Meet the Board of Directors
Our five member Board of Directors are volunteers serving for terms specified by the Heartland Threads bylaws.
Regenerative food & fiber have been the focus of much of my adult life. I raise endangered, heritage wool sheep and sell wool products from them. Spinner, artisan, crafter, vendor, gardener, teacher, herbalist, shepherd, organizer, & learner are some of the hats I wear. Before the pandemic, I hosted "Second Sundays", an informal gathering with fiber demonstrations, hands on learning & fiber networking. This was a precursor to Heartland Threads. I’m also: member of Sarasponda Spinners guild, workshop & farm tour leader with Soil Sisters of Southern Wisconsin, former owner of Sunporch Cafe & Art Gallery, vendor & volunteer at Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival, member of Seed Savers Exchange, and participant in the Livestock Conservancy program- "Shave 'em to Save 'em".
Tracey Schwalbe is an attorney by profession, but she has had a lifelong interest in fibers and the history of textiles, and she has enjoyed sewing and constructing garments, including historical and folk garments, for most of her life. Over the years, she has also tried her hand at embroidery, quilting, spinning, weaving, felting, dyeing, and knitting. Most recently, Tracey has ventured into growing indigo and raising Gotland sheep on the permaculture-inspired smallhold farmstead outside New Glarus, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband. When not working as an attorney, tending her farmstead and sheep, or learning and creating with textiles, Tracey also enjoys reading, hiking, planting trees, and playing the hammered dulcimer.
Brenda has been a maker working with fiber and fabric since she was a young child. Growing up, she played under quilts sewn by one grandma and attempted to learn crochet from another (she failed). Brenda started doing embroidery while in elementary school, then added sewing to her skill set in her twenties and needle felting in her thirties. She taught herself to knit around 2002. Knitting has truly become her fiber passion over the last two decades. In addition to fiber, she loves spreadsheets, organization, fountain pens, cooking, travel, history, and taking pictures. Brenda works in real estate analysis. She and her husband, Luis, live in Monroe and are heading into the empty nester years as three of their four children are now adults. Crochet is still a skill that eludes her.
Jessa got her start in sustainability by spearheading the movement to legalize henkeeping in the City of Milwaukee in 2011. Ten years later she's a rural resident--she and her partner, Jeff, are beginner famers and own and run Growanstede Smallhold. Growanstede is a ten-acre CSA farm in Marshall, WI in it's third season. The chicken journey hasn't ended, either. She is a member of the Livestock Conservancy and the Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, and raises heritage chickens, ducks, and turkeys for eggs, meat, and preservation. She also has two pet English Angora rabbits for fiber, is (slooowly) learning how to spin, and knits in her rare 'off time' from her full time job, the farm, and four teenagers.
Mavin Lisa Giss
Mavin is a software developer and artist from Southern Wisconsin. Her passion for creativity and environmentalism has taken her to the west coast and back, and she now raises ducks and chickens with her husband on a small wooded farmstead outside Monroe. She works as Lead Developer for a local startup focused on reducing food waste. She is involved in a variety of fiber arts, including batik and felt embroidery, and enjoys knitting and experimenting with natural dyes in her free time.