With 350 miles between them, distance doesn’t keep Norma and Emily Colman apart, especially when it comes to running their shared business. Called “Fibergig,” this mother-daughter team works to “extend the life” of used fabric and yarn to create fiber objects for people, places and sacred spaces. They call this process “upcycling stewardship.”
“I love fabric,” says Norma, who owns Studio Three 17 art studio. Fibergig is a branch of her studio. While Norma creates the designs, Emily oversees the online shop and social media.
“I have sewn professionally for 44 years,” says Norma. “One of my greatest joys is to work with people to create something unique for them. I generally start with plain white fabric, dye and paint, cut and reassemble and paint again to create a complex image that draws people in.”
In an interview at “The Dor” – an interactive exhibit hall where thousands of women gather to create, shop, and listen – Norma told a story about taking a vintage wedding grown and repurposing the fabric to create two Christening gowns and bridal handkerchiefs for the children of the woman who wore the wedding gown. “There is no greater joy than creating something new for the next generation,” she said.
“The Dor” was part of the Ninth Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA held July 24-27 in Charlotte, N.C. More than 2,000 women attended the gathering under the theme, “of many generations.” “Dor” means “generation” in Hebrew.
While embodying the theme of the gathering in many ways, Norma and Emily stitch, alter and embellish to create bold change. They also donate 25 percent of their sales to support Lutheran world hunger projects. “We seek a life of daily stewardship and seasonal celebration,” says Norma, “witnessing to God’s grace and goodness.”
Norma and Emily keep in touch daily through video calls, email, text messaging and phone. And, according to Norma, “distance has honored our ability to serve others near and far.”
Melissa Ramirez Cooper/ELCA News Service