Rashida Coleman Hale: Sew Black Live

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:34:09 Rashida Coleman Hale: Sew Black Live


This episode of the Stitch Please podcast features Naomi Johnson as host interviewing guest Rashida Coleman Hale and Lisa, live at the Modern Quilt Guild’s 10th anniversary QuiltCon event in Atlanta. Lisa explains her motivation for attending QuiltCon for the first time and shares her excitement over the increased representation of Black women and Black-owned businesses at the event. Rashida discusses debuting her new fabric line and the emotional experience of seeing Black women wearing and excited about her fabrics. The hosts share their “fangirl” moments meeting renowned Black quilters like Latifah Saafir in person.

They also discuss Lisa’s intentionality about who she chooses to collaborate with for Black Women Stitch projects, and her realization that suffering through unpaid work would not dismantle capitalism or white supremacy – but taking resources to support Black women’s crafts could. The hosts and Rashida share advice on self-care and “getting your stitch together” during difficult times. The episode celebrates community, ancestral crafts, collaboration, and joyful spaces for Black women quilters.

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Lisa Woolfork  0:00  

Hey friends, hey. As we head toward our 200th episode, I realized Stitch Please is more than a podcast. It's an archive, a resource, a community, a place for learning, exploration and good cheer. It's highly rated across platforms and nominated for awards. And it's always centered on Black women, girls and femmes, and sewing, and always provides a space to hear, learn from, and be inspired by Black creatives. To keep this unique project going, we need your help to create the change we want to see throughout September. Listen to the podcast's first ever live. Sew Black series recorded with a live studio audience in Atlanta, Georgia. I talk with sewing and quilting all stars: e bond, Sarah Bond, Nikki Griffin, Rashida Coleman Hale, Naomi Johnson, Chawne Kimber, Bianca Springer, and Sarah Trail. These amazing conversations culminate in a most special 200th episode, but the party doesn't stop there. Enter the 200th episode giveaway. With weekly prizes from AccuQuilt, including a grand prize GO! Big Electric Cutter, it's a great chance to get your stitch together, you can enter the giveaway and listen to the podcast at blackwomenstitch.org. Share our 200th episode posts on your social media. You can also donate through our tax-deductible ActBlue site or sign up for Patreon which is getting first access to some fun new projects in September. Join us as we celebrate 200 episodes of Stitch Please. The weekly podcast centering Black women, girls and femmes, and sewing, celebrating those who stitch, create and liberate. Thank you

Lisa Woolfork  1:58  

Hello stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please be official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax and get ready to get your stitch together.

Lisa Woolfork  2:36  

Black Women Stitch and the Stitch Please podcast is grateful for all the support that made Sew Black possible. Special thanks to our underwriters Spoonflower. Thanks also to Moda for generous sponsorship. Thank you Bernina for your wonderful support. Thank you also to Amtrak for partnering with us. Special thanks to those who shared resources to equip the space. This includes AccuQuilt, Aurifil, Crimson Tate, Sew Easy, Ruby Star Society, Free Spirit Fabrics, Kai Scissors. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Special thanks to Focusrite for making the lab recording possible through the donation of an audio interface. The Focusrite 18i8. Thanks to The Bridge PAI for the initial funding. And thanks also to the Modern Quilt Guild for their generous support. Thank you all so much for making this possible.

Naomi Johnson  3:42  

Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to the most special episode of the Stitch Please podcast so far. This week, I am your host, I am Naomi Johnson @naomipjohnson on Instagram. If you have been a long-time listener, you have heard me cry on this podcast every time that I have appeared in an episode. Do not expect anything other than the same today because I am so so happy to be here live from the Modern Quilt Guild's 10th Anniversary QuiltCon here in Atlanta, Georgia. Today I am talking to Lisa Woolfork, our normal host. And the fantastic and fabulous, and oh my god, I can't. Y'all we're talking to Rashida Coleman Hill today. I'm so happy to be here with y'all today.

Rashida Coleman  4:48  


Lisa Woolfork  4:49  

Hello hello.

