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Archive for November, 2012

Interview with Lynn Walkiewicz – Riverdog Design

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 | Permalink

riverdog design handwoven dishtowels

In this next installment that showcases our talented clientele, I had a chance to interview Lynn Walkiewicz, owner and creator of riverdog design. Her incredible Maine based business features ‘everyday indulgences’ for modern consumers, inspired by nature’s gorgeous color displays and timelessly classic woven designs.

Q: What got you started weaving?
Lynn: I love fiber. I’ve been working with fiber for almost 20 years now.  Weaving was another interesting way to use yarn for creating neat stuff.

I asked if she actually makes each product by hand, her response: “I do, by hand.  That goes from counting the warp threads and warping the loom, to actually weaving the fabric and doing the finishing.”

I also inquired about the materials she uses in her “oh-so-touchable” products, and she explained that cotton was the primary material used in her dishtowels, napkin sets, and table runners, but she has also designed and made jackets from linen and cotton and is working on getting them ready for sale.

Q: What inspired you to start riverdog design?
Lynn: I was at a point in my life where another career change was necessitated.  I decided I wanted to start my own business doing something I loved, and I totally enjoy weaving.  I’m proud of the product I’m able to produce.  I call them ‘hand woven everyday indulgences’ and I think that’s what they are.

Lynn went on to explain that she feels that anything that can adorn a tedious, boring, everyday task with loveliness, makes the job more acceptable. Her practical dishcloths please the eye with their delicate beauty, as well as the touch with their supple feel. “I hate doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, so ANYTHING that can make it better is okay by me!”

riverdog design weaving machine

Q: Do you make your own wool/yarn?
Lynn:
I do spin, but it’s only for my personal use.  I have my work stash and my personal stash at home, so as you can imagine there’s quite a bit of yarn around the house!

Q: Are the designs your own, or inspired by example?
Lynn: Both.  I have been inspired by traditional woven patterns, but I use those as a starting point to create my own designs.

In addition, this talented lady designed her own logo and packaging, beautifully complementing her original, hand woven products.

When I asked about the time each project could take, Lynn explained, “I warp 14 yards on the loom at a time and weave yardage.  When I take it off the loom, I cut it to the appropriate size, hem, and wash/dry it.  I have about 15% shrinkage in my fabric, so I want my clients to purchase what they’ll have at home.  If all goes well, it takes 2-3 days to go from empty loom to finished product.”

Lynn added that she had been in business for three years, and that during that time her products have been steadily developing and growing. “Adding labels to my product this year has been the most recent step.  I am thrilled with the way the labels look on my product, and the quality of the label itself.”

Q: What are your absolute favorites?
Lynn:
My favorites are the brightly colored towels – and the ones I’m still designing!  I think of patterns and set yarn in the right order on the shelf, and consider it as I weave.  I rearrange it, try other colors, and decide what I want to weave next.  It’s a wonderful process.

Her Summer Brights color has been her best seller this year. Lynn told me, “It was so grey and depressing in March, so I took all the brightest colors off the shelf and put them together in one cloth that was inspired by traditional Mexican weaving patterns.  People have really responded to the brightness of the colors and the color pattern as it changes across the cloth.”

Lynn plans to expand her sales by displaying her products in different shows across the country. Her products have to be felt to truly be appreciated, and by presenting them in person, hopes to share her creations with a broader audience.

She is always growing and increasing her product line, so look for more jackets, vests, and custom designed fabrics in the future. Her hand woven treasures are unique and affordable. You can find out more about Lynn, and riverdog design on her website.

riverdog design woven leash and custom woven riding crop with custom woven labels from Thirty Seven West

You can contact Lynn and riverdog design the following ways:
Website: www.riverdogdesign.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/riverdogdesign
Email: lynn@riverdogdesign.com
Phone: (207) 724-2269

 

 

Interview with Brenda Harris – My Star by “B”

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 | Permalink

 

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Brenda Harris, owner and proprietor of her Cleveland based business, My Star by “B”. Her clothing line for girls feature Brenda’s own original designs, and offers unique collections that celebrate the individuality of your daughter or granddaughter.

