Stitching Tradition Back into our Cultural Fabric

    The Needle Arts Center, located at 8808 Fairground Rd.

    As our world grows increasingly digital and all our needs are seemingly a click away, many of the skills we used to rely on are falling to the wayside.  More and more, home-economics is not only disappearing from our schools’ curriculums, but also vanishing from familial traditions passed on to the next generation.  One local advocate, Marilou Jacob, is confronting this problem and keeping at least one tradition alive and thriving.

    Her weapon of choice is The Needle Arts Center, a learning center that she owns and operates in order to provide training courses for a variety of needlecraft skills.  Located at 8808 Fairground Rd, just off Bardstown Rd in Fern Creek, The Needle Arts Center is a former home that Marilou has converted into a beautiful training studio.  A vibrant blue and yellow “quilt block” on the side of the center announces to the public that this is a beacon of needle art.  Inside, unique finds and personal work are on display, creating both a cozy atmosphere and a wealth of inspirational goals to work toward.

    Classes range from beginner levels to advanced students looking to perfect their skills or pick up new ones.  Marilou is happy to modify classes to fit her students’ needs and insists that they begin with a simple question:  “What do you want to make?”  Techniques that she offers include, but aren’t limited to, sewing, quilting, embroidery, crochet (taught by Sharon Cooper), stuffed animals, clothing alterations, and making household items like pillows and valances.  She even offers a very affordable one-on-one Intro to Sewing class that is a single two-hour session on how to use and set-up your personal sewing machine.  These classes are open to students of all ages.

    10-year-old student and Children Quilt Show artist, Abigail Ricketts.

    That said, Marilou has a particular passion for teaching to younger generations.  She knows that in order for needlecraft to prosper today’s youth must learn the skills and feel supported.  In the interest of showcasing young local artists, Marilou started the Children Quilt Show in 2017.  This show displays the creations of artists 17 and under and provides them with an opportunity to have their works viewed and praised by the public.  Last year’s show had 20 artists in total, and Marilou’s goal for 2019 is to double that level of participation.

    With all her work, Marilou envisions a bright future for The Needle Arts Center.  She’s hoping to gain the support of a like-minded investor that would give her the opportunity to move to an even larger facility.  She imagines a center with multiple class-rooms that can support several classes at once, a grand gallery to display the art of her students, and a common area where she could provide coffee and treats.  In short, a sanctuary where needlecraft can thrive.

    Should you be interested in attending some of The Needle Arts Center’s classes, you can see what’s available at the center’s webpage, or contact Marilou directly at or 502-291-5731.  Not only is she accepting more students, she’s also looking for skilled individuals to assist with teaching, particularly in regards to knitting.  And of course, if you would like to help support her dream of expanding to a new location please give her a call!

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