Let me take a few moments and try to introduce you to who I am, my background, and dare I say design philosophy?
The first time I remember holding a needle in my hand and “sewing something” I was 8 years old. We had moved into a new house and the neighborhood kids found an old shed we claimed as a clubhouse. Auntie handed me a tape measure to find out the size of the windows and then from a piece of raspberry plisse we fashioned curtains! She cut (no handling of good shears for an 8 year old) and I stitched. Without a doubt the seams and hems were held together with larger than desirable stitches but they held up for the years the “fort” was our summertime hangout.
By the time I was in middle school I had progressed to shears and a sewing machine. Sometimes creating garments for myself, and at others – according to family photo history – creating garments for Barbie dolls that became part of English and History projects! These early days were not without their disasters…like the skirt made from a one way print that went in two directions!
Throughout high school and college my love of clothes (duh!) took me into the world of retail where I worked as a sales associate for JD & Me and Gantos, in Grand Haven and Muskegon respectively. When it was time to decide upon a career and make college decisions I decided to attend Central Michigan University in their relatively new Clothing & Textiles: Fashion Merchandising and Design program. To fuel my passion for theatre every elective possible was in that discipline, resulting in a theatre concentration. For practicality I added a minor in Business Administration. My roommates, and sisters in Phi Chi Theta, became used to either hearing the sewing machine running, finding fabrics and design sketches strewn about, or seeing me with fabric and needle in hand.
The added bonus from my days at CMU was meeting my husband Greg. And yep, we’re still together with him functioning as my tech support in the computer based side of the business and head of shipping among so many other wonderful characteristics! 🙂
Following college I worked in retail management for Beverly’s/Dimension’s Plus, and then as a lingerie and accessories buyer for Roger’s Deparment Store – both in Grand Rapids. When our son was born, life took a turn with the added interest of a slight geographic relocation that made commuting to Grand Rapids with a baby in the family a bit of a challenge. So I turned a corner and went into the world of manufacturing – working in a variety of positions in sales, marketing, and marketing research; and as VP of Sales & Marketing. Along the way earning my MBA in international marketing. We also added a daughter to the family! But I never stopped designing and sewing from doll clothes to Halloween costumes and many other items.
As life so often does, a series of events brought another change and I found myself in the world of academics. This 13 year stretch, most of it while the kids were in school themselves, provided opportunity for me to continue my love of the classroom, only this time getting paid to do so! It also allowed some flexibility in my schedule that afforded me time to actively engage in so many other activities. These included being a “Big” Girl Scout to a troop of fabulous girls! I’ll never forget our days together…wait, we’re still getting together so that hasn’t ended. This is also the time when I returned to my roots by engaging in costume design for the Mona Shores Theatre and Choir Programs.
And that brings us to the present – once again life has turned a corner. Both of my darling children are beginning the pursuit of their own “independent” life path. My son is pursuing a career in technical theatre. He has also married a wonderful young woman who is a talented seamstress in her own right and often works with me both in the business and our local theatre company. My daughter is finding her own path. These changes have prodded me into taking my love of working with fabric to create wonderful things from avocation to vocation. I welcome you to that journey with me as we create beautiful items for you and your home together.
Whether designing a garment, handbag, or special piece of home decor it is important to find the unique in the process, and to honor the skills associated with traditional women’s arts. It could be a simple garnet velvet dress accented with an antique set of tatted collar and cuffs or finding the whimsy in a length of fabric featuring cows! Each piece I create is one of a kind. This is why so much of it is constructed to order. Think of me as your personal couturier, your personal designer. I want to incorporate YOUR personality and preferences into the item. It is too easy to just “pick up” something that will fill a space for a time and then be just as easily tossed on the junk pile. But to find the art in a piece of work that can add just the right touch to an occasion, outfit, or home is to find joy.
Well for what it’s worth as they say, there you have it – a bit of me.