In Stitches

Heidi Iverson of Honeyfolk Clothing

Iverson teaches fiber art workshops in-person and online.
Photo by Paige Green

Heidi Iverson, a founding member of Fibershed, is a textile artist, clothing designer, and natural dye advocate who focuses on minimum waste practices. She teaches classes in natural dying, mending, and slow stitching and lives in a second-growth redwood forest in western Sonoma County with her husband and two ridiculous cats.

Made Local: Tell us about how you began your fiber arts career.

Heidi Iverson: It began when my grandmother taught me how to embroider and crochet when I was six. After that, I started making abstract quilts, clothing, and costumes, which eventually led to knitting and soft sculpture. My love of textiles just grew and evolved and is still evolving.

ML: What are the main projects you’re working on right now?

HI: I have three main projects now. I’m designing and illustrating a series of hand-sewn patchwork patterns. I’m also documenting all the possible natural dye plants within a five-mile radius of my studio and creating a series of textile-based works celebrating the hidden colors and plant magic. The biggest project is a book that I’m not able to discuss in detail at this time.

ML: Your work has evolved over the years—you layer in new things—from knitting and natural dyes to sewing and mending—and zines! Tell us how you get inspired.

Naturally dyed embroidery floss is one of Iverson’s specialties. Photo by Heidi Iverson

HI: My inspiration comes from the plants and landscapes that surround me. I love exploring and experimenting and finding joy in mundane things. I think it’s really important to step outside of your comfort zone and celebrate mistakes. It’s how we learn, and it changes how we see things.

ML: Handwork is a bit of a lost art these days. We buy fast fashion, and don’t generally make our own things. Why do you think there is a need today for work done with the hands?

HI: Handwork and stitching are wonderful ways to set intentions, hold heart space, and create a visual dialog that expresses what can’t always be expressed with words. Working with our hands is very grounding and meditative. It teaches us how to slow down in a world that is constantly bombarding us with information telling us to do more, want more, and consume more.

ML: You’ve been involved with the Fibershed movement for many years. How has Fibershed impacted your work and how might you have impacted the movement?

Iverson gets hands-on with an indigo vat. Photo by Heidi Iverson

HI: The Fibershed has had a massive influence on my work. It was my first introduction to natural dyes and slow fashion. It made me think about my clothing in a different way. I don’t know if I feel like I’ve had a significant impact on the movement. But I love sharing my experiences and making slow crafts like natural dying and mending more accessible.

ML: What workshops are you teaching in May-June?

HI: I’m teaching a new workshop from June 19 to 23 during Art Stays at Emandal in Willits. It’s all about exploring slow stitching and intuitive embroidery. We’ll be learning a variety of hand stitches and sewing techniques while making a stitch journal to celebrate the Summer Solstice. I also teach a casual class online every month for all my Patreon members. It varies from patchwork projects, embroidery stitches, and natural dyes.

ML: How do you think art—and handwork in particular—has changed your outlook on life?

HI: Art, and handwork in particular, has made me appreciate the functionality and beauty of everyday objects, especially textiles. I’ve always felt that art teaches you a different way of seeing. I love making things with my hands that can be used. I find it grounding and meditative. Handwork is my way of telling a story without words. Especially when I make a garment that I love and wear, mending it and layering it with naturally dyed fabric and stitches, over-dying it with indigo, extending its life and giving it more time to tell another story.


What is Fibershed?

In 2010, Rebecca Burgess established Fibershed in the San Francisco Bay Area, aiming to address the ecological and societal consequences of the textile industry. Fibershed is a non-profit that cultivates regional fiber systems that foster ecosystem and community well-being. Burgess coined the term “Fibershed” to represent a local textile system prioritizing raw materials, supply chain transparency, and interconnectedness from skin to soil.

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