OK.. so, after months of being sworn to secrecy, we can finally tell you that Cultured Expressions Sewing Studio is one of the 10 featured quilt shops in the Fall 2021 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine!!! AND a shot of our interior was chosen for THE COVER of the issue!!

Used with permission from Quilt Sampler® magazine. ©2021 Meredith Corporation.
All Rights Reserved.

Plus, I created an exclusive project just for this issue…

Taking inspiration from various cultures, this hand-stitched applique pillow features vibrant African prints in a free-style composition.  I combined these unique fabrics with elements borrowed from the Siddi quilts, an African quilting tradition found in India, and from Japanese boro cloths.

We have kits available online, with 10 African fabric prints and batiks, nine balls of Eleganza perle cotton by Wonderfil Specialty Threads, in a limited edition CE box set, and background fabric to create a 16″ pillow.

Kits and magazines will be available beginning August 30 — pre-order yours now; kit quantities are limited!!

Actually, it’s been a busy year at Cultured Expressions from the start (which accounts for the lack of blog posts) but to get everyone up to speed:

First of all… the NEW CE WEBSITE was launched in early July!!! It will allow us to offer you more, so stay tuned for the latest developments!

AND we have a special exhibit coming up in nearby Woodbridge, NJ, at the Barron Arts Center. From September 10 thru 26, you can see “African Accents: Modern Designs from Traditional Textiles” mix of Cultured Expressions pieces – quilts, handbags, home accents — as a part of the center’s year-long event, “TEXTILES: Reimagining New Jersey”.

Opening Reception: Friday, September 10, 7-9pm (Face masks, social distancing will be observed)

An online version of the display will also be available once it opens (link to follow). ; ) Enjoy!! — lisa

More on the exhibit…

The 50-piece African Brilliance Collection (ABC) 5″ square pre-cuts available thru CulturedExpressions.com (assortments will vary)

Who Doesn’t Love a Great Ankara Print?

… And Welcome to all of our new list members, including new friends from the Global Quilt Connection event this past weekend!!
Is anyone else beginning to feel re-energized? Maybe it’s the weather, or the gradual lifting of Covid restrictions, or working through various CE tasks, with an eye toward the next ones — probably a combination, and I’m taking full advantage of it all. The colors and patterns of ankara prints seems to fit my mood perfectly and so I declare Spring 2021 as Official Ankara Season ; ) Let’s do this!!!

First, I’ll be a guest instructor this summer for two virtual (Zoom) events on Pattern Review! Join me on June 17 as I present “All About Ankara Fabrics”, discussing their unique appeal and cultural significance, how to mix the colors and bold motifs, and even a bit about their international history. REGISTER for the Lecture
Then, you can put this knowledge to practical use on July 8 as we create our new Ankara Charm Shoulder Bag together during a LIVE Sew-Along! Be sure to register by June 24 if you’re ordering the optional kit of pre-cut 5″ squares and instructions. REGISTER for the Sew-Along.

My finally-finished quilt, “Makola on My Mind” (above) is included in a ground-breaking exhibit of black artists at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO. “Testimony: African American Artists Collective” is a collaboration between the museum and the KC-based African American Artists Collective (a Fabrigasm LIVE sponsor!!). The exhibit runs June 5, 2021 thru March 26, 2022, so you’ll have plenty of time to check it out. DETAILS...

This particular quilt (shown here as a work-in-progress) celebrates the unique energy of Makola Market in Accra, particularly the crowded, narrow, maze-like lanes of fabric vendors with Ankara prints. it’s my “testimony” to the richness of Ghanaian culture, mimicking the market’s everyday mix of colors and patterns that can only be described as Organized Chaos! 

PLUS…. There’s More Big News to Share but let’s save some for later ; )

Here’s exciting news!!

Fabrigasm® LIVE happens May 1-2, 2021, and wed love for you to be involved! It’s the ultimate Virtual Experience for Lovers of African Textiles… Picture Fabrigasm Magazine gone virtual, with informative panel discussions, inspiring presentations, creative demos and how-to’s, fun opportunities to Sewcialize, retail therapy and more.

