In the mid-90s Melissa Mayers Lewis took up quilting after two years of working full time while also pursuing a master’s degree. Working with needle and thread got her out of her head and into her creativity. It was soothing, grounding and forged a common bond with a grandmother she never knew. For many years traditional and contemporary quilting and doll making helped her stay balanced during her career as a communication skills consultant/speaker and later a hospital chaplain.
Recently Melissa found new inspiration by challenging herself to use every last scrap of fabric left over from another project. As the pieces got smaller and smaller (pieces that would normally end up in the trash) the work became more and more interesting, leading to an improvisational technique she calls “quilted lace.”
No longer limited by the assumption that fiber art requires sizable cuts of pristine fabric, she relishes the hunt for hidden textile treasure in thrift stores, clearance bins and other hiding places where misfit fabrics long to be rescued and transformed. Wool socks become sweaters for tiny farmers, a thrift store coat lining becomes sheep fleece, a garish pillow cover becomes island grass, medical scrub tops become lacy gardens of color. Manipulating needle, thread and fabric keeps Melissa grounded in this hectic modern world. Melissa rescues fabrics, and the fabrics return the favor.
A northern Virginia native, Melissa now lives in Weaverville, NC with her husband Ray.
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