Artist Spotlight: Marla Arna Jackson

Meet Marla Arna Jackson, self-taught fiber artist, painter, doll maker, indigo dyer, shibori dyer, portrait artist, seamstress, and author. Marla is the Founder and Executive Director of Marla Quilts Inc. African American Quilt Museum and Textile Academy, whose goal is to be “an impetus for developing artistic skills, enhancing individual and communal expression, and furthering intellectual awareness.” We had the honor to get to know her a little more as an artist and as a person – and we loved her so much that she’ll be taking over the Missouri Star Instagram on February 23rd, 2022 to share a little more of her passion with our quilting community! Before Marla’s Instagram Takeover, take the opportunity to get to know her a little better yourself!

What is your favorite part of the quilting process?

I am a portrait artist, most of my quilts are inspired by historical figures and my favorite part is researching and the visualization while I’m creating. I never know where the process will take me until I’m standing in front of the fabric. I don’t really enjoy the sewing, the applique, the quilting part as much as I love seeing my vision come to life.

I love learning everything I learn from the Civil War to Civil Rights, research is a major part of my process. I use pre-civil war fabrics, tapestries, fabrics like silks wools, cotton, African fabrics.

Who are your favorite fabric designers?

My favorite fabrics come from Vlisco in Holland, I love the vibrant color and patterns. I don’t know any others by name.

What notion or sewing tool are you most dependent on?

Scissors, I create my images for my quilts as I go with my scissors. No patterns, just my imagination, my hands and my scissors. I don’t measure nothing, I just go for it.

How were you introduced to sewing and quilting?

My mom introduced me to sewing, and my grandmothers and great grandmother taught me the technical parts of sewing and quilting. All of us kids helped my mother sew while she was pregnant, we worked the feet pedals for her. I’ve always loved doing it my way though, I got kicked out of two sewing classes in high school for not following the rules.

What was the most frustrating sewing project you ever worked on?

Putting in a fly zipper into pants – I’d gotten in trouble and as punishment for getting kicked out of sewing class my mom made me put in a fly zipper in 15 minutes. I finished it in 5 minutes. Later I was glad she taught me but I sure was mad while I was doing it.

What do you do to find inspiration/encourage your creativity?

Meditation, quieting my mind and tapping into my imagination.

What occupation would you like to try if sewing/making wasn’t an option?

Costume Designer.

Who is your favorite fictional character?

When I was a little girl I preferred watching the news over cartoons and stories and stuff, but I did like Shirley Temple and Annie Oakley- cowgirl boots, hat, and holster, that was me all dressed up.

What fabric have you been hoarding/saving the longest?

African fabrics and Asian fabrics.

Describe your perfect day.

Hot tea when I’m feeling good, teaching my students how to sew and quilt and research and bring history to life through quilts.

Don’t forget to join us on Instagram on February 23rd, 2022 as Marla (who you can follow @iammarlajackson) takes over the Missouri Star Instagram (don’t forget to follow us too @missouriquiltco)! Can’t wait? We can’t blame you – it’s going to be so much fun! Learn more about Marla and Marla Quilts Inc. by checking out her website and her blog If you’re looking for even more inspiration, be sure to follow her on Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube as well!

Sew Fast & Fun: Christmas Tree Skirt

The Christmas Tree Skirt from Missouri Star Quilt Co.

The holidays are here and it’s time to deck the halls and welcome in the festive season! A Christmas Tree Skirt is the perfect holiday project to stitch up on those cold December nights because not only does it make an excellent gift, but it can be kept and displayed almost immediately! Grab your favorite holiday charm packs (or some from your stash that you’ve been looking for a reason to use) and get stitching!

Supplies Needed

2 Packages of 5″ Print Squares (Charm Packs)

3/4 Yard Border Fabric

1 Yard Binding Fabric

3 Yards Backing Fabric

Freezer Paper (Optional)

This project comes together as simple as any quilt you’ve ever seen (that’s the best part, it’s basically a small quilt in itself) and with some careful cutting, wraps delicately around any Christmas Tree. Not only is this project just gorgeous, but its functional and meant to be used with love every single year! Find your holiday style and start creating today!

Needing a little extra inspiration? Check out the replay of Missouri Star LIVE below where Misty demonstrates how simple this festive tree skirt is to create. If you’re needing a little more guidance, be sure to pick up the Christmas Tree Skirt quilt pattern to follow along with easy instructions at home to make you holiday seasons a little extra quilty for years to come!

Brightly Quilt

The Brightly Quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Co.

If you wish upon a star, your dreams might come true…but be ready for a wait!

The closest star is 26 trillion miles away. That starlight magic won’t reach the earth for 4+ years! (If my calculations are correct, wishes from 2017 are just starting to arrive!)

The Brightly Quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Of course, if you’re short on time, you can whip up your own lucky stars in a jiffy! 

The Brightly star quilt was designed by Allison Harris for Cluck Cluck Sew. It’s a stunning layer cake pattern that is timeless and modern all at once.

(Watch to the end of the video to see Brightly in Christmas fabric. I know you’re going to love it!)

Watch the Latest Tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co!

Missing You Quilt

Missing You Quilt by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Mamie Irene Crisp met a handsome young Coast Guardsman in 1942, just as the U.S. entered the war. In 1945, they were married.

For 55 years, Jack and Irene traveled the country in their motorhome, stopping at fishing holes all along the way. They wowed friends and family with their jitterbug skills. They adored their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. And then, in 2000, Irene was lost to Alzheimer’s Disease.  

Missing You Quilt by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is a tender time for Jenny. You see, Irene was her beloved mother-in-law. This year, Jenny has created a beautiful new quilt in Irene’s memory. 

Missing You Quilt by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Missing You is a quick and easy layer cake pattern that combines the appliqué flowers of our Forget Me Not quilt and the 36-patch blocks of Goodnight Irene. It’s a sweet tribute to all those who have been touched by this terrible disease. 

Watch the Latest Tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co!

Serendipity Quilt

The Serendipity quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Co. Click now to watch the FREE Quilting Tutorial!

When you make the Serendipity Infinity quilt, you’ll end up with scraps. 

The Serendipity quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Co. Click now to watch the FREE Quilting Tutorial!

You can use those scraps to make a pretty table runner. But guess what? You’ll still have scraps. Make another table runner, and still, more scraps. Keep sewing!

The Serendipity quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Co. Click now to watch the FREE Quilting Tutorial!

When all is said and done, you’ll have a beautiful quilt + up to NINE table runners to use as gifts! Is it a Christmas miracle? Nope! It’s Serendipity Infinity!

Watch the Latest Tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co!