Naomi Johnson  4:52  

Lisa and I are wearing Rashida's fabrics today. We are wearing fabrics from her linear collection that is available now. Find it wherever you can. I know it is flying off the shelves at the shop where I teach ..., outside of DC. The first thing I want to say is Rashida, thank you. 

Rashida Coleman  5:18  

Thank you.

Naomi Johnson  5:19  

Thank you so much. I'm gonna cry, be ready, cry with me. I am so happy to have women who look like me, on my body. I never could've imagined and you made that real for me. And I am so, so incredibly proud.

Rashida Coleman  5:51  

I can't even explain the feeling. I'm just seeing people wearing it. And all over. It's been everywhere. And everyone's so excited and happy about it. And it's melting my heart. I think even more so, to be here, 10 years of QuiltCon. I was a judge at the very first one. And here we are 10 years later, and I'm seeing women who look like my fabric here at the show walking around, all of you. It's so beautiful. It's the most beautiful thing I've seen here. Yeah, it's, I love it. I love it so much. 

Naomi Johnson  6:28  

Yeah. What has this QuiltCon been like for you? This is my first QuiltCon. This is Lisa's first QuiltCon.

Rashida Coleman  6:38  

I can't believe this is your first one!

Lisa Woolfork  6:40  

It is. I never wanted to come before.

Naomi Johnson  6:42  

What has it been like for you? Lisa, tell us. 

Lisa Woolfork  6:46  

Oh gosh. You know, it's been wonderful. I have been so gratified. I think I came to QuiltCon, in some ways, because I saw the photo that was taken after Latifah Saafir's lecture last year, she was the keynote. And so I saw that group of Black women and I said, "Wow, I think I should go to QuiltCon. There's a lot of Black women there. Maybe Black Women Stitch could go and this could be our first kind of public facing type of thing. And just see how it goes." You know and so, I proposed to the MQG to do this to do it as a leisure lounge and to do interviews and to make intakes and to have it be a space of leisure etc. And they were agreed and asked for it. And we met a few times to kind of work different things out. But to have it actually happen... It is incredible to me. Like-- 

Rashida Coleman  7:44  

This is the Blackest QuiltCon I have ever been to, and I'm so here for it.

Naomi Johnson  7:49  

Right. I love that.

Lisa Woolfork  7:55  

I don't... I'm glad to be here. I'm glad to have done this. I am grateful for all the support that we've got. The again the fabrics that were given from this the Spoonflower fabric right here. These fabrics. They were all designed by a Black woman, Janine Lecour. We interviewed her this morning at 10 o'clock.

Rashida Coleman  8:15  

Yeah, her work's amazing. I love her. 

Lisa Woolfork  8:17  

Yeah. And she loves you. And we we talked to Janine about her work. We said, well tell us what this is. And we were able to talk to her and tell her, I saw Janine leaving the QuiltCon, I happened to run into her and she was exiting out and she was glowing. 

Rashida Coleman  8:33  


Lisa Woolfork  8:34  

She had met her icon Nefertiti Griggs in the back, and they had hung out and she was very happy. And you know, and she just was like, Lisa, this has never happened to me before. I've never been able to sit and talk to someone about my work. I've never been able to have these kinds of engagements and dialogues. And this was what I wanted to do. I do not want to seat at everybody's table.-- 

Rashida Coleman  8:56  


Lisa Woolfork  8:57  

And I and there's a lot of tables that I do flip. But my most important thing is to build. Is to build what I need. To build. Because I know if I need it, other people need it too.

Naomi Johnson  9:10  

I have been having absolute fangirl moment at QuiltCon i really have. I know that you both are like Instagram and selling-community famous. Is there anybody over whom you continue to fangirl, even after 10 years? 

