heidi Parkes'
the Art of quilting by hand
workshop details



Hand sewing is a unique art, in that machines cannot replicate what the hand can do. A careful look will reveal that machine sewing twists two lines of thread, and hand sewing creates a dotted line with a single line of thread. Heidi is known for her emphasis on visible handwork, believing that if you take the time to sew something by hand, that work should be seen. She also lovingly infuses meaning and storytelling in her quilts, and will work with students to create inspiring compositions. Along those lines, students will be encouraged to bring their own fabrics, either hand dyed, newly purchased, or found while thrifting or in the back of their linen cabinet. Students might not complete their quilting in class, but they will learn the required techniques to hand sign and bind to finish their quilts. Freed from a machine, Heidi loves having a ‘go bag,’ with handwork ready at all times, so that she can sew in friend’s homes, airplanes, and waiting rooms. Heidi deeply believes that hand piecing, hand embroidery, hand quilting, hand mending, and hand sewing connect her with makers from centuries past and has come to find a deep appreciation for how much she can make with very few tools, just a desire to make, and a few scraps of time. She can't wait to share her love of hand quilting and sewing and the gifts, talents and techniques that weave joy through her life in many ways.

As part of our self-care during this experience, Heidi will incorporate hand yoga. It is her deep wish to teach her students not only how to create handwork, but also how to care for their hands through proper alignment, thoughtful thimble choices and protective grippers. 

Residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Heidi can often be found at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Art, and is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She teaches and exhibits her hand quilting and hand mended clothing across the country. Heidi believes in living a handmade lifestyle, and loves making her own clothing, furniture, and food. She’s also a certified yoga therapist since 2014, and has been practicing yoga since 2008.

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Before Heidi Parkes was born in Chicago, IL in 1982, her grandmother organized a collaborative family quilt to commemorate her birth. This set the tone for a life centered on the handmade-raised in a home where sewing, mending, cooking, canning, woodworking, photography, ceramics, painting, and plasterwork were the norm.

Heidi is a quilter and mender living in Milwaukee, WI. She received her BFAEE from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005, and was a high school art teacher in Naperville, IL for 9 years. Heidi continues to pursue her passion for teaching by lecturing and leading workshops across the country. She shares her creative process with thousands on Instagram. In 2016, Heidi won 1st place in Handwork and second place in Improvisation at The Modern Quilt Guild’s QuiltCon, and is now a returning instructor there. Heidi has exhibited in The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Art, The New England Quilt Museum, The Charles Allis Art Museum, The John Michael Kohler Art Museum, and more. Heidi was an Artist in Residence at Have Company in Grand Rapids, MI. Celebrating the hand is an essential component in Heidi’s clothing repairs and quilts. She is inspired by the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi. Whether visibly hand-pieced, intricately machine-pieced, or a wholecloth quilt, her art is infused with meaning and history, employing traditional techniques including: Korean Jogakbo, Seminole patchwork, American knots and improvisation, Japanese and Indian big stitch hand quilting, and European hand embroidery. Often using specific textiles, like an heirloom tablecloth or bed sheet, Heidi adds subtle meaning and material memory from the start. Additionally, Heidi collaborates with her father to make her own furniture, is an enthusiastic fermenter, a certified yoga therapist, and uses her own hand-thrown pottery daily.