It’s episode #125 and I’m chatting with Heidi Parkes, quilter, artist and educator.

The way I met Heidi is another delightful story of people following their interests through clicks until, eventually, the connection point happens. 

In 2018, I was a guest on Amber Magnolia Hill’s podcast, Medicine Stories. Heidi listened to our conversation, then looked me up and subscribed to my newsletter list. I had no idea. 

She stayed on my newsletter list, and then, last year, just after I’d discovered a delightfully genuine quilter named Zak Foster on Instagram and started following him, I saw a post he shared about a collaboration he does with Heidi. So i clicked through and though, oooo, another neat textile artist.

Then, I sent out a newsletter story about a program I offer called Blood Mending. The referrence to hand sewing and mending caught Heidi’s attention and she replied to the e-mail to share her response. And then, we slowly became friends and collaborators.

So of course, I want to have her on the podcast, because we’re kindred spirits and more importantly, she does things that have to do with the themes of this podcast and my work – working with personal stories through art – in Heidi’s case, quilts – and an interest in healing, the body and story. Here’s a little more about her before we jump into the conversation…

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.

Now based in Milwaukee, her quilting and mending celebrate the hand, and her works tug at memories and shared experience.  Often using specific textiles, like an heirloom tablecloth, bed sheet, or cloth teabag, Heidi adds subtle meaning and material memory from the start.  

Ever curious, she works with a variety of quilting techniques including visible hand piecing and knots, improvisation, patchwork, and applique. 

Heidi pursues her passion for teaching by lecturing and leading workshops, and shares her creative process with thousands on Instagram. Heidi has exhibited in art and textile museums across the country and was an Artist in Residence at Milwaukee’s Lake Park through the ARTservancy with Gallery 224 in fall 2020-21.  

Additionally, Heidi lives a handmade lifestyle, sewing her own clothes, fermenting, eating from pottery she made a decade ago, and practicing hand yoga, which she shares with other creatives on her YouTube channel.

It was so lovely to connect with Heidi, and I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy listening in.



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Episode Transcript – coming soon

(note: the transcript is autogenerated by AI and is about 85% accurate)