Rashida Coleman  9:31  

Oh, you know, every time I see with Lateefa, I'm like, "Lateefa is standing here." It's funny because I feel like every time I come to one of these shows, somebody comes up to me and they're like, "Hi, Lateefa."--

Lisa Woolfork  9:45  


Rashida Coleman  9:47  

Come on.--

Lisa Woolfork  9:48  

Which is hilarious, because Lateefa is not a tall person.--

Naomi Johnson  9:51  


Rashida Coleman  9:52  

Like, yeah, but every time I see her, we always joke about that and she'll come up to me, and she's like, "Hi Lateefa" and I was like, "Hi Rashida, it's so good to see you." And it's funny for us now just cause it's been happening, it's not funny.-- 

Naomi Johnson  10:09  

But it's funny.-- 

Rashida Coleman  10:10  

Yeah. But I'm always so happy to see her cause her work is amazing.

Lisa Woolfork  10:13  

It is.-- 

Naomi Johnson  10:14  

Yeah, it is.-- 

Rashida Coleman  10:15  

Yeah she's just, she just, yeah, she fills me up. I love her.

Naomi Johnson  10:18  

I told Rashida yesterday, when I came back to sewing about 10 years ago (it's been longer than that now.) But it was when Pinterest first began. And because I was searching for sewing-related things, quilting, obviously, is the thing that pops up. And I never been interested in quilting. And then I saw the glam clan.-- 

Rashida Coleman  10:43  


Naomi Johnson  10:44  

And I was like,-- 

Lisa Woolfork  10:45  


Rashida Coleman  10:46  


Naomi Johnson  10:48  

That's a quilt? I could be into that. I still haven't tried it. Because those curves, even though I make garments all the time, those curves look a little scary to me. And I know how to sew with curves now. But Lateefa is definitely a person who I, freaked out a little bit. Lisa, was there anybody who has had you just beyond?

Lisa Woolfork  11:14  

I think it's Rashida and Lateefa. I feel like, I've been so fortunate to talk to so many people on the podcast, we've got about 180 episodes. And so I've talked to lots of people, but I've not seen anybody, nobody in real life. So to see Rashida for real, for real, you know. And to like squeeze her neck and like, make her cry cause she's a cry baby. And like, you know like, all these things like, that is that to me, and you know, and Lateefa, and Shawn Kimber was here yesterday for an interview. And that was wonderful to kind of have these, you know, these different components, like, I have been so gaga about all of that. Like, "It's like, oh, my gosh, it's you again." You know, like I really have. And that's one of the great things about this Con so far for me, has been kind of making connections with Black women. Even, you know, just seeing the quotes on the wall, or at vendor stations, those who are selling, you know, we've got more Black owned, I think that QuiltCon has more Black owned businesses this year than they've ever had. Including our Fabric Stash by Deborah, who is right here in this gorgeous sequined dress, all the way from Seattle, Washington. And so, Creative Lounge and is it Mary?-- 

Naomi Johnson  12:36  

Basket Mary.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  12:37  

Basket Mary, and Cultured Expressions, so and I'm not sure there's one more--

Naomi Johnson  12:42  

There's one more I...--

Lisa Woolfork  12:44  

Sew Creative Lounge. 

Naomi Johnson  12:45  

And there's one more, she has garments in her booth. I do not know her name. Is it?--

Lisa Woolfork  12:53  

Yes, Maasai International.-- 

Naomi Johnson  12:55  

I'm so glad you said that. 

Lisa Woolfork  12:56  

Thank you Deborah.-- 

Naomi Johnson  12:57  

I should never forget that. 

Lisa Woolfork  12:59  

So, that to me feels like, I think it's wonderful that Atlanta is the 10th anniversary. I really appreciate the attention that the MQG has offered to promote and center, not center, but to promote Black artists, and Black Guild, and Black makers, and Black vendors. I mean, I think Atlanta is a Black Mecca. And so this is a perfect place to say we want more Black folks here. We want them to have a good experience, etc. And so that to me has been fun. Like my, my like, "Oh my gosh", has really just been seeing us. Yes, seeing y'all. Like, whenever I turn the corner and I see a couple of Black women walking together and I don't know em, they don't know me. I'm like, yeah, you know, like, you know, so that's to me has been the things I've been fan-girling and about just like, seeing us.--

Naomi Johnson  13:59  


Lisa Woolfork  13:59  

And having us see each other, that, it just feels, it feels so good.

