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Stitch by Stitch • by Alma Stoller

Alma StollerI have always known myself to be an artist...even before I had developed any specific skill at it. As a child, I always had a notebook full of ideas, images, words and designs.

Where those ideas would take me...or how they would evolve would take several twists and turns.

creative inheritance:
I come from a large family. I am one of seven children. My father worked as a cook and my mother worked as a factory seamstress. My immigrant parents worked long and hard yet barely made enough money to get out of the constant state of struggle.

I come from a long line of needle artists. My grandmother, my aunts and my mother are all naturally gifted in one form or another, from millenary work, embroidery to crochet.

But my mother was the artist of the everyday. She stepped up, used her skills and ingenuity to make do.

She made our own coloring books and dolls, sewed all of our clothes, crochet all of our winter wear and always had something good and warm for us to eat after school. I remember being her model. She would stand me up on a chair and measure my waist, chest, wrist. I remember winding the bobbin on her industrial Singer sewing machine. I remember going through her sewing stash collecting scraps and dreaming of what I would make with it. She was a recycling genius. I remember the multi-colored rag rug she hooked from a sack of potatoes. My mother's abilities as a seamstress completely influenced and fueled my love of the needle arts. It is what she has left for me....her legacy. It is a creative inheritance that becomes richer and richer the more I do it... and the more I share it with others. It is a brave and fearless approach to making the best out of any situation.

creative cadence and artistic evolution:
As a child, I also had a love for the dramatic arts and music....lyrics, melody, rhythm, harmony. I desperately wanted to take piano lessons but my parents couldn't afford it. As a teen, I studied drama and taught myself the rudiments of music and eventually acquired a Bachelor's degree in Music/Piano in college. Music sustained me, filled and fulfilled me. It was the art form I needed in that space and time of my life. When I became a mother I found myself playing the piano less and less and drawing and designing more and more. It was an effectless switch. I threw myself into quilting, embroidery, beadwork and crochet. I tried and loved it all. Eventually, sewing brought me back to design, and design brought me to drawing, painting, mixed media and my own 'outsider' approach to all forms of art. Sewing has opened me up to teaching at various art retreats all over the country, to writing and published works, and most recently, the launch of my new collaborative sewing workshop called STITCHED. I am proud to say that I am just like my mother. I jump in and try it all with an open heart and a fearless spirit.

remember: Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. ~Buddha

To learn more about Alma Stoller, visit


I'm so glad to see Alma's story shared here! Alma has been a wonderful influence on my own artistic journey - you go, girl!

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