supporting the local economy throughout my travels, and respectfully pay the artisan’s asking price. Fair trade matters. For these reasons, only limited quantities are available for most items, and exact pieces may not be restocked once they’re sold.
I consider The Loaded Trunk my global dinner party. As a fellow citizen of this world, I encourage you to join me.
-Roni Jaco

Mission:  The Loaded Trunk website launched July 2009 and invites shoppers to explore a multi-cultural world of art objects, textiles, artifacts, jewelry and rare finds for the home.  I love cooking and entertaining, and I think of my home as a place where I can really express what my parents did for my family while I was growing up.

I grew up as an Army brat and wherever we lived, my mother filled our home with the art, crafts and home furnishings that represented local culture. I developed a lifelong appreciation for the feeling you get when you’re in a room that reflects the art and passion of other cultures.

With The Loaded Trunk, I try to share that passion with others, taking them on an adventure they can enjoy without a passport – and helping them define their own personal style in a way not easily done by shopping traditional retail stores. It’s purely an online shopping experience for those unafraid to shop outside the box, so to speak.

I look for uncommonly cool items that can create a warm and uniquely beautiful atmosphere. My own home is an eclectic mix of old and new, vintage and contemporary. I shop globally not on a quest for antiques, but rather in pursuit of skilled artistry and craftsmanship, believing it’s important to keep alive the centuries-old techniques and traditions I see during my travels.

When I visit the countries I buy from, I wander off the well-worn path of tourists so I can truly immerse myself in local culture. My products are for lovers of the quirky and unusual, collectors of rare art and ethnic objects, anyone who looks at the world with a sense of wonder and curiosity.

I collaborate with a network of global artists in the U.S. and abroad to assemble an online catalog of products meant to be both admired and used – whether it’s an exquisite teapot, a piece of jewelry, an exquisite basket that doubles as an end table or a ceremonial object that can hold a candle.  Every item is special in its own way; some are rare finds while others are simply beautiful pieces that inspire me for one reason or another.

I’ve been filling my own treasure trunk my whole life, and I’m excited to open the lid and invite others to come see what the world has to offer.

Location:  Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Online shop: The Loaded Trunk
Languages spoken:  English

The Loaded Trunk: Vintage Hmong fabric used in a fun, contemporary bag.

Tags:  ikat, ralli quilts, ethnic textiles, tribal textiles, umbrella, vintage, asian textiles, rugs, jewelry, home interiors

Salley Mavor

I am a fiber artist and children's book illustrator. My fabric relief sculptures are photographed and reproduced in picture books. The books are not just for children--they're also used as art and reference books for all ages. I've also written the instruction book for adults, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects.

Salley Mavor

Artist's statement:  I have had a life-long fascination with little things and needlework. Toward the end of art school, I rediscovered my childhood delight in sewing and creating miniature scenes. Leaving traditional illustration mediums behind, but still interested in narrative work, I taught myself stitching and fiber art techniques, which I used in my class assignments. For me, manipulating materials with my hands with a needle and thread was so much more satisfying than rendering with a pencil or brush. I found that I could communicate my ideas more clearly this way and that my hands would direct me in a compelling way.

My early pieces were soft sculpture, and then turned flatter, with raised figures and objects on a fabric background. I came up with the term “fabric relief” in 1982 to better describe my evolving method. My 3-dimensional pictures resemble miniature, shallow stage sets, with scenery, props and characters telling a story. I embroider, wrap, appliqué and paint different materials and found objects to create scenes in relief, with figures imposed on an embellished fabric background. My work is decorative and detailed, full of patterns from nature, all stitched by hand.

For the past 20 years, I’ve been working in the field of illustration, making artwork which is then photographed and printed in children’s books. The original fabric relief pictures have a second life when they are mounted and framed under glass in shadow boxes, ready to show and sell as individual pieces. Through my books, I hope to inspire children as well as adults to see art in fresh and unexpected ways.

Location:  Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA
Blog:  weefolk
Memberships:  SAQA, SCBWI
Languages spoken:  English

Detail of Self Portrait by Salley Mavor: a personal history of fashion, fabric relief, 2007, 12”H x 12” W x 1”D

Click on the slide show images to go to Salley's books on Amazon:

Tags:  mixed media, found objects, wool felt, dolls, beads, wood, RISD

Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance


"In Living Color" class by Rebecca Ewing
The Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance, a non-profit, provides seminars, classes, and workshops in a wide variety of fiber art disciplines.