Rashida Coleman  14:03  

Yeah, it really does feel so amazing. Because I feel like I've come to these shows before and kind of felt alone, honestly. Cause you know, the even the very first one it just felt like it was just me, you know? And then I started slowly seeing more of us coming and now let me look at, this is amazing. This is all I've ever wanted. And I know it's everybody's just happy to be here and everyone's just been so warm and welcoming. And yeah, I'm just happy to see see black and brown faces all over. It's it's beautiful.

Naomi Johnson  14:40  

Lisa, this, this space Sew Black is possible through collaboration. What were the things that went into your thought process in choosing folks to collaborate with for this project?

Lisa Woolfork  14:59  

I am very sensitive about who, or what Black Women Stitch does or works with. I reached out to people who could support my vision without it being compromised. And I don't want everybody's money. I don't want everybody's money. And it was a long time. I didn't want anybody's money. I didn't want anybody's money because I am doing..., this is me. This is me this like, this is my this is the value system. This is Black Lives Matter. This is not, why isn't it, instead of Black Women, why isn't it Women Stitch? Or why isn't it POC Stitch? You know, it's always, we're always meant to do everybody else's work. You know, like Zora Neale Hurston way set way back and what was it night to 1928, 2023. When Their Eyes Were Watching God first came out, she talked about Janie, the protagonist of the novel, and her grandmother said, Black women are the mules of the world. The white man has a burden, he passes it on to the Black man, the Black man has a burden, he passes it on to, you know, to the Black woman. And then we have to carry everybody's things, white women's, Black man's, Black white man's. It's like all, we carry it. All. Right. So of course, you see someone doing something with excellence. And that's exciting, but it's just for Black people. What do you mean, you're gonna put all that time and energy and resources, and it'd be just for Black people? There is 'no just for us'. We are. This is a quote from a wonderful scholar that I admire. And he says in an anti-Black world, Blackness is demanded of Black people. In a Black world, all that is required is being, just be. And this is what this space was for, to just be. It was so important to me, that whatever brand I chose to work with, would be willing to truly work with me. And that they did not hold the strings. Right. And you know what, the thing that clicked for me was it was versus this was it. My grandmother was born in 1913. That same year Delta got founded. But also, but also, but also, all right.--

Rashida Coleman  15:06  

All right, I see y'all.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  16:48  

All right. But also, but also that's the same year Harriet Tubman died. When you think about my Nana, being born, the same year Harriet Tubman died, it shows how close all of this is, I realized that I was doing all this work, all of this work, so much work. And I thought that I was honoring my ancestors by doing it for free. I thought that money was dirty. And that if I took money for something, it meant that my my intentions were not pure. So instead, I worked, and I worked, and I worked, and I worked, and I recorded, and I edited, and I stayed up late. And I did that for over 100 episodes. And then, I don't know what it is that struck me, that said, "Lisa, your Nana never got the money she deserved." And it came to me that my suffering is not going to fix capitalism. And it is not going to dismantle white supremacy. But what can help, is if we take their resources (and money is just energy, it's just resources) and put it to use for Black folks. And so my goal has been to remind us that this is our ancestral craft, that we are true to this not new to this, and that we deserve to be seen and centered in our joyful places. And what I would like Black Women Stitch to be able to do, and what I hope the podcast can do, and has done, is to provide models for that. And also reminders. And that the podcast itself could be a space until we can get a physical space, which we have right now. 

Lisa Woolfork  19:31  

Sew Black is made possible by some amazing people on the Black Women Stitch team. Christina Gifford, Janelle Velasco, Latrice Sampson Richards, Naomi P. Johnson, Shana Jefferson, Jill Bates-Moore, Nikki Griffin, Coco Springer, Alicia Turlington, and Adrienne Dent. And in full Snoop Dogg style, I'd like to thank myself for pulling this together and believing in me. Let's give it up for Lisa Woolfork. And if you want to find out what's happening next, follow Black Women Stitch on Tik Tok and Instagram and sign up for our email list. Check out the Stitch Please podcast, with new episodes every Wednesday, including episodes from QuiltCon, coming out soon.

