For those of you who don’t know me: I am an artist. It took me a long time to be able to say that about myself. I grew up surrounded by wildly talented people, in my family and community. As a kid, I liked art, and was creative, but never “wanted to be an artist when I grew up.” I didn’t invest myself in a creative discipline the way the rest of my family did, and I had a very practical side to my personality. I told myself that I was creative, but not an artist; not a person who makes art.
My mother and grandmother taught me to sew when I was a kid. I liked Home Ec, and got through 8th grade sewing class by making a swimsuit cover-up from a simplicity pattern. Sewing was not a passion, and maybe still isn’t, but I’m good at it.
When I was 17, living in a rundown apartment in Harrisburg, PA with a bunch of other queer art kids, I met the people who would shape my future in ways I could only imagine. I remember the afternoon at the apartment. We hadn’t lived there very long, so the phone was still turned on. I was home alone and got a call for Josh, one of my roommates. “There was going to be an art party that night at this lady’s house, and could Josh make it, and am I an artist, too? Do I want to come along?” I LIED. I said I was an artist.
That night I met the two men who would teach me garment construction, and party planning, and responsibility, and the value of mentorship. They would give me a place to crash when my housing situation got awful and loan me a serger “until further notice.” They let me pull the parade float. They let me fade out of their lives, like people do, without judgement. I love you Rocco and Uncle Bob. Thanks for it!
I started out running a sewing business that looked much different from what I am doing now. When my son was a baby, I quit my job of 11 years in retail management, and started making cloth diapers, diaper bags, and other infant items. The business fizzled out, but left me with the knowledge of what I needed to do next. The biggest thing I disliked about the baby business, was the boredom. I liked creating a pattern, but once it was done, I hated the assembly line production.
A dear friend introduced me to “the “Katwise coat” and I am forever grateful to both women for the gift of inspiration. The reason I love making one-of-a-kind pieces, is that I get to use my creative muscles in every single piece. I am less a seamstress, and more a sculptor of fabric. I can fall in love with each garment as I discover it under my hands, and then send it out into the world and never make another exactly like it again. It fuels my passion in a way that I need to thrive. Thank you for reading, and appreciating.
love all : all love,