I met Sheri Shumacher at Sloss Furnace in Birmingham when we were vendors at the Southern Maker's event. We exchanged business cards and chatted about Auburn and mutual acquaintances. She was complimentary of our linens and we went our separate ways.
Sheri is an artist who works primarily in textiles. Her work is detailed, thoughtful and beautifully composed. She reached out shortly after our meeting at Southern Makers and asked if we had any remnant fabrics she could work with. I was honored that she would want to work with our fabric and thought it was special but I was also so intrigued to see what she would do. Further, I'm forever on the hunt for ways to use our remnant fabric rather than have it go to waste.
I hate waste. Just in general... wasted opportunities irritates me. That's why we make our tea towels — I hate to see good fabric go to waste.
I gladly sent Sheri a box of our scrap fabric in natural, white and our ticking stripe print. Over the next year, I probably sent three boxes of scrap fabric for her to work with on multiple projects.
In August of 2018, we started seeing little pieces of her work with our remnants on Instagram. It was so incredibly inspiring and fun to see our fabric be put to use in a completely different way.
Sheri first created several pieces with our fabric, one of which would hang at the Wiregrass Museum. They were wonderfully composed but the most interesting thing to me was the hand-stitched old quilting techniques like this spiral design called a "pine burr". The Pine Burr Quilt was designated the official quilt of Alabama by the Alabama Legislature on March 11, 1997. So, this has special significance for us.
In January, Sheri let me know she had been commissioned by a design firm to do 11 art pieces that would be hung in the Eagle Cottages at the Alabama Gulf State Park.
The 11 textile works will be hung in the Eagle Cottages at the Alabama Gulf State Park in May, eaglecottagesatgsp.com. The cottage renovation project is directed by Interior Designer Paige Harris, Principle of Studio Abode, in Atlanta, GA. One of the components of the renovation is to become a National Geographic approved accommodation. A requirement of this certification includes the procurement of locally manufactured and sourced goods so a project like this fit right in!
"When asked in an interview how I would finish the sentence, ‘What if, . . .?’ my response was “What if I only use repurposed linens, garments and fabric in my work and collaborate with sustainable companies like @RedLandCotton to repurpose their textile remnants.” Contacting designer Anna Brakefield the following week was the start of a remarkable relationship with Red Land Cotton that led to innovative textile design exploration and a commission of 11 quilt wall hangings for the Alabama Gulf State Park cottages using primarily RLC fabric remnants. The high quality design of Red Land Cotton heirloom linens made with locally sourced material, cotton grown on their Alabama family farm, was a perfect resource for my textile works and supported a practice of design that values economy, ingenuity and beauty. Anna generously provided fabric remnants in a range of sizes which encouraged a design process of discovery through the act of making and the physical engagement with fabric. The weight, colors and pattern of the RLC fabric was a source of inspiration for textile works based on Alabama’s regional farmland and the Gulf Coastal Plain landscape."