Naomi Johnson  20:22  

I have just two, two more things to say. The first thing is, Lisa brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago, the Modern Quilt Guild's, community guidelines and their statement on inclusion. And it is the most thorough statement that I have seen in quite a long time. And if it's missing something that you that you feel it needs, there's an opportunity through membership and through using your voice to influence change. In their statement, they're open to it, they've already come to us and said, because you had this and we've seen that folks are looking for it, folks are asking questions of volunteers. They are going to make spaces like this available to other affinity groups. And so that is something that's a small thing that you can do to influence change. Rashida, I'm so sorry. We've kept you here for so long. I have one last question. And then we're gonna open it up to folks here. The Stitch Please podcast is the podcast that helps you get your stitch together. Do you have some advice on how we might get our stitch together? It doesn't necessarily have to be sewing. But how can we get our stitch together?

Rashida Coleman  22:00  

You know, I'm going through a divorce. And I moved out in October. it's been a rough, rough couple of months. And I think the thing that I have learned these past couple of months is to give myself grace. I think give yourself some grace, is how you can get your stitch together. Yeah, you know, you we...

Naomi Johnson  22:36  

Take your time. 

Rashida Coleman  22:37  

Yeah, I think we don't give ourselves enough. What's the word I'm trying to find?

Naomi Johnson  22:53  


Rashida Coleman  22:54  

Space, yes. We don't give ourselves enough space, you know. Everything doesn't have to be perfect, you know. You got to just do your thing and be you. And try and be happy and look out for your people, and your loved ones, and friends, and just and yeah, just be.

Lisa Woolfork  23:16  

Just be.

Naomi Johnson  23:18  

Just be. 

Rashida Coleman  23:19  

I think I spent a lot of time beating myself up over that failure, you know. And kind of, I just learned that it's, you know, there's so many things in this life that you can't control what happens. And that's okay.-- 

Naomi Johnson  23:40  


Rashida Coleman  23:40  

And it's all right. Yeah, so I'm good now still, still getting through it. But um, yeah.

Naomi Johnson  23:48  

Lisa, what about you? You ask lots of folks. 

Lisa Woolfork  23:51  

I do.

Naomi Johnson  23:52  

What is your advice for getting our stitch together?

Lisa Woolfork  23:55  

Well I want everyone to join the Black Women Stitch Patreon at the highest possible level. 

Naomi Johnson  24:02  


Lisa Woolfork  24:02  

You know, learn about Patreon hashtag pay Black women, including me. And you could, there's $5 levels, $15 levels, 25 hours a month, you can send me direct video messages. There's all kinds of different benefits and privileges, et cetera, et cetera. So that's one. I remember that you are worth the fuss. You are worth the fuss.--

Naomi Johnson  24:39  


Lisa Woolfork  24:39  

That's it. Yeah. You're worth the fuss. You're worth of fuss. You're worth of fuss. You're worth the fuss. You're worth it. You're worth the fuss. Oh, it set my job harder, then your job's harder. I'm worth the fuss. We have been more than inconvenienced in this country. We're worth the fuss. 

Naomi Johnson  25:08  

I want to thank you all for being here.

Lisa Woolfork  25:12  

Oh my gosh, thank you, so much, thank you. 

Naomi Johnson  25:14  

I want to thank you, Lisa, for your vision. I want to thank you for the way you have absolutely, I will never stop thanking you for the way you have changed my life. When we got together the first time, I had no idea that I needed what you were offering to me. I didn't know I needed it. And I cannot imagine my life without it. I don't know how I would've survived 2020, or 2021, or 2022, or the 14 years that 2023 has been so far. I just don't know how I would have done it. Why is it not, June. When is school over!--

Lisa Woolfork  25:26  

Never, it is never over, never.

