We are so excited to kick off our new weekly series, FeelGood Features, with quilt artist Sam Mikolon! FeelGood Features will do exactly what its name implies: feature a new fiber artist each week. Our goal is to feature artitsts that work primarily with upcycled/recycled and sustainable materials. Because it’s not only important WHY we quilt, but it’s also important HOW we quilt. Our hope is that this series will introduce you to artists that you will love learning about and demonstrate the ways in which you, too, can incorporate sustainable materials into your craft. Thanks for being here!
FeelGood Feature: Samuel J.E. Mikolon
Why do you feel called to use upcycled or recycled materials in your work?
Fabric is expensive and I used to work music venues so my job ain’t coming back anytime soon if it even does. There’s just sheets of quality fabric all over thrift stores, and if I can get a king size flat sheet for $5 I have a lot more wiggle room. Even cheap fabric that isn’t worth using is around $5 a yard.
How did you get started using these types of materials?
I started collecting my friends old blown out black denim jeans and then one night on IG I saw how this quilter gave a whole new life to a quilt beyond repair by doing what I believe is called faux cathedral windows pattern with blue jeans. Once I saw that I knew how my first denim quilt was gonna go.
How do you source your materials?
Goodwill, Value Village, Craigslist, and estate sales.
Were there any particular challenges or surprises to using upcycled materials?
Denim is a nightmare to work with, I love it though. Be prepared to break some needles, or maybe that’s just me and my novice ways.
What would be your advice to someone who is curious about using sustainable materials in their own work?
Advice? Have at it, make your mistakes and just put your head down and work through them. I’ve spent almost as much time with the seam ripper as I have with the machine.
What project are you working on now and how would you describe it?
Thank you, Sam! For more of Sam’s work, follow him on Instagram @sammikolon. And check out this article on the Huffington Post, where he was featured as a quilter that will make you want to take up a new hobby during the pandemic!