In July 2011, when we open our fiber arts center, we will also host exhibitions, provide low-cost studio space, and provide low-cost rental space for meetings, classes, workshops, and events.  We are open to everyone with an interest in fiber and we aim to engage, educate and inspire!

Mission:  We celebrate, support, promote and perpetuate all fiber art forms and connect the fiber arts community.  We do this by addressing the following goals:

  • Connect the fiber arts community; 
  • Promote and support fiber artists, teachers, organizations, and businesses;
  • Support the display and appreciation of fiber arts and artists;
  • Provide fiber art education;
  • Preserve fiber art skills and traditions; and
  • Develop a purpose-built fiber arts center. 

Location:  Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Blog:  fiberartsalliance 
Social Media:  Twitter, Crowdrise 
Languages spoken:  English 

Schematic of Proposed Space for the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance

Tags:  textiles, artists, nonprofit, weaving, knitting, sewing, quilting, needlework, spinning, yarn, organization, classes, workshops  

Julaine Lofquist-Birch

My work in textiles has definitely been an extension of my life so far.  I'm very comfortable breaking the rules and challenging myself to see what's possible!  From my portfolio of eclectic mixed media pieces,  my art quilts that always tell a story, and my felted wearable accessories, one can be sure to find just the right piece to add to a collection, or to share as a gift.

Having sewn most of my life, it was about 15 years ago when the light came on and I knew that I needed to get my work out of the studio and into the fiber art world.  No regrets, I am not looking back!

If seen in my studio at home, I am usually adding color or stitch to materials that sometimes border on the unusual. A friend once told me that I was a ""deconstructionist"" and to that end, I am proud to say that I have a ""healthy disregard for materials!""

I love dyeing fibers - cotton, silk, rayon, linen and wool roving.  I have a passion for adding color with artists' crayons to whatever comes to mind and can spend a whole afternoon doing this, wondering along the way what to do with these interesting pieces!

As a part-time volunteer curator for our church's art group and together with artist friends, we have hosted 6 exhibits each in the last two years.  This has been a wonderful experience and is so inspiring to me to see our members and other local artists come forth and share their beautiful art with us.

One of the other sides of life involves teaching what I have learned - I teach art classes for adults and children at the Rockford Art Museum and at other venues. It's wonderful to experience that ""a-ha"" moment when students realize that they are indeed artists.

I am inspired by life and the movement all around me, whether it is in the people I love and meet, in nature and spirituality, and always humor.  This sometimes mature woman seeks and finds the little girl inside and is always ready to play.

My work can be found at:
   Celebration Room Gallery at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Rockford, Illinois
   Art2Go Gallery Shop, Womanspace, Rockford, Illinois
   The Bomb Shop, Rockford, Illinois

Location:  Rockford, Illinois, USA
Online shop:  TheCreativeSpirit
Blog:  julaine 
Memberships:  Artful Quilters, Ravelry
Languages spoken:  English

Mixed Media Series by Julaine Lofquist-Birch

Tags:  art quilts, textiles, fiber art, wearable art, mixed media, nuno felt, hand dyed, teaching, accessories, beading

Pamela Penney Textile Arts

Fiber, textiles, yarn and color have always been an integral part of life for Pamela Penney.  Her mother was an accomplished seamstress and quilter and had a large trunk of fabric that Pam would explore as a young girl.  She loved playing with the colors and the textures. Pam soon begged her mother to teach her to knit and sew at a very young age and both have been a passion for Pam ever since.  In high school Pam began to design and create her own garments combining sewing and knitting techniques.  Her interest in art, color, design, math and physics led Pam to study architecture and get her BA degree in Interior Design.  After several years designing corporate interiors Pam chose to develop her textile art business while at the same time raising her two children and doting on her husband, dog and cat.

Pamela Penney started her business out of her home when her children were young, designing and creating one-of-a-kind garments for women and children.  Using hand and machine knits, hand dyed and hand painted fabrics with crocheted edgings and beaded embellishments, each item became a work of art. In 2003, after several years working at home, Pam opened her studio on Harrison Street in Oak Park, Illinois.  This gave her the opportunity to expand the gallery space to show the artwork of several regional artists as well as offer more classes and improve her own studio working space.  She continues to grow and develop her business in the vibrant and funky Oak Park Arts District just outside of Chicago, Illinois.

