Would you call yourself an artist or designer?
I don’t really call myself anything but I do know working with textiles is good for my brain and soul.
What inspires you to hit the sewing machine?
I love finding fabrics that have had another life and making them into something else. An old linen tablecloth someone patiently embroidered or cross stitched, evidence of family gatherings left behind; an old wool blanket woven on a table loom and stitched together; thick textured cotton curtains, sun faded on the wrong side; luxurious off cuts from other projects – they all tell me what their new life might be. Sometimes they need patching or dying to help them on their way.
Can you tell us a little about how you used our fabrics?
The bags I’ve made from the HK off cuts were all torn into pieces so each one is unique and the waste is minimal. Being an all black collection, I wanted to find the colours hidden in the blackness so I removed some layers
What a unique way of looking at black! We’ve always loved black for its lack of colour, but it’s true; black really is made up of many, many colours.
Can you tell us a little more about Smoking Lily and what you love about it?
Smoking Lily has been screen printing, designing and sewing garments and accessories for 23 years – I’ve been there for almost 12. Our goal is to be a zero fabric waste company, to make use of every last piece of fabric we bring in. We use only nontoxic inks in our print room and work to be good stewards to the earth. Our kid’s line is made entirely out of leftover bits from our other projects, as are many of our accessories.
I love seeing the whole process from start to finish. Sometimes I’ve helped screen print fabric, then cut the patterns and days later I get to help someone try it on in the shop. My favourite is when they wear the new garment out of the shop, preferring it to what they wore when they came in. That’s my everyday full circle.
Circular fashion is waaay on trend now, but you’ve been doing it for a long time, ya?
I started working in circular fashion ‘before it was cool’ pretty much, because that’s what I could afford. I started making things out of my gramp’s old suit shirts, sheets etc.
Oh, love that.
You’re always so positive. Where does that come from? Do you have a daily mantra?
No daily mantra... I guess it’s just how I was built. I didn’t realize I was so positive but I know when or if I have grey moods I find it too exhausting to think like that so it passes fast.
Do you have a superhero?
My Mom. She’s really cool. (Do tell her I said that, haha!) Now that I am at an age where we are more friends that parent/kid, I can appreciate how frickin’ wise she is. And she just doesn’t really give a shit what anyone thinks about her.
What are you creating right now?
This spring my Mom and I started a project together. We have 100 organic cotton bandanas we are naturally dying. We spent a few days in her garden studio and have about half done. Some indigo and some dyed with plants and flowers from her garden. We want to do some sort of installation with all 100 hanging together. Then we may sell them individually for some sort of charity donation.
What’s your most memorable piece of clothing, or favorite piece of clothing of all time?
Favourite clothing, hmmm… They change really, but two things right now? My black linen Tilda jumpsuit from Smoking Lily is one of those things I know will be a favourite for a long time. I love it so much I’m considering getting a backup for when I wear this one out because I wear it so much.