advertisement

advertisement

advertisement

advertisement

Cortney Heimerl

American Made Since 2012

Cortney Heimerl

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I'm a third generation artist and quilter from Wisconsin who designs and makes one-of-a-kind heirloom quality pieces by hand.
Wisconsin

Tell us about your business.

My mom taught me how to quilt when I was in high school, but I didn't begin quilting professionally until 2012. I was pregnant with my second baby and I decided I to pursue the creative business I had always dreamed of -quilting. I began by opening up an Etsy store. The quilts sold out and since then I haven't been able to keep up. I'm inspired by the Midwest, folk art, antique textiles, pattern and contemporary art -mostly illustrators. I like creating within the constraint that naturally occurs in geometry, but I am inspired by color juxtaposition as well. I like how colors come forward and recede and how colors can vibrate next to each other. My business is currently small -just me. I am taking steps to expand, but my dream would be to create a cottage industry where all of the quilts are handmade locally and to source my materials locally as well -one of my goals as a maker is to contribute to a strong creative community. I want to pioneer this business model in my city.

What makes your business stand out?

My background is in conceptual art and visual theory and because of this I have a unique to approach quilting. I studied Fine Art and Art Theory in college and moved onto Visual Theory in grad school at NYU. Then I moved back to WI. What I learned informs my process today, but it is juxtaposed against my roots - which are inherently rural. I grew up on a small farm on the outskirts of a town of 8,000 people in central Wisconsin. When I left, my goal was to distance myself from my rural roots and embrace art in the city. I liked the idea of art with a capital A and although I grew up with a mother who was constantly creating- quilts, rugs, preserves, barn quilts, etc. I didn't connect this drive with my own and I didn't see it as a creative outlet as I recognize it today. I finally came around to my personal vision as a maker in the years following grad school. My inspiration now comes from two places - traditional quilting and contemporary art.

What's the best business advice you've received?

When I was deciding what I wanted to study in college, my uncle told me something that has always stuck with me - it was to make small decisions each day that would make me happy because all of the small decisions would eventually pave the way for big decisions and then those life-determining decisions would feel like a natural progression instead of a leap. I have kept that with me all these years and I have found that it has been true. I went to college for Fine Art, I continued on to complete my master's in Visual Theory, I wrote a book called Handmade Nation, I've traveled, I got married, I had children, we bought a house, I created my own business doing something I love to do -- it was really great advice.
Advertisement

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 9, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

    Meet the judges
  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

    See the finalists
  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

    See past Award Winners
  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.

    Buy tickets now

More Finalists

  • Vote For Me

    MitchMallows

    Mitch Greenberg
    MitchMallows -- artisanal sweet and savory unique treats handmade in New York City -- the Golden Age of Marshmallows has officially begun.
    Food, Sweets & Baked Goods
  • Vote For Me

    Baby Jives Co

    Jahje Ives
    Baby Jives Co creates heirloom mobiles and decor inspired by the magic of childhood and made to last long after the nursery is gone.
    Crafts, Fiber Crafts
  • Vote For Me

    Mystic Knotwork

    Matt Beaudoin
    Mystic Knotwork brought maritime knots back to the nautical decorators through American Made materials using over 50 years of knotting expertise
    Design, Textiles
  • Vote For Me

    Frali Gourmet

    Lisa Marra
    Frali Gourmet makes all-natural, artisan pastas, sauces, marinated vegetables and oils.
    Food, Dry Goods

advertisement

advertisement