Artist's statement:  Finding time to create is essential to my health and well being and I believe it is for everyone.  That is why I feel strongly that I must share my passion with others through teaching the textile art techniques that I find so enjoyable.  I’m interested in exploring a wide variety of techniques and looking for ways to incorporate them together in new and unique ways.  My work combines hand and machine knits, crochet, embroidery, fabric and yarn dying, wet-felting, needle-felting and salvaged woolens and cashmeres.  My credo:  Don’t box me in to one technique!  My current work combines the eco-friendly salvaged fabrics and the beauty of wet felted wools.  I love adding a dimension of hand and machine stitching and beading to give more texture and interest to my felted pieces.
In addition to producing her own artwork, Pam has been teaching for over 25 years to both children and adults and loves to ignite the spark of creativity in others.  She finds teaching is a path to continual learning for both her students and for herself.

Location:  Oak Park, Illinois, USA
Online shops: 
Brick and Mortar:
   Pamela Penney Textile Arts
   130 Harrison Street
   Oak Park, Illinois  60304
   (just outside of Chicago, Illinois)
Blog:  pamelapenney 
Memberships/Important links:
Languages spoken:  English

Art to Wear by Pamela Penney Textile Arts

Tags: fiber art, nuno-felting, multi-media, art-to-wear, textile artist, dyeing, knitting, embellishment, teaching, chicago artist

Meg Hannan - Rag Sky Art Studio

My journey into the microcosmic world of Fabric Jewels, coincided with my arrival at Artwood Studios in Seattle in 1985. I have made my home and studio here in two former school classrooms since then. Every bit of it is used in the course of this little rodeo. I share my life with my princely cat, Mister Mustafa, and the other artists, and their families, who work and dwell in the school with me. I have been assisted in the studio by a chain of spectacular young interns who help me grow and keep me focused. It’s a lively and fertile ground for shared art inspiration, lessons in community and opening of hearts.

Making and selling my original fiber millefiori jewelry has been my full time profession for over twenty-five years. To create my Fabric Jewels, I fully saturate fabrics and fibers with glue, roll them up and when dry, slice the roll cross-section. It’s about getting inside the heart of the fabric through the window on the edge and painting little paintings inside that view. Color is key. And fiber, well, what’s not to love? The process is ever challenging and evolving. I investigate, contemplate, and intend. There are surprises and rewards. You can learn much more about it on my website.

I sell my work nationally at Quilt, Fiber and Bead Shows and through Museums, Galleries and Shops. The link between the creator that flows through me and the audience who appreciates my work is crucial. I am truly grateful for all the energetic support given me over all these years. This connection brings value and meaning to what I do, that greatly enhances my personal joy in the work’s creation.

As I circle the building’s property on my late night 2 am walks, I fall deeper and deeper into this plot of earth. I do not own it, but it is mine. The dark edge of the treetops sways with spirits and calls me to wake and feel this earth, which with all its woes, still astoundingly continues to be paradise here and now.

And so it is too, that as I circle and rustle through the vast and verdant fabric heap I have amassed, even with the struggles to manage all the pieces of my business, my soul finds stillness and peace diving deeper every year into the mystery of the simple and complex act of spinning fabric into jewels.

Artist's statement:  My mission in life is to be and see the Bhudda everywhere, to ever grow in kindness and love and make the passages of whining less and less frequent. Also, I really like it when I can make others laugh and jiminy cricket, I love to laugh too.

Location:  Seattle, Washington, USA
Online shop:  MegHannan
Blog:  meghannan
Languages spoken:  English

Carnival Night Beaded Diamond Pin by Meg Hannan

Tags:  fiber jewelry, millefiori, fabric jewelry, fiber art, wearable art, hearts, recycled art, Meg Hannan, Fabric Jewels, Rag Sky Art Studio, textiles, unique jewelry

Silversoles Felted Textiles

I am a British Textile Artist who focuses my work in feltmaking creating textiles for interiors and to wear. I create collections of scarves, bags, corsages, wall pieces and one off commissioned pieces. I also teach feltmaking to groups of all ages and abilities. I am keen to network with other makers, galleries and those interested in my work.
-Emma Jackson

Artist's statment:  Silversoles is the design label of UK textiles artist / designer Emma Jackson who creates sumptuously textile textiles for interiors and to wear. Each piece is unique having been individually handmade in England fusing traditional and contemporary felting techniques. 

Emma utilizes the memory of wool in her work to explore the fibres' potential to form sculptural, textured and raised surfaces. Inspired by organic forms and patterns her work has distinctive colours, striking sculptural shapes and exquisite textures which echo her sources of inspiration. Working with merino wools, silks, soya and velvets Emma makes limited edition collections and works to commission to provide a bespoke service for her clients.

