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 first 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 collaborated with her father to make her own furniture, is an enthusiastic fermenter, a certified yoga therapist, and uses her own hand-thrown pottery daily.