Mediterranean Folk Embroidery

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 my little daughter Georgia running across to play with buttons, or one of my older daughters coming to finish a sticharion or kontorasson, our 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 ancient Roman designs, designs truly woven through history. An avid needleworker myself, I have spent the past 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 the New World, so that others can share in the joy and beauty these textiles shine forth. My desire has always been to make these designs approachable and practical for everyone, not just those with needlework skills, which is why I offer both ready-made embroideries alongside traditional folk embroidery kits.

I hope you enjoy visiting our courtyard and experiencing the joy of embroidery!

Krista West