Click on the registration link to check out the COMPLETE SCHEDULE

Choose from these TICKET OPTIONS:

All-Access BASIC – $15 Admission to all virtual presentations, demo, vendors and sessions on May 1-2. All

Access PLUS – $35 Includes Basic level, plus 10%OFF of (1) online order at CulturedExpressions.com thru May 9, 2021 and Pre-ordered Fabrigasm magazine issue #8, (Fall 2021)

All Access DELUXE – $85 Includes Plus level, and a World Premiere exclusive virtual sew-along to make the Ankara Charm Shoulder Bag (shown) at the end of May. Includes class and precuts

Fabrigasm LIVE – FAQs:

Is this going to be on Zoom? No, we’re using a platform called Hopin.com. You’ll need to create an account with your email address and a password to register for and access the event.

I’m not available all weekend. Can I access a recording afterwards? Yes, we will send the link to registered individuals upon request. The event will be available for limited time following the event.

I’m considering the Deluxe ticket. When will the virtual class be held? It is tentatively scheduled for Friday evening (EST), May 28. If you are not available for the sew-along, a recording will be made available to you afterwards.

What are the “Creative Critique” sessions? For each of these sessions, we invite attendees to come on live and show a current project, to get peer suggestions or input, or to just collect compliments! Share your work and make new friends!

What else do I need to have handy? You’ll want to keep a notebook nearby, and a yard of your favorite ankara or batik fabric to wrap your head with Lecretia on Saturday, or work on a cloth doll along with Kianga on Sunday! We invite you to work on your own projects thru the weekend, or just sit back, relax and soak it all in. Check out the full schedule and plan your projects accordingly!

Questions? Contact info@CulturedExpressions.com

We’ll see you soon!

Black History Minute / Sewing Edition 🤗
Most of us know that American inventor Garrett Morgan invented the traffic light, and an early version of the gas mask…
But, did you know…
He began his career as a self-taught sewing machine mechanic, and developed improvements to the machine mechanism, including the ability to create a zigzag stitch?!
Later, he and his wife, a dressmaker, ran a sewing business.
So, the next time you sew a stretch stitch, buttonhole or decorative stitch, think of Mr. Morgan ❤️🖤💚🧵

BlackHistoryIsWorldHistory #sewingmachinehistory #garrettmorgan #zigzagstitch #blackhistorymonth #americaninventors #blackinventors #blackownednj #funfact #sewingtrivia
Vanessa customized her pillows thru shape, color, pattern and firmness!

Back in March of 2020, little did we know how long our new shelter-in-place lifestyle would remain in effect. And through the past year, collectively, we’ve grown to realize the increasing significance of a comfortable home, as it evolved to also become a workplace, study space and entertainment hub for many as well.  For some, this monumental lifestyle shift pointed up the need to create (or update) the home as a true oasis, a place of safety and well-being, and yes, even style. So it’s no wonder sewing is enjoying a resurgence right now!  It’s a creative, practical, fun and economical way to upgrade your décor.  In addition, It could be the mental health boost – and the colorful distraction — you’ve been looking for!

Likewise, you can sew plush, oversized body pillows for lazy lounging while streaming your favorite shows and movies.  (Don’t forget a dogbed for your best furry friend!) By sewing your own, you control not only the fabric choice, but also the amount of firmness, the shape and size, as Vanessa learned during her recent class at Cultured Expressions Sewing Studio in Rahway.  Plus, you’ll enjoy the bragging rights that come with “I made it myself.”

Table toppers are another great choice for creativity, from full table cloths to runners, right down to placemats, cloth napkins, mugrugs and coasters.  Any of these would be a perfect choice for beginners, and can be made by machine or hand sewing, or with no-sew methods using iron-on products.

Window treatments are still another way to customize your home with ease.  When you choose fabrics with lots of visual impact, you can sew the simplest styles, letting the fabric provide the “Wow” factor.

For the bedroom, quilts are by far the most striking room-transforming choice, created in your favorite color scheme.  If you don’t have the time to devote to a full-sized bed quilt, consider stitching up a cheerful wall hanging to greet you in the morning, or a bed runner and a pair of quilted pillow covers.  The Winter 2021 issue of Fabrigasm® magazine includes a feature on creative headboard ideas, and tips and tricks for using handwoven fabrics.