Emma is a qualified teacher who offers feltmaking and a range of other textile techniques workshops, with groups of all ages for recreational or professional development. She holds a textiles teaching post at the Midlands Arts Centre,  Birminghm. She is a member of the International Feltmakers Association, design GAP, the Midlands Textile Forum and Designer Makers West Midlands.

Location:  United Kingdom
Online shops:  Silversoles, Great British Designs 
   International Feltmakers Association
   Design GAP
Languages spoken:  English

Felted Textiles by Silversoles

Tags:  textiles, felt, feltmaking, nuno, embroidery, fibre art, workshops, weddings, gifts, cobweb

Threads of Peru

Ariana Svenson with a Quechua Weaver
Threads of Peru is a not-for-profit, social enterprise registered in Cusco, Peru. The founding members, Fely Callanaupa Gonzales, Ariana Svenson, Angie Hodder and Adam Collins represent the countries of Peru, Australia, and Canada respectively.

We sell fairly traded, authentic, traditional Andean Textiles. These hand-woven fabrics are made using ancient traditional methods practiced by the indigenous Quechua people of the Peruvian Andes.

Traditional Andean weaving in Peru involves the shearing of organic fiber from herds of free range alpaca and sheep; the washing and dyeing of the fiber using natural dyes (from insects, plants, and minerals of the region) and local plant-based soaps; hand-spinning of the fiber into thread using the drop spindle; and the weaving of cloth using the ancient back-strap and four post looms. Woven items feature superb iconography specific to the mountain communities in the Sacred Valley region of Peru.

Threads of Peru funds and conducts weaving workshops in three rural Andean communities, which develop a better understanding of production for an international market, and broaden the use of traditional methods. We also administer a nutrition program for the Reach Out Children's Fund, as part of our mandate is to collaborate with other organizations to improve the effectiveness of development efforts in the region.

Threads of Peru also offers a 14 day tour of Peru, which offers a panoramic view of the past, present and future of traditional Andean textiles. From the museums of Lima and the islands of Lake Titicaca, to the indigenous communities of the Sacred Valley and the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, this textile-focused tour reveals how important woven threads are to the fabric of Peruvian culture.  Click for Tour Info.

Peru, its people and their traditions are a vast and beautiful part of our world. They are connected to us - as we all are connected - through the common threads of fabric and fibre art. None of us can know it all, and we are happy to be included in this community; to learn and share in its collective strength.

Mission:  Threads of Peru supports Quechua weavers of Peru and their ancient textile traditions. By connecting weavers to an international market for their craft, we help to preserve their ancient culture and provide communities with important economic opportunity.

Threads of Peru offers high quality clothing, accessories and home decor which fit contemporary lives and fashions. Our products are created using traditional methods of hand production, which are environmentally sustainable, and serve to preserve the rich cultural heritage of the descendants of the Inca.

Location:  Peru
Online shops:  Threads of Peru on eBay
Blog: Threads of Peru
Other Social Media:  Twitter, Squidoo
Languages spoken: 
English, Spanish

Threads of Peru

Authentic Andean Textiles from Threads of Peru - Angie Hodder on Vimeo.

Tags:  Peruvian textiles, alpaca scarf, wool belt, table runner, shawl, woven handbag, native clothes, indigenous decor, andean art, handicrafts Peru 

B. J. Adams/Art in Fiber

Summer Flowers triptych, Machine Embroidery by B. J. Adams, 14"x32"

Free-motion sewing machine embroidery, as a technique, is an extension of my drawing and painting life. The sewing machine became my brush, hundreds of colors of thread have become my paint, and textiles are my ‘support’ to use a painting synonym.

My art work has been commissioned and created for public buildings and private residences and shown in museums and galleries in the USA and abroad. 

Artist's Statement:  While working on one piece, another idea often emerges, and it is this constant, stimulating flow that causes my work to evolve, to create new series, and to seek different themes. The unusual or commonplace materials and techniques I use, the focus required by the slow working process of this art, and the infinite available subjects, keep my work ever-changing, challenging, and always motivating.

Location:  Washington, DC USA
Online shop:  B. J. Adams Art
Social Media:  Twitter
   Friends of Fiber Art International
   Surface Design Association
   Studio Art Quilts Associates
Languages spoken:  English

Wide Load, Free-Motion Embroidery by B. J. Adams, 35"x31"

Tags:  art, embroidery, fiber, quilts, drawing, painting, innovative, unusual, mixed media, color


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