Image by Yannis Papanastasopoulos


Meet Annie Hughes

The love for creating stories through art was rekindled in my early 20s. Upon returning to school, in a studio art class for educators called “Classroom Environment”, I was learning to create classroom bulletin boards for primary grades and three-dimensional play objects for students. I fell in love with art and expanded my horizon as an artist.  The seeds were planted during that time and after that chapter in my life, I began to blossom as a storyteller through paint. The words of John F. Kennedy spoke to me, and I decided to move to East Tennessee, where I became a volunteer teacher and community organizer in a low economic community. Early months began as dark and difficult times, but the saving graces were the beautiful quilts that the women of Mulberry Gap had stored in their cedar chests. They gave quilts to me to cover the bed and keep me warm during cold nights.  I was grateful for the gesture and began thinking, “what could I do to repay their kindness and generosity?”  I was teaching their children but wanted to do something for the women.  The answer came to me as I lay under the heavy quilts. The idea was to “form a quilt co-op; a way to market their quilts, bring them together as a community and earn income.”
In that moment I became someone else.  I transitioned into an artist and community organizer.  I set up my first studio in the bedroom of our tiny 4-room house.  The floors were stained by cow plops, but my creative mind turned what some may have perceived as trash to treasure. I painted the stains to mimic colorful daisies.  The women, children and I, made quilts, fabric flowers, pieced bags, and other colorful quilted objects to sell.  Creating with colorful fabrics was the perfect place for my creativity to bloom. Over the years I have had many different studio spaces. From small sunrooms, bathrooms, to rooms in Victorian houses or thatched roof huts-no matter the environment, what I love about life is the delight, love and joy of painting!

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