Let me explain - I have had a few names. As textile artist Heather Allen I was known for colorful architectural textiles. In 2003 I married and took the name Heather Allen-Swarttouw, the name change was timely, as it coincided with a new direction in my work. In 2013 I became Heather Allen Hietala. Hietala is my Finnish grandmother's maiden name. Hietala means "place of sand," a fitting name for someone who has always been drawn to where the land meets the sea.

My ideas begin in my journal. The creative journal is an incredible tool, a tool that is indispensable to my work. My life is filtered, sorted and processed through my visual journals. The origins of my work can be found somewhere in their pages. Rereading them one can track the development and evolution of my ideas. Here in my home is Asheville, NC, I have a library of journals that record, reflect and continually inspire me.