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Leslie grew up in rural Kansas often scouting yard sales and thrift shops with her mom. She has spent her life being fascinated by things from the past. Discarded clothing and textiles were of particular interest. Most of the materials used in her work are vintage or antique, each with an unknown origin and history. By adding her own designs, most of which depict nature or man-made industrial objects, paired with the effect time naturally has on them, she gives both the fabrics and images a new life and purpose. Leslie Cottrill is known from Austin to Marfa for her hand chain stitched embroidery work via her company From the Grey Fortress. Cottrill is known for her embroidered denim jackets, army bags and more.