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Since early childhood I have been fascinated by the connection between culture and needlework. While it’s an art form that has evolved over centuries based on society, region, and time period, each piece holds such a personal signature, and tells a complex story of the individual and his or her life. When I started the Tapestree Project in 2013, my purpose was to simply create an ongoing timeline of my own life through my favorite medium—cross stitch—in the spirit of a traditional sampler. After five years of progress, I realized that the resulting motifs formed a very tangible connection to my own history, both visual and emotional, and that the act of documenting moments and events through hours of focused needlework established more vivid memories.

As the project grew, I was thrilled to receive messages from friends and strangers who were interested in starting their own tapestrees, and decided to design a basic pattern and instructional packet that could be utilized with the stitcher’s choice of fabric and thread. I love seeing the unique perspectives and personalities on every cloth, and am reminded again of historical needlework and how every piece is rooted to the individual.