Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sherri Mash- Sweet Annie's Vintage

Sherri Mash- Sweet Annie's Vintage
If you would have told me 3 years ago I would be making a living sewing I would have laughed in your face! I went to school to study portrait photography and eventually opened my own studio which I ran successfully for 26 years. When the economy took a dive, many people needed to find alternatives that were cheaper than the professional studio. Digital opened the doors to many amateurs wanting to play around with portraiture and they filled this need. Subsequently most of the full time full service studios could no longer make their expenses with the loss of clients. I was forced to close my studio and took 3 different jobs in 1 ½ years just to keep food on the table. My husband, who was also self-employed and hurt by the change in technology and economy, finally got a job with the FAA. I was laid off from my last job so I decided to take a break and play around with the vintage quilts and linens I loved so much.
I could not stand to see well loved quilts and tablecloths etc.., getting thrown away or languishing in drawers forgotten. Women and girls put hours of hand work into these beautiful pieces of fabric. They needed a new life, a chance to be appreciated and loved again so I started making pillows and bags out of these vintage linens.
When I look at each piece I acquire, I just marvel at the time and love these ladies put into their work. It’s weird but it is almost a spiritual experience but I honor the woman who made each piece as I cut them and remake them into new items. I appreciate each hand stitch in the quilted parts I use, the embroidery stitch in the table scarf. My favorite and actually an obsession is Feed Sack fabric prints! I love the colors, the graphics just everything about that time in American history. If I could afford to just collect feed sacks and display them I would! I am also inspired by the fact that I try to incorporate used fabrics in a lot of my projects. Sustainability is important to me.
My Mother was a professional seamstress who worked from home. I was surrounded all day with my Mom cutting, sewing, altering clothing for many women in our town. I was in 4H and learned to sew but I never loved it. Actually, when my youngest Daughter was in 4H and chose to take sewing I could not really help her much because I hated it so and REALLY HATED patterns and instructions! When she stopped sewing I was starting to want to play with some stuff and found her machine was so easy to work with it was fun and my addiction to fabrics, prints and creativity just lead to more and more projects.
We were able to move into my Grandparents 1800’s farm house when we lost our businesses so I am now surrounded with a vintage feel which really inspires my creativity. I am using the bedroom where my Mother grew up as my craft room. I have slowly been working on organizing my fabric stash with old furniture pieces and wood boxes as well as some industrial drawers to keep my art supplies in. I don’t want a clean modern studio. That is to sterile for my taste. I need a bit of an eclectic look to my art space. I did copy a Pinterest cutting table idea which is the best thing I ever have done. I also do paper crafting as well as mixed media and digital art so my space is divided into sections to keep my spaces separate. Hahaha, I really don’t have a process. If I am sewing, I just let the piece of fabric talk to me and then I repurpose it into something beautiful!
I am different in that almost all my products are made of repurposed and vintage fabrics. I realize this is not everyone’s cup of tea and because I am addicted to color and design I have ventured into [had an excuse to buy ;)] new fabrics that will appeal to a broader market but still work with the bags and pillows styles I make.
I will be focusing most on my new Carry-All bags/Diaper bags. I carry this bag myself and love the size and the pockets. It’s a great bag design. And I have a great clutch/ wallet design that has been really fun to modify according to the fabric prints I am using. I hope to also have several pillows made from 40’s and 50’s tablecloths. These are a lot of fun and very Retro.
There are so many talented local people who need to make a living and really want to do what they love to do. The craftsmanship is usually far better than something manufactured, the items are usually unique and you are helping someone fulfill their dreams. Also you are keeping the money local.

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