I joined the family in North Carolina in 2003 after graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology. One of my first jobs in the area was at the Penland School of Crafts where I had access to a new kind of education. My first class there was with Jan Ru Wan, Alternative Clothing and Pocketology, where I learned about proper construction techniques and the importance of precision sewing. Later, I was fortunate to be the studio assistant for an art quilt techniques class with Elizabeth Spindler Barton, where I learned innovation in surface design and fabric piecing. Several years ago, I also had the opportunity to work with the Costume Department at Western Carolina University for their production of Les Miserables.
My work starts with the simple idea of not adding to landfills. I use high quality materials like designer upholstery scraps, sample books or memos, remnants and dead stock. I work hard to use scraps of all sizes and waste as little as possible.
I make each bag one at a time, and they are all slightly different. I don't use patterns, since I frequently let the fabric dictate shape and size. Each individual bag starts with a color palette. I add and subtract different shades and textures until I find the right mix of fabrics for each bag. This is usually the most time consuming part of the process.
My other focus is on durability and quality. I take my time while sewing to make sure that all seams are double sewn and stress points get lots of attention. Everything I make is lined, and typically interfaced several times for structure and longevity.
Just because it’s art, doesn't mean it must be delicate.