Silk Road Textiles synthesizes owner Terry Owen’s passion for craft and travel, and her background in teaching. “I was in the Peace Corps and taught in Liberia for two years,” she says. “My students were young mothers who needed a source of income independent of their family.” Her task: help them make clothing to sell in local markets. After the Peace Corps, Owen taught family and consumer science at both Finneytown and Seton High School for 30 years. Retirement presented the chance for a third act, so in July 2012 she opened Silk Road on Hamilton Avenue.
Owen’s shop reflects her global sensibility. Vibrant hand-dyed batiks and marbled fat quarters from Malaysia share a shelf with classic Liberty prints. From there it’s a few steps to Indian cottons, African brocades, Japanese prints, and Aboriginal Australian cottons. Knitters will find that Owen’s yarn stock is equally international, including brands like Rowan (from the UK) and hand-dyed Noro (from Japan) as well as colorful hanks from Malabrigo (a family-owned company in Uruguay), and super soft 100 percent alpaca from Virginia’s Juniper Moon Farm.
Owen has something of a sewing pedigree—her mother Irene ran an alterations business out of her home and even stitched the Ben-Gals cheerleading costumes for their 1968 debut. But her true love is contemporary art quilting. Quilted landscape art pieces hang all over the shop, and Silk Road offers classes to make your own (check the website for schedules). “I love the surprise element of it—of not knowing exactly where I’ll end up,” she says.
Silk Road Textiles, 6106 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, (513) 541-3700, silkroadcincinnati.com
Photographs by Chris Smith
Originally published in the July 2013 issue