Monday, November 14, 2016

Vendor Profile #4 - Woolly Encores

Tell us about your work and what we can expect to see at this years Handmade Hamilton?

I make mittens and scarves from upcycled, felted wool sweaters.  In my stack of mittens, you'll see some are appliqued, some embroidered - and all are finished with a fun button on the cuff.  New this year are my infinity scarves - made from the mountain on wool scraps that mittens produce!  I hate to waste any material, and these scarves are a fun (and warm!) way to make sure nothing goes in the trash.

 What does your process look like?

My process starts in the thrift store, where I find wool sweaters begging for a second life.  Almost all have a hole or stain somewhere, or a print straight from 1987.  But they can be saved!  It's amazing how the ugliest sweater can become the funkiest mittens.  I felt and disassemble the sweaters, then each print, colour or pattern dictates what happens in terms of decoration.  I make liners from recycled fleece blankets, then sew everything up into a cozy pair of mitts.

What are your inspirations?

Everything!  Nature, vintage buttons, geometric patterns, the sweaters themselves - and my customers.  Every show will have a request that never crossed my mind:  Do I have any mittens with turtles on them?  No...but I will next time!

Tell us some of your favourite things about Hamilton?

I love Hamilton's small-town vibe in a big city.  I can walk from my house to almost anything I need - and the city's in a state of constant improvement.  You get the sense that after years and years of talking and wishing, everything is starting to happen.

How has Hamilton's art and craft scene changed in the past 5 years?

I'm pretty new to the art and craft scene, but I've been amazed at the support of people in this city that want to support local artisans.  I've had bags of donated sweaters show up on my doorstep!  I had emails from friends of friends that saw a Facebook post and want to place an order. It's really wonderful.

Many makers listen to podcasts.  Do you? and what are some of your favourites?

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