Naomi Johnson  26:26  

I will never have enough words to thank you for the way you have turned my life upside down in the very best way. I thank you. My mama thanks you. My mom is like, "When are you doing that again? When are you with...? Y'all gonna do this? What are you doing? Oh, well, you go have fun. Give me somebody's number."

Lisa Woolfork  26:53  


Naomi Johnson  26:54  

My mama don't play about me. 

Rashida Coleman  26:55  

No, no, no, we change numbers. My spouse has her mama's number. And her mama has my spouse's number 

Naomi Johnson  27:04  

Cause she do not play about me, I am the one. There's some extras. There's lots of spares in my families, but I'm the heir. And so I thank you. 

Lisa Woolfork  27:20  

I love you. I thank you.

Naomi Johnson  27:22  


Rashida Coleman  27:24  

Thank you.

Naomi Johnson  27:25  


Rashida Coleman  27:25  

Thank you. Thank you. And I love you.

Naomi Johnson  27:28  

Thank you, too. Thank you for putting us on fabric. So we don't have to wear little white girls and white women--

Lisa Woolfork  27:36  

And our little Black girls can see themselves,--

Naomi Johnson  27:39  

look at them on blankets, and as dresses on our dolls. And-- 

Lisa Woolfork  27:46  


Naomi Johnson  27:47  

Whatever other little thing I make for my nieces. My nieces came out of the womb having things that reflected in them. And I cannot thank you enough for that. You...

Lisa Woolfork  28:10  

I wanna add, I wanna add that you were at the first QuiltCon. And I wanna thank you for standing alone for so long. I wanna thank you for staying for year, after year, after year, after year, after year, after year, after year, after year, after year. And, until we could get here. Until we could get here. You held the door open. You kept your foot in that shit when it hurt. When it was iron. You kept it open for us. You held it for us. You held that space. You were our anchor. You were the one we knew was there. It was hard, and it was lonely, and it was not fair. And you still did it. And we are here because of you. 

Naomi Johnson  29:18  

And we're never leaving.

Lisa Woolfork  29:19  

I am here. I am here because of you. 

Naomi Johnson  29:22  

I will never leave you by yourself again. 

Lisa Woolfork  29:24  

And I am glad that you now know that there is a critical mass. There is a critical mass of us and it never would have bubbled to this point had it not been for your beginning. And for that I thank you. I thank Lateefa Saafir. I thank Chawne Kimber. I thank all of these sisters who stood in that breach. There have been some sisters that have made it easier for us. And I know we all, we can say things like you know we stand on the shoulders of giants. We wanna honor our ancestors, we do and, we love and revere, and thank them for, I do for still paving the way for me as I see it. And we also have to thank the stalwarts. We have to thank these people who have been standing here when it was hard and mean and ugly. And so here we are. And I thank you. Thank you all.

Rashida Coleman  30:26  

Thank you.

Naomi Johnson  30:29  

Thank you all for joining us today for this wonderful, wonderful, most special episode of the Stitch Please podcast. I am delighted to have spent time with us today. Lisa. Thank you. 

Lisa Woolfork  30:47  

Thank you. 

Naomi Johnson  30:47  

Rashida. Thank you. 

Rashida Coleman  30:49  

Thank you. 

Naomi Johnson  30:49  

Thank you all. Thank you all. Thank you all. We love you. 

Rashida Coleman  30:55  

Thank you so much. 

Naomi Johnson  30:56  

We love you deeply.

Rashida Coleman  30:58  

Thank you, thank you.

Lisa Woolfork  31:12  

You've been listening to the Stitch Please podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at blackwomenstitch@gmail.com. If you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon, P A T R E O N. And you can find Black Women Stitch there in the Patreon directory. And for as little as $2 a month you can help support the project with things like editing transcripts, and other things to strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really, really help the podcast by rating it and reviewing it anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews. But for those who do, for those that have like a star rating or just ask for a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us and the Stitch Please podcast. That is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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