Speakers & Presenters

Photo: John Butler

Bisa Butler

​Bisa Butler was born in Orange, NJ, the daughter of a college president and a French teacher. She was raised in South Orange and the youngest of four siblings.  Butler’s artistic talent was first recognized at the age of four, when she won a blue ribbon in an art competition.

Formally trained, Butler graduated Cum Laude from Howard University with a Bachelor’s in Fine Art degree.  It was during her education at Howard that Butler was able to refine her natural talents under the tutelage of lecturers such as Lois Mailou Jones, Elizabeth Catlett, Jeff Donaldson and Ernie Barnes. She began to experiment with fabric as a medium and became interested in collage techniques.


Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi

Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi is a historian, curator, author, lecturer, artist, mentor, founder, and facilitator — and has left her mark on many lives. Trained as an aerospace engineer, Carolyn Mazloomi turned her sights and tireless efforts in the 1980s to bring the many unrecognized contributions of African-American quilt artists to the attention of the American people as well as the international art communities.


Laura Hopper

Laura Hopper (she/her) is a quilter, curator, and writer.

She is the Communications Manager and Creative Contributor for Suzy Quilts, a quilt pattern business and blog. She also works as a freelance quilt and textile writer. Her writing has appeared in Tatter, Curated Quilts, Taproot, Craft Industry Alliance, Benzie Design, Quiltfolk, Modern Patchwork, QuiltCon Magazine, and in over 50 museum exhibits. She is also the Exhibits Director for the Social Justice Sewing Academy. Laura is the lead editor and author of the book “Modern Quilts in the Second City: Ten Years of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild.”


Janneken Smucker

Janneken Smucker, Professor of History at West Chester University, specializes in digital and public history and material culture. She also serves as the digital editor of the Oral History Review. In the classroom, she integrates technology and the humanities, working with students to create digital projects, including the award-winning Goin’ North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia and Philadelphia Immigration.


Zak Foster

Zak Foster has been quilting and working with textiles prolifically since 2012 incorporating found fabrics and natural dyes into his work. He is drawn to preserving the stories of quilts and specializes in memory quilts. Originally from the Piedmont of North Carolina, he now resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his partner. More of his work can be seen at zakfoster.com

Alexis Deise

Alexis’s quilts explore the intersection of traditional craft and modern expression, incorporating motifs and techniques from traditional quilts into a more contemporary context.  Past and ongoing projects include: “American Quilts,” a meditation on the epidemic of gun violence in America; Irish Chain Variations, a yearlong study of the traditional form;  “Black and White,” variations on traditional quilt patterns using a stripped-down palette and alternative configurations


L’Merchie Frazier

L’Merchie Frazier is a socially engaged public fiber artist, activist, historian, poet and holographer and WCQN Quilter.  Her “Art Out Loud” serves communities nationally and internationally with visual and performance art residencies in Boston, Brazil, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Africa, France, Cuba and Boston.  As a public lecturer and community workshop presenter, her spatial and social justice work activates youth and adults in a co-design model that reflects the participants as creative actors and their occupancy in democratizing the socio-economic political landscape.


Susan Hudson

Susan Hudson, a Navajo/Diné artist from Sheep Springs, NM was taught to sew by her mother, Dorothy Woods, who was forced to sew at an “assimilation” boarding school. Her Grandmas, Aunties, and Mothers were also forced to learn sewing in boarding schools.

Susan’s pictorial quilts honor her ancestors and the proud history of the Navajo people using a crossover style inspired by Ledger art. Recounting history through her ledger quilts has made Hudson an activist, a storyteller, chronicling the hardships endured by her ancestors. 


Allie Aller

A quilter of long experience in many genres, Allie has written three books for C & T Publishing. Her quilts have won several major awards, she appeared on the Quilt Show, has taught for Bluprint, served on the board of the Quilt Alliance, and traveled as a quilt teacher for ten years, making such precious friends along the way!

A continuing theme in all her work is a rich dialog between her quilts and her avid passion for flower gardening. She lives with her husband in the country outside Portland, Oregon, where they raised two magnificent sons.