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Meet Trailblazer Brooke Biette

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brooke Biette.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I learned to quilt at a very early age by my mother, who was always sewing things. I started selling on etsy and have since opened my own online shop via my website. I moved cross country alone from Maine in 2014, first to LA to do a quilting insternship, then to Prescott, AZ and I currently live in Tucson, AZ. My love of road trips, discovery, landscapes and my experiences helped me to continue creating my brand, hence my sub-title of Explore Create Connect. I learned to dye my own fabrics and incorporate them into my quilt work, which is based on my surroundings and the moments I have with the people in them. A bit of a diary I suppose, when words fail me in at my most inspired.

Has it been a smooth road?
I left behind a creative path that was based on following the quilt patterns of others using popular designer fabrics, to pave my own with my own inspired designs and my own handmade fabrics. At first, I thought that this might hinder me, as I had nothing to rely on but my own creativity and voice. But once I discovered that my voice was strong and that I had stories to tell through my quilt work and color play, my confidence grew. This was not a smooth road, as I believe as artists so often our own criticism is our worst enemy. Breaking out of the mold means truly listening to ourselves and what we feel, what inspires us, both good and bad. In my work, I tell stories that are both beautiful and painful. Facing these stories every day, things that I have been through, things that I have loved and lost, is never easy – but the reward always comes with the projects – connecting to people through what I’m saying and making. And the final projects themselves honor the struggles and the lessons learned. My advice is always to keep pursuing what you love and what you feel. Knowing that within art and our hearts, there is no right or wrong. Keep following that path, no matter what it shows you. We are here to learn about ourselves and others and are here to tell our truths. Loving what we do, despite it all, is the most important thing, and it takes a lot of focus and hard work.

We’d love to hear more about apriltwoeighty quilts + dye studio.
I mainly make quilts with my dyed fabrics, but I also offer coordinating pillow covers and often sell my dyed fabrics for others to use as well. Quilts tell the larger stories, pillow covers are the smaller versions. The fabrics are the tools. Each of my quilts, pillow covers, and fabrics are one of a kind, each is completely unique and can never be fully replicated. The colors I choose, the way the dyes paint the fabrics, my placement of them within each piece is fully intuitive based on the emotion, words, or vision I am conveying. This to me, I believe sets my work apart – the stories woven in, and the fact that each piece is handmade from supplies to the last stitch. I am most proud of my process – starting with dyeing the fabrics and then using them to create with. It really brings a sense of full ownership of my work to me, and I believe that the hard work (both dyeing and quilting are long processes) shows through in my designs.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
Historically, quilting has been a longtime female dominated craft. There are now many male designers, quilters, fabric artists. But I believe that still there are many many strong-voiced and incredibly talented female quilters in the world. And more and more in this modern art world, we are being noticed and appreciated aside from making a blanket you put on a bed. Many of the fabric design houses are full of women creators. Many of the pattern artists are women. The quilting community is like any other, however – there are cliques and groups, that can make being an independent artist like myself feel out of place. I do think, though, that there is a steady uprising of quilt artists who create their own fabrics instead of using whatever is popular or who are making their own designs instead of using pre-made patterns. There is nothing wrong with using these tools at all, don’t get me wrong – but I prefer to see them as a starting point as opposed to the only option. This may not be the popular opinion and is not the easiest route. But I do find the online quilting community through social media especially to be limiting at times. The businesses with 10k followers and larger audiences tend to be affiliated with external companies, while some of us who are independent must build our own audiences piece by piece every day.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Brooke Biette, Jonathan Eller

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