This third generation seamstress has been creating beautiful garments since she was a girl, and learned by watching her mother make the family’s clothes.

Brenda Harris – Owner and Designer of My Star by “B”

Q: What was your inspiration for creating My Star by “B”?
Brenda: “My Mother, she gave me the inspiration…”
Brenda went on to explain that her mother made dresses and doll clothes for her and her sisters, teaching them to sew at an early age. Through her Mother’s dedication and instruction, she developed her love of fabrics, colors, and garment creation.
Her Mothers passing provided her with the impetus to start her own business. As a tribute to her talented Mom, and to celebrate her legacy, Brenda established the My Star clothing line to highlight that every little girl is someone’s “My Star”. That “she radiantly shines from her parents’ first glance”.

Q: What is the philosophy, or mission statement behind your designs?
Brenda: “There is a Star in every family.”
She elaborated by telling me that she feels that it is important to instill within children, especially girls, a strong foundation of worth and esteem. The My Star brand allows parents and grandparents to express their deep affection and abiding belief in their children, so they can grow with confidence.  My Star by “B” provides a unique, logo that reinforces the girl’s special individuality.

My Star by B – Polo with Personalized Woven Clothing Label

Q: What type of fabrics do you use in your garments?

Brenda: “Mainly cotton, it depends on the garment.”
Brenda uses all types of fabrics to create her My Star line. Corduroy, 100% cotton, and velvet, among others combine to produce her garments. Delightful dresses, precious onesies, and adorable hats, are carefully crafted by her and her close-knit team.  Everything she offers, including the polo style shirts, T-shirts, onesies, bibs, and cuddly blankets, feature her trademarked logo and label.

My Star by “B” – Onsie

Q: Can you create one-of-a-kinds?
Brenda: “Absolutely!”
I asked if a customer were to contact her for an originally designed garment, and provided the measurements, would she be willing to come up with something unique, just for that person. She said yes, she loves to utilize her talents to sew, and can provide customized clothing for anyone’s “Star”.

My Star by “B” Bear with Personalized Ribbon from Thirty Seven West

Q: How did you find Thirty Seven West?
Brenda: “Oh, I have to tell you this story…”
Going through some of her mother’s things, she came across a bunch of old clothing labels (Her Mom labeled all her stuff!) and an order form from Name Maker. With the information provided, she was able to get in touch with Linda, for her own My Star labels.
During the initial conversation, they discovered that Brenda’s mother had purchased her labels from the company Linda’s father purchased in the 1960’s and moved from New York to Atlanta. We are Name Maker’s sister company and we are the custom woven label division.
She is thrilled to work with Thirty Seven West for all of her brand name labels and supplies, she feels that this connection has provided additional confirmation that she is on the right path. Saying, “Linda is very professional and has a great eye for detail. With her experience and expertise she helped me make the best decisions for my company regarding personalized fabric labels and personalized ribbon.” “I feel like she attentively listened and heard my needs and helped steer my company in the right direction.”

My Star by “B” Bear with Personalized Woven Fabric Label from Thirty Seven West

Q: What’s on the horizon for My Star by “B”?
Brenda: “I am show casing my Fall/Holiday collection at the 2012 IX Center Christmas Collection in Cleveland on November 16, 17th, and 18th. “ I am also planning a fashion show featuring my New Spring Collection in 2013. .”

Brenda’s mission to inspire children of all ages is admirable and fantastic, and her quality made, unique garments offer every family’s star an adorable and exquisite garment that will let her shine a little brighter.

There is a Star in every family!

If you would like to contact My Star by “B”, you can reach them the following ways:
Website: www.mystarbaby.com
Email: MyStar.by.b@aol.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/My-Star-by-B

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