I am a lifelong seamstress with a passion for handmade textile items. I learned to sew, embroider, crochet, and knit when I was a child. My needlework skills followed me as an adult and improved with practice and self-education.
A couple years ago, I came to a point where I wanted to share my love for fiber arts and get involved with other sewers. So, I joined the Red Stone Glen Fiber Arts Center book club. The center teaches fiber arts classes, particularly weaving, and the book club members read and discuss related books. The first book I read when I joined was The Indigo Girl: A Novel by Natasha Boyd. This was a historical fiction account of how sixteen-year-old Eliza Lucas produced indigo dye in South Carolina in the 1700s. The story was so engaging that I researched and penned an article about the history of the indigo plant and dye. More book club reading followed, and a myriad of ideas sparked that led to more article writing. I wrote about the sea silk made from pen shells, Eva Palmer Sikelianos and her loom, the dowry of Greek girls, the Muscatine’s pearl button industry, the vestments of Eastern Orthodox priests, wool artifacts in the Pazyryk tribe, bookbinding stitches and more. The more I wrote, the more I liked it and the better my writing became. And then, it hit me: What do I do with these articles? Why am I writing them? How do I share them with the public?
First, I shared them with family members and friends who commented that they really liked them, and they encouraged me to continue writing. Next, I began looking for a publishing outlet–besides my website–and posted a few on The Medium, a digital publishing platform for expert and undiscovered writers. I also sent over 20 submissions to fiber arts magazines (some of which I am a subscriber): All Free Sewing, Threads, and Sew News, among others. All Free Sewing accepted two how-to articles and that was it. I had five rejections from other magazines and the rest didn’t respond at all, so assumed rejection. Some of them stated it would take 3-6 months to respond. That was disheartening, and I wondered why I even bother to write. Just filling in all the details in their submission portal took a lot of time: personal information, short biography of myself, title of the article, description, outline, pictures, attachments, and so forth. I followed their submission guidelines to the letter.
Then, last year, I discovered Piecework magazine. Piecework told stories behind historical handmade pieces of textiles: embroidered table runners, crochet doilies, knitted sweaters, projects to try, and much more. I was so drawn to these historical articles and projects from different cultures of the world that I subscribed to the magazine. As a subscriber, I received frequent newsletters with the latest articles and submission calls for upcoming magazine issues. I decided to give it a try and I sent several submissions. I waited for more than three months before I heard from their editor that she liked my ideas and hoped to see more in the future.
A couple months later, the newly appointed Piecework editor emailed me that she was interested in publishing one of my articles about the uniform of the Greek Evzones. I was thrilled! Did I read right? I re-read her email. Within a week, I had signed a contract. The article was published on November 23, 2022 on the Piecework magazine website. The same editor contracted me to write another article about the Eastern Orthodox liturgical vestments and she published it on November 30, 2022. Two articles in one month. This was terrific!
I now realize that it takes time, patience, perseverance, and passion to follow your dream. To succeed, you must love what you do and keep doing it. I am so pleased to see my work in “print” and so satisfied that it will educate hundreds of people who will read it. I am also so appreciative of the staff at Piecework magazine who chose me. Big thank you to my editor Pat Olski, Debbie Blair, Laura Rintala, and Kate Larson.