Krista West was born in Portland, Oregon and began sewing at the age of 4. Her love of handcrafts as a child 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 with www.kwvestments.com launching in 1998 as the first ecclesiastical tailoring website on the Internet. Her focus quickly centered upon the Greek style and she has sewn for clergy and churches in 48 of the 50 United States as well as multiple other countries.
In 2002, Krista began to research the origins of Orthodox Christian vestments. 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" which was published by SVS Press in 2013 and is the first comprehensive book on the topic in English. She travels regularly to Greece to meet with suppliers as well as to be creatively inspired.
In 2017, she opened Avlea Folk Embroidery after seeing the desire of many Orthodox Christians to bring the kind of beauty they saw in their churches into their homes and it is her delight to design folk embroidery patterns as a way of helping make ancient beauty accessible to the modern home. It is her firm belief that beauty in the home of the faithful will sustain and broaden the aesthetic traditions of the Church into the next generation.
Krista now lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband, Fr. Alban West, and their youngest daughter where she works in the basement studio of the 1923 home they are restoring. She feels 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.
She can be followed on YouTube (kristamwest), Instagram (kristamwest), and Facebook (@avleafolkembroidery).
Krista in her second workshop with daugher, Nora, circa 2014
Krista in her first workshop
Krista today (well, a few years ago)