The Red Hen Studios story

At Collage, we are having a week of festivities leading up to Valentine's Day -- two special holiday-themed stockings (Mondays 1-28 and 2-4 at noon), plus giveaways and get-to-know-the-vendors events.

As an introduction to Red Hen Studios, I wrote about how previous generations have influenced my work. What I wrote is below.

(Uncle Beanie, Aunt Nene, Grandpa Johnson, Grandma Johnson)

Growing up during the Depression, my grandmother and her sister had to be frugal. Like many of their generation, they knew how to reduce, reuse and recycle way before it was cool.

And they passed their thriftiness and craftiness on to me. From Grandma's ceramic rooster and hen collection, that inspired my business name and logo, to Aunt Nene's crocheted projects, that find their way into my work, they influence me to today.

Even though I didn't start sewing until they were well into their golden years, when their eyesight was failing and their fingers not nearly as nimble, I give them credit for me taking up the hobby. Both of their sewing machines, a turn-of-the-20th-century Singer treadle machine and a mid-century portable, sit alongside my modern version.

I started by making an assortment of totes for myself, my sisters and sisters-in-law and quickly moved on to household soft goods and more recently clothing.

Now, most of my work incorporates vintage and repurposed fabrics and trims. I've discovered so much wonderful stuff out there and I'd hate to see it go to waste or be lost.

• the brightly colored florals of crisp vintage sheets
• the feel of upcycled suede or corduroy pants
• the softness of felted wool sweaters
• the memories of linen calendar tea towels
• the intricacies of tatted doilies and embroidered dresser scarves

In using these pieces to create totes and purses, clothing and accessories, and housewares, I feel like I am honoring the memory of those crafters from the generations before us.

1 comment:

shepherdgirl said...

I think the tactile quality of fabrics is an emotional trigger - it can just take you back to a person or time. Even if your memory is a bit slanted to the positive aspects of that person or time, it is a good thing.