By Jeanny Rhee
Sartorially speaking, her sense of style draws you in like an art piece with a simplistic and timeless flair, and a touch of androgyny.
31-year-old Naomi Parker–or “Nomar”–has a lifestyle blog Nome Alone, where she’s currently writing and photographing about her experiences making a quilt.
The project journal turned blog was initially created in 2009 as a school project documenting her graphic designs as well as sharing her personal art work, but with her affinity for visuals and creative projects, she started sharing posts with family and friends, using it as a bookmark or a wish list for design, home decor and clothing just to name a few.
Walking into her quaint, dimly lit Beacon Hill home she shares with Andrew Balmer, her partner of nearly 15 years, husband of seven, and her 18-pound Siberian cat, Lucas, Parker welcomes me and shares her creative space that is both humble and endearing, filled with family heirlooms and her oil-on-canvas paintings. Parker, apart from her blogging, is also a graphic designer for Sur La Table.
Growing up in West Seattle, Parker graduated from the University of Washington in 2008 with a degree in interdisciplinary visual arts and after discovering her innate talent with color and visual effects, went to school for graphic design at Seattle Central Community College.
“My favorite is when she features her own artwork,” said Parker’s friend, Erin Greager. “There is an aspect of Naomi that is innocent and kind that comes through in her artwork.”
Over time, the blog became filled with whatever she found inspiring, with categories named “This should be in my house,” or “A Seattle Q and A,” a questionnaire asking eccentric locals with jobs like ‘independent curator’ and ‘textile artists and stylist’ their worst food indulgences and what their number one Fight Club rule would be.
Parker’s current project–or “obsession,” apart from raw denim– is showing the process of making handmade quilts using natural dyes. During weekly “power-craft nights” with a friend, she’s always talked of making a big quilt, putting it at the top of her bucket list.
“If I’m going to make my own quilt using traditional methods, why not make my own color naturally?” she said.
Last July, Parker had an “opportunity of a lifetime,” enrolling in a five-day natural dye workshop at the University of Washington with French-born botanist, chemist and naturalist, Michel Garcia.
“I learned so much from that workshop,” she said. “I feel like no one really gets that opportunity and when I tell people who know about him that I’ve attended his class, they’re in disbelief.”
Making DIY quilts is an arduous process, requiring time, good
“She’s talented and dedicated to her craft,” said her husband, Andrew. “She spends a great deal of time precisely measuring, cutting fabric, ironing, assembling, sewing/stitching and documenting the whole process.”
She said her passion stems from a quilt she inherited at age 6 from her great-grandmother after she passed away made of her grandmother’s old dresses. The inherited indigo-blue quilt with patches of red and floral patterns is in excellent condition.
“The quilts I fell in love with were super traditional, super simple with very understated and muted colors, and I thought I’d love to make my own,” she said.
Parker’s voice livens as she leads me into her knitting-room-slash-closet-space with a sewing machine, an acrylic painting of her husband, and a large cork board with cloth swatches of different patterns and earthy hues of taupe, denim and light coral.
“As a graphic designer and being able to control color and opacity, I wanted to create my own color palette,” she said.
Parker’s recent inspiration was when she saw performance artist, novelist and director, Miranda July , give a reading from her novel, “The First Bad Man” at the Neptune Theatre.
“I just felt so inspired seeing her on stage. She’s gorgeous, funny, and her book is amazing,” said Parker. “I kept asking myself, ‘how does she do it?’ She has this amazing life, and I think it’s because she is constantly working.”
Although Parker struggles finding enough free time, she uses painting and quilting as her outlet for relaxation. There are, however, a few things she doesn’t struggle with and those are her morning and nightly rituals.
“Eggs with an espresso every day,” she said. “And I read before bed. I count on it.”
Naomi Parker invites readers inside her world through her blog, Nome Alone, where she is currently documenting with her DIY project in quilt-making and natural dyeing