I grew up in
Beginning in my 20s, I started sewing more, making myself a dress or two a year. At first, I had a fair amount of help from my mom, who has been sewing her whole life. It was not until about two years ago that I started sewing with any consistency. At this point, after having made myself a purse, I received requests from family and friends for bags of their own. I’ve been spending most of my time sewing ever since.
One of my favorite parts of sewing is the design stage. Finding inspiration and working my aesthetic and my ideas of what is most desirable into a completed design is challenging. But in the end it is fun, and quite satisfying. My design process usually starts with an element or feature. I may want to work with pleats, or to create outside pockets. I usually will start with a general sketch or sketches. As I start sewing and getting to the inner structure, I will sketch pieces and parts of the construction, altering the design as I go. The final step is to create a set of finished pattern pieces, to be used when I make batches of the design.
The hardest design to make, but ultimately my favorite, was the curved messenger bag. Many mockups of the bag were made before I was able to get the curves to consistently be flat and even. I would alter pattern pieces over and over again, thinking I had fixed the problem, only to have it crop back up. In the end, I found the solution, and ended up with a design with beautiful and distinctive curves.
I love to challenge myself to with new techniques. I still make many clothing items for myself. With each of these projects, I try to do something a bit different and learn something new. In this way I am building my inventory of skills, elements which I can then apply to new bag designs.
Meet Jordan White from White Cross Designs...
My spouse would probably describe me as a textile artist with the soul of an engineer. I love to create with my sewing machine, but insist on precision in the results. Since before the age of 9, I've always been working with textiles; my grandmother taught me to embroider, my aunt taught me to knit, etc. Frequently, the patterns didn't provide what I wanted, or agree with my concept of something, so I'd just design my own. I remember the first coat I made... a friend complimented me on it, and wanted to know where I bought it. When I told her that I made it myself, she said something like, "Oh, you CAN'T do that; coats are really hard to make!!" My response was, "thank goodness I didn't know that before I did it!"
I've been selling my handsewn items regularly since early 2009, but I've been creating things for family and friends and as one-of-a-kind custom work since I was a pre-teen.
Sewing is peaceful and calming, exciting and frustrating. I love it when things turn out as I intended, but it often takes 3, 4 or more prototypes to get there. I used to worry about it, but I've finally gotten to the point where I give myself permission to rip it up, throw it in the trash, and move on!!
I get up at about 3:30 A.M. each day, so that I can have sewing time before anyone else is up. A degreed accountant, I am grateful to now spend my days homeschooling our 8 year old, then running up to my third floor 2-room studio as soon as school is done. If not for my husband and daughter, I'd probably never leave the 3rd floor!
My creativity must come from God, as I don't see myself as an imaginative person. Usually I start with trying to fill a need, say, make a better computer laptop bag, then go from there. I love challenges, so once I master a basic anything, I'm always looking for ways to improve on it; for both more usefulness and more beauty.
I'm not sure if you would say I'm in a craft hobby. It's probably more of a pioneer-type lifestyle. Instead of going out and purchasing something, I usually try to see if I can do it myself, which has led to all sorts of interesting creations.
Creative process: Visualize the desired product, create a protoype, evaluate for errors and needed improvement, create 2nd prototype, evaluate for erros and needed improvement, creat 3rd prototype,...lather, rinse, repeat!
Most favorite creation is a tough one. I like doing so many things --- I love making unique men's neckties (most of their things are soooooo boring), one-of-a-kind outfits and dresses for our daughter, rag quilts/throws, and lately, tote/market bags, using extra heavy-weight canvas (14.75 oz). I have to say that my emphasis though, always seems to be on natural materials (cotton, silk, canvas) and precision beauty combined with durability and usefulness.
Using the skills God has given me, I'd like to become successful enough with sales of my handsewn products to replace the accounting salary that I left behind when I decided to stay home full time. With that amount of sales, I would know that I was being recognized for producing a quality product and providing satisfaction/pleasure to a good number of people, which would give me great joy.
Meet Kaley Kleinman from Odds and Ends...
Creating has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Nothing makes me happier than working with my hands to create a finished product that is completely unique. I like to try lots of different things, and so I named my jewelry business “Odds and Ends.” During high school, I took a woodworking class and a metals class, which were, by far, my favorite high school courses. What brought me back to jewelry (I messed around with it when I was much younger), was my fascination with sea glass. I have been collecting it my whole life in hopes of making a giant mosaic table one day. I’m not sure where I first saw sea glass jewelry, but I started to make wire wrapped pendants and earrings, and the rest of the jewelry I make began there.
When I was little, my mom and I did a lot of crafting together, but what stands out for me are the beaded wire Christmas ornaments she taught me to make. I think that’s what taught me basic wire and beading techniques that I use in my work today.
So far, my favorite item I have created is my Celtic Trinity Necklace. I’ve always been really attracted to Celtic, and medieval styles. Celtic knot work is absolutely beautiful, and looks awesome with my favorite gemstone, labradorite.
In 5 years, I’d love to be doing even more with soldering and metal work. I also love woodworking, so who knows. Maybe I’ll be doing more of that!
The only advice I have about starting a business is just to jump in and start doing it. I’ve found that I learn the best through experience and, unfortunately, mistakes. I learn tricks all the time that help me improve upon what I do.
Meet Jackie Hixon from Jackie Hixon Art...
I'm an an eccentric, lifelong Clevelander who is passionate about the environment and finds inspiration in the 4 distinct seasons. I play chess avidly, but badly and Scrabble a little better. I've been doing this ever since I can remember. It began with Crayola crayons & just evolved into other mediums.
I'm an voracious reader, reading nearly 200 books a year, especially history & art books (anything but scary or violent stuff). I also spend a lot of time with my freshwater aquariums and silly guinea pig, Dora.
A lot of my subjects are sketched from life at nature centers, reptile shows, the zoo or county fair. I get my inspiration from the beauty and wonder of nature. A childhood spent watching Jacques Cousteau and Wild Kingdom left me with the ability to imagine most any animal in natural situations, so I just pull the idea out of my head & try to get it down on paper.
From there I then make preliminary sketches till I get proportions right & transfer it to the final paper or canvas. Being a slow worker, it then takes awhile to get the whole picture completed, but it also depends on the medium I'm using too.
My first sale was when I was in middle school & the lady next door bought me a set of Conte pastel pencils to draw her a set of pictures for her home. She was a French teacher, so the French pencils were appropriately exotic and of course, one of the drawings was of her yellow tabby cat, Pierre.
Since then, my illustrations have appeared in various national magazines & newsletters. Designed rubber stamps and a logo for The Squirrel Store website. Was interviewed for "Animal Fair" magazine Fall 2004 issue.
One of my recent favorite pieces was a pen & ink on calligraphy paper of an American goldfinch on a dead sunflower called "Summer's End". It was a bit more stylistic than my usual work and was beautifully framed by Nancy at Off The Wall Gallery.The drawing won an Honorable Mention Ribbon last summer at the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council Juried Show.
Since I concentrate on endangered species, I see my work as an educational tool. How can people be concerned that an animal is disappearing, when they don't even know what it looks like? Even common animals such as songbirds have been drastically affected by habitat destruction, so I try to show what we are losing.
Check out these featured vendors at the 2012 Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature over 135 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Project Night Night, an organization that provide care packages and support for children during times of home displacement.
2012 Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, April 29, 2012, 10:00am-5:00pm
Wagner's Country Inn
30855 Center Ridge Rd.
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, Event Coordinator at email@example.com.