INSPIRE

FeelGood Features: Sam Mikolon

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

Instagram: @sammikolon

About Sam:

Third generation quilter probably more but I don’t know much of the older generations.
Taught by my Mother who I still sew with and learn from.
February will be my two year anniversary behind the machine.

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?

About to start cutting bedsheets this week for a king size quilt I’m making for a friend. They said make whatever I want and I couldn’t be happier. Everything is second hand except the batting and the thread I’ll use to quilt it. All the threads I use for joining pieces though are from grab bags I get at estate sales, which can more times than not prove to be pretty frustrating but I don’t mind doing the work. What’s the point of doing this tedious punishing craft if you’re lazy and just wanna slap easy stuff together? Make your masterpiece and be proud of the hundreds of hours put into 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!

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