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Meet Our Staff


Shop Owner Mary began hand embroidery projects at age 5, and made her first quilt at 12. She comes by it naturally, learning from her mother, Helen, who was an avid weaver, appliquer and bobbin-lace maker. Mary lives with her husband of 37 years, Buddy, in Lake Monticello outside of Charlottesville.

Marilyn has the longest time on staff. She loves teaching, and her specialty is totes. Her students leave well-pleased and with a new friend! She enjoys sewing for friends and family, and donates many items to The Arc of the Piedmont and Area 3 Special Olympics for fundraising events.

Nola returned from "a 3 year retirement" after having been many years on staff. Her earliest memory of using a sewing machine was hemming flannel squares for a new baby in the house - at the age of 5! She made her first quilt in college in 1973. She lives in southern Albemarle County with her husband, horses, dogs - and llamas.

Brenda has done many types of sewing, but now her focus is on quilting. She enjoys piecing, hand-applique, and machine quilting traditional style quilts. Her other interests are gardening and cooking. 

Susan's earliest sewing memory is at her grandmother's knee, guiding the fabric as she worked the treadle. She made her first quilt in 1975, an Ohio Star. As her family grew, she sewed for them and her home. She leads All About Embroidery Sew-cial Club, and enjoys helping customers choose fabrics.

Dan has over 30 years of service and repair experience and has been with Cottonwood over 10 years. His vast knowledge allows him to service all makes of sewing machines, sergers, and industrial sewing machines. He is a long-term resident of Charlottesville.

Niki joined the staff in 2012. She lives on a ten acre homestead with her family. She is quite busy tending animals and her garden, canning and freezing the abundance. She still finds time to quilt, embroider and sew bags. She particularly enjoys Civil War era fabric and quilts.

Shannon began sewing after having children. Her first project was superhero capes for her son and daughter. Quilting became her passion after taking a class with Nola. She enjoys embroidery and basic garment construction. Working at Cottonwood keeps her inspired and thinking of new projects.

Suzan joins the staff on Saturday to help out in the quilt shop.

Lorie joined the staff in August 2018. She has 3 daughters and 4 granddaughters, so plenty of family to sew for. Both of her grandmothers sewed, and one worked for Singer. Her mother made many of her clothes, and Lorie learned to sew at a "much" younger age. She has always enjoyed being creative. Around the shop, we appreciate her skill with wool and embroidery.

Laura Lee joined the staff in August 2018. She has learned to quilt and sew while here, and finished her Christmas tree quilt before the holidays. Her favorite color is purple. She knows American Sign Language and signed The Star Spangled Banner at a Special Olympics Event. She enjoys bowling and hanging out with friends and family. 

Lisa joined the staff in September 2018. She has sewn and crafted many years for her family and home, from costumes, clothing, simple quilts, embroidery, and home decor. Her other pursuits are reading and flower gardening, when she's not spending time with her grandchildren. She lives in Nelson County with her husband, youngest son, an anxious dog and a demanding cat.



Darcy joined the staff in January 2019.
She enjoys Cosplay.

Cecilia found a passion for sewing while working in the JMU costume shop. Besides working in theater, she enjoys working on cosplay and many other crafting projects.
Cottonwood has been an exciting new place for her to learn about quilting, and she loves to organize the fabrics and help customers find the right design for their projects.