Ginger Johnson named Artist of the Month for September

Published 1:23 pm Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Firehouse Arts Center artist of the month is Ginger Johnson. She will be featured in the Kirbo Gallery for September, which also happens to be National Sewing Month.

Johnson started sewing when she was about 8 years old. Her grandmother was a gifted seamstress and introduced her to sewing. She first tried French hand sewing 35 years ago but being a boy mom, she said she had little reason to continue. She always hoped for the opportunity to pick it back up, and it was a smocking class at the Firehouse taught by Karen Ragan that lit the spark. She started attending Martha Pullen School of Art and Fashion, a week-long sewing school held in July in Huntsville, Alabama. There, she took classes in garment construction and heirloom or French hand sewing by machine, taught by teachers from all over the country. She loved it so much that she worked to become a licensed teacher of heirloom sewing and children’s garment construction.

Heirloom sewing uses fine natural fiber fabrics and laces to create elegant and unique garments. Heirloom sewing was originally all done by hand, but over time techniques were refined and sewing machines became more advanced and able to produce results similar to hand sewing. Johnson enjoys planning and designing the clothing almost as much as making it. Every garment is unique, the patterns are basic patterns, but the uniqueness comes from the way you use the heirloom techniques and laces to create a work of art.

Johnson said she has been a “crafter” her whole life.

“I love creating and I love teaching,” she said. “I have started teaching my oldest granddaughter to sew and have given a few private lessons in basic sewing and heirloom. This is something I would love to continue when I retire from teaching school.”

Johnson recently started watercolor painting, her Dad and she attended John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C. to take a week-long class with gifted watercolorist Kathy Chastain. She has also started quilting again. Johnson loves experimenting with English paper-piecing and foundation paper-piecing, two fun and creative quilting techniques.

She is currently the Media Specialist at Hutto Elementary School. Her husband, Paul, and she moved to Bainbridge in 1999 when we bought Providence Dairy in Climax, Georgia. She enjoys sewing for her grandchildren, reading, teaching, and learning.