When Rebecca Hughes was ten years old, she saw a rug hanging on the wall at the home of a family friend. In Ukraine, where she was raised as a missionary kid, the visual culture is packed with striking color, texture, and pattern. It made her little eyes shine to see something that typically goes underfoot hanging on the wall like that. “I thought it was so cool,” Rebecca recalls warmly. “A lot of times we don’t notice things that are on the floor.” The memory of something as utilitarian as a rug being displayed as fine art stuck with Rebecca. Today, she is the brain and hands behind The Fibery, creating winsome weavings and stitching them into pillows and objects for the home. Her pieces are lovely, utilitarian objects that she knows will grace any room with tactile beauty—just like the hanging rug from her childhood memory.
It all starts with the fiber. The earthy texture of African mudcloth, the opulent charm of Lithuanian linen, the luxurious glide of Merino wool. Rebecca finds them on the Internet, choosing to buy from small businesses, often in their countries of origin. Then, she dreams up an idea, working it out and smoothing it over until it’s real enough to sketch on paper. Once her loom is warped and yarn is moving through, the freedom comes to make changes as she goes. Rebecca’s process is an intuitive one. She will often adapt her original design as she works, letting the weaving lead the way. So far, it’s working out for her. She’s got one craft show under her belt and another coming up soon—she’ll be exhibiting at the Indie Craft Parade later this month. Her pieces, which vary from fine linen napkins and Batik table runners to her bread-and-butter handwoven pillows, are high-end interior treasures that are forged through true artistic free-flow.
Looking around her home studio—laden with nature-toned stacks of fabric and woven works in various states of completion—it’s hard to believe Rebecca when she says she hasn’t always been particularly crafty. “I would do cross-stitch,” she shares, the ones that have a color-by-number style picture blocked out. “I always got kind of bored with it.” Turns out, all she was missing was the creative aspect. Rebecca left Ukraine to come to college in the States, and during her sophomore year at Bob Jones University she pivoted toward interior design. “After my freshman year, I was cleaning the house of a lady that was an interior designer and her daughter was an architect, and when I went back to school I changed my major.”
Through Bob Jones’ interior design program, Rebecca learned how to put aesthetics to work. A senior-year internship at Knack, the furniture studio and shop of seasoned local artist Barb Blair, earned Rebecca a crash course in the importance of community and making creativity work for you. “She introduced me to the world of making and makers, [taught me] about supporting local sources and artists . . . I learned to be more observant.” After getting a taste of the rich community of local makers, Rebecca dove in. She took a weaving workshop from Mary Hamby of Twenty Two West, and fell in love with it. It was something substantial that also served a need for visual interest. Out of her newly acquired skill as a weaver, The Fibery was born, combining Rebecca’s love of texture, meaningful objects, and home spaces.
Rebecca makes every piece for The Fibery within the four walls of her own home, in a small studio room meticulously organized with fabric stacks, wool roving, and Merino yarn. On weekends and evenings, she is generally there, weaving and sewing. Working from home in both a professional and creative capacity amplifies the need for community, so Rebecca works it in. “Sometimes I go over to my friends’ pottery studio [and] work on my weaving there.” She finds the company constructive, noting that when working alone it’s easy to “run into a brick wall.” Working alongside fellow makers is just one of Rebecca’s tools for getting artistically unstuck.
In weaving, all threads are connected. The weft thread touches each warp, over and under until the picture’s complete. Rebecca shines with gratitude when recalling the moments that have led her to launch The Fibery. The passing of a skill from one set of hands to hers, the sharing of creative space, the opportunity to fill homes with meaning. It’s a pay-it-forward kind of satisfaction, like a thread running through a loom.
For more information on The Fibery, visit Rebecca Hughes’s booth at the Indie Craft Parade, September 13–15, or go to thefibery.com.