Krista West was born in Portland, Oregon and began sewing at the age of 4. Her love of handcrafts and her conversion to Orthodox Christianity in 1993 led into an interest in Orthodox ecclesiastical vesture. She apprenticed with Leslie Schaill of Traditional Cassocks and Vestments from 1994 to 1997 and began Krista West Vestments in 1997. Her specialty is Greek style vestments and she has sewn for thousands of Orthodox clergy and communities around the world.
In 2004, she traveled to Greece to participate in a museum conservation course hosted by the Greek Ministry of Culture which conserved 95 pieces of the ecclesiastical garment collection of the Gonia Monastery in Kolimbari, Crete. Her research and field work led to her book, "The Garments of Salvation: Orthodox Christian Liturgical Vesture." She continues to travel to Greece to meet with suppliers and to be creatively inspired.
On one of her trips to Greece, she was introduced to traditional Greek folk embroidery and fell in love with the ancient designs and vibrant colors. In 2017, she opened Avlea Folk Embroidery to share this love of folk embroidery. Her kits and patterns have gained a loyal worldwide following, and demand for her designs has quickly grown. Fr Alban came on board in 2020 to help with the administration of Krista West Vestments. Through this work, he realized there was a great need for affordable, high quality cassocks and vestments and he worked with Krista to develop a standardized fit system with which they opened East Rome Designs in 2021.
Fr Alban and Krista live in Salem, Oregon with their youngest daughter. They work together in the basement workshop of the 1923 home they are restoring. They feel blessed to have been a part of the ancient traditions of the Church for two decades and looks forward to many more fruitful, beautiful years.
Krista can be followed on YouTube (kristamwest), Instagram (kristamwest), and Facebook (@avleafolkembroidery).