Finally, be sure to get the kids involved in your home-enhancing projects – creating with fabrics, beads, needle, thread and glue can expose them to a fun new hobby as well as an important life skill.  And maybe more important, it gives them a much needed break from the excessive screen time demands of their online lessons.

For information on private sewing classes, fabrics, kits, Fabrigasm magazine and more at-home DIY inspiration, visit the Cultured Expressions Sewing Studio in Rahway or call 866-MUDCLOTH. You’ll find info on online classes at SewcialDistance.com.

It’s been a long time, but I’m pleased to report that Fabrigasm, the Magazine for Lovers of African Textiles, is back with issue #7, ending a 3-year hiatus mostly due to the opening of the Cultured Expressions Sewing Studio in Rahway.

This issue includes an interview with Denver-based fiber artist Valerie C. White, three projects, some exclusive CE recipes, tips for headboard decor and handwoven fabric how-to’s, features on sewcial distancing, and much more. My fellow goat lovers will also be happy to see the return of the Goat Gallery ; ). The issue ships beginning December 15 and can be ordered online.

Fabrigasm Magazine, Issue #7, published by Cultured Expressions, Inc

It’s finally here, just in time for the holiday season! Introduce the little people in your life to the beauty of creating with African cotton prints, bogolan/mudcloth from Mali, beads from Ghana and more! Designed for ages 6 and up, the Crafty Kids African Fabrics Activity Pack offers a unique mix of supplies and instructions for seven projects, plus interesting cultural facts about the fabrics and beads. Children can make our fun & easy projects, or design their own.   The Activity Pack is perfect for crafty kids of any skill level,with projects requiring a glue stick, fabric glue, or sewing includes:  

  • (10) African Prints
  • (2) Bogolan / Mudcloth Strips
  • Beads & Cowrie Shells
  • (3) Blank Cards & Envelopes
  • (1) Mini Art Canvas
  • Waxed Cotton Cord
  • Jewelry Stretch Cord
  • Ribbon
  • Instructions for 7 Projects
  • Interesting Cultural Facts
CraftyKids Activity Pack includes everything shown above!
…packaged in an attractive clear PVC box

  Crafty Kids introduces young people (and adults alike) to African fabrics and beads, allowing them to craft with cultural relevance…It’s “Creativity, Africanized”!!  With bright colors and easy instructions, it makes the perfect gift, or Mommy/Daddy and Me activity. Comes in gift-ready clear PVC packaging – just add a bow! (Package includes loose beads – recommended for ages 6 and up.) $49.95  

Shipping DECEMBER 1 — Reserve yours Now!

Kori and Collin get creative with fabrics and cardstock, included in the Crafty Kids Pack!

…along with the rest of the world! With workshops, trunk shows, sew-alongs and virtual visits for shopping, Cultured Expressions continues to evolve and adjust to the virtual world, and I have to say, it’s been pretty cool! Here’s the rundown as of November 2020, starting with on-demand workshops…

REGISTER NOW for these classes! You can also order fabric for the Ankara String Quilt or a Supply Kit that makes 3 of the pouches

GROUPD OFFERINGS: We’re also arranging LIVE online classes, sew-alongs and trunk shows via Zoom for guilds and informal groups. You’ll find details at SewcialDistance.com.

AND… You can shop the studio from the comfort of your home by booking a “Virtual Visit” using your choice of Zoom, Google Duo or WhatsApp. At the appointed time, we take you thru the studio via your cell phone, you make your selections, we take payment by phone (or send you a Paypal invoice) and a few days later, your package arrives! Book your Virtual Visit online here. Once you book, you can even invite a friend located in another city and shop together via Zoom!

I know, that shouldn’t exactly be a major headline for the owner of a sewing studio, but time has been tight over thesthe last several months, so it was really a treat to take some MeTime!

I did a quick New Look top in a gorgeous piece of adire cloth by my friend and master indigo artist Gasali Adeyemo. I opted for a zipper instead of the buttons but otherwise kept it straight-forward. And I love it!!!  Sidebar: if I  get tired of the sidewings, I’ve already figured out how to convert them into pockets! 😜

What’s everyone else working on??