June Colburn’s 20-year odyssey, living and traveling in South America, Europe, and Asia, began in 1973 with itchy feet and a Master’s degree in library science. While working for private international schools, June’s motto “Have sewing machine, will travel,” led her into week-end and holiday adventures hunting for fabrics in souks, bazaars, flea markets and temple sales from Quito to Paris, Istanbul to Singapore. Talking with the people who weave, dye, embroider, sew and sell native textiles influenced the photos she took, the books she read, the treasures she collected–and the rest of her life.
A sewer since elementary school, June learned patchwork techniques while living in Holland in the mid-1970’s. She began teaching those lessons in Switzerland and then in Japan, where several of her students later became teachers themselves. The exquisite kimono fabrics of Japan defined a new creative direction. After a few years of experimentation, June began designing home accessories and clothing which she sold during twice yearly trunk shows in the Kobe Daimaru Department Store’s kimono department and the Tokyo American Club’s annual International Bazaar. In 1986, June won a first-place award in the Kobe City Fashion Design Contest with a patchwork suit reminiscent of Eastern European folk costumes. Her quilts were included in exhibits of work by resident foreign artists at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1991 and 1992.
After eight years’ experience hosting design shows and presenting lectures and fashion shows in Japan, June opened her business in Florida in 1994. Her earliest venues were quilt and sewing related shows where she exhibited and sold kimono, kimono fabrics and her designs made from these vintage textiles. This led to creating a line of Asian-inspired patterns as well as lectures about the textiles and how they were created. With the help of friend Kris Brown, June’s business has grown and they are currently expanding the web-based business while June continues to travel, teaching, exhibiting, writing, and collecting new design ideas.