Bringing Byzantium Home

About Avlea:

My name is Krista West and I have worked for over 20 years as a Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical tailor, making vestments and paraments for churches and clergy in 48 states and 7 countries. I do all of this from a backyard workshop in Portland, Oregon that is attached to my home by a large courtyard. We cross this courtyard many times every day as we pass from home to workshop and workshop to home. Whether it’s little Georgia running across to play with buttons, or one of my older daughters coming to finish a sticharion or kontorasson, the courtyard is a busy hub between our work and home life.

In Greek, “αυλή” means courtyard and so I named this collection of beautiful folk-inspired textiles for the busy center of my family’s home. The courtyard is also the place where embroideries would have often been worked in ancient times, women chatting and stitching over the centuries as they brought beauty, color, and style into their homes.

On my many trips to Greece, I have been delighted to explore historic Greek folk embroidery, much of which is inspired from Byzantine and even ancient Roman designs. An avid needleworker myself, I have spent the last few years locating sources for historic patterns as well as traditional ground cloths, which are essential for authenticity, and working these designs for my own home, all the while falling in love with their colors, patterns, and lively connection to the past.

My dream is to bring these designs to America, to “bring Byzantium home”, so that others can share in the joy and beauty these textiles shine forth. While the needleworking arts are not dead in the New World, my desire has always been to make these designs approachable and practical for everyone, not just those with needlework skills, which is why I am thrilled to offer embroideries that can be purchased ready-made, alongside traditional folk embroidery supplies.

I hope you enjoy visiting our courtyard!

Krista West