Hey there, crafty friends!
I hope everyone is having a great day so far! Remember, when we launched our #AGFmakersspotlight on Instagram at the beginning of February? Over the past weeks we’ve received so many great projects that it was so difficult to choose a maker to feature this month! After long deliberation we finally chose our AGF Maker for February! I’m happy to introduce you to Jen from @bandanasbandanas. We absolutely fell in love with these little art pieces she made with Observer Fabrics by April Rhodes.
We’re excited to show her work and to get to know all about her creative journey. Check out this quick interview we had with her. :)
Hi Jen! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am pretty much a work in progress. I live in Vermont where things are slow and rural. We have a lot of clean air and sometimes too much free time. Personally, I cherish my free time and enjoy the slowed down way of living. I try to make as few plans as possible, unless I'm planning to sew for every minute of all my days off…I will plan that in;) In all reality, I would not be here without my husband and kids, as they are a huge part of where I have been, where I am at, and where I am going.
My man has always encouraged my art, and over time I have learned that making art feeds my happy place, in a very essential way. I have a job that is not art related, so I make in my spare time. I don't mind because it puts less pressure on my creative flow. A lot of where I am at with my art comes from whats going on in my family life at the time. Like, for example, selling lemonade at a local farmers market for 3 summers because your daughter asked you if she could sell lemonade. It was a great experience for both of us though, and fun and very creative.
My makes were all over our stand. From the collage signage, to the bandanas hanging from the rafters, to the repurposed drawer turned upside down to display the lemonade itself. I tend to be really drawn to mediums that have heavy roots in craft. Weaving, quilting, clothes, I love repurposing, and especially love collage. I am not afraid of a slow process. Making is just a part of what I am all about. When I met my husband I had a job in a department store. I remember not really “getting” why they put me in the Handbags and Accessories department. Turns out, some of my favorite things to make are handbags and accessories…;)
When did you start sewing and what are some of your favorite things about the craft?
I grew up watching my mom sew and mend. She made her own clothing in the 60’s because she was one of 6 children and liked fashion. As a kid, I watched her log evening hours making dresses, nightgowns, hemming my dad’s pants. Apparently I picked up on more than I thought. I made my first quilt when I was a teen. My sister came home from her first year of college in New England, motivated to piece a quilt. I couldn't stay out of her project and eventually just kinda just took it over.
Collage is a medium that carried me away for a long time. And in itself, can be presented in many materials (like tile, paper, fabric). It was really the nesting instinct and having and babies that brought sewing out for me. My first baby came in the month of September and by Halloween I had made her a costume:). Little sewing projects were always constant but sewing didn't take over my creative life completely until I had my “late” baby, at 30;).
A friend gave me some handmade flannel burp rags. Burp rags turned into bandanas. Then came blankets, and considering how to stitch a quilt without a “quilting” machine. Bandanas made their way into handbags, handbags brought light to the idea of mini quilts, and now I am here with this scrap obsession, digging back into collage through fabric. This is just the beginning for me, as my skills are raw and unrefined and there is so much more I have to learn about this craft, and the larger world of textiles in general. My favorite thing about sewing is that it is so fundamental, practical, useful, and basic, but it can be so expressive detailed, and complicated as well. Even down to the end of a project, once you have accomplished the piecing and are feeling the finish line, you come to the stitching, which alone has the ability to completely transform a piece.
Can you tell us about your project and what inspired you to make it?
Observer was a collection that I watched for a long time before I had it, and even knew exactly what I wanted to make with it, before it was even in my hands. Around the time I finally got my own stash of Observer, Suzy Quilts was releasing sewmojo2. I had seen the first but hadn't yet jumped in. While I was trimming and prepping pieces for what I had originally planned to make with Observer, I noticed my scraps would be perfect for the sewmojo1 I had been seeing on IG. So, I bought mojos 1&2 and used it as a fun departure from my other projects to work out my “Observer mojo”. These colors make me think of the sky and the earth and I can't help but turn them into different scenes.
In playing with my Observer trimmings, I found some were perfectly fitting for Amy Sinibaldi’s design challenge with the split triangles. Those triangles turned into teepees on horizons. Even the leftover of the leftovers have become their own kind of scrap mini. And so it goes;). So far I have 3 full mojo sets (12 mojos) with Observer, in 3 different color schemes. It has been so much fun!! I would have to say, best part of my creative process, is that it is my own. I create at my own pace, with no outside pressure, and I truly love and enjoy every second along the way. Oh, and serape was what I originally wanted to make with Observer, and the serape became Face Blankies:)
What are some of your favorite AGF collections?
I am a sucker for all of April Rhodes lines. Naturally, Sage by Barij appeals because lemons are my favorite superfood. Tapestry by Sharon Holland, Etno by Pat Bravo, Maureen uses beautiful colors in all of her collections….I hate to pick favorites because I’m sure I have yet to see all of the collections. Your AGF Denim Studio line has changed my fabric world! I love all of them, but quilting with the the lightweights, Lovey Dobby, and Outland Yarn Dyes has truly been a treat and I love how much the denims complement the prints. My favorite heavyweight is hands down the orange;)
How did you find out about AGF and what was your first thought when you started sewing with our fabrics?
I found you on Instagram.:) I am late to the technology game, I didn't even have internet, a computer, or an iPhone until 2012. Needless to say there was a whole virtual world to discover. Once I got on, and slowly familiar with IG, I started exploring the quilting and fabric world on there and it blew my mind! I started using Instagram like it was my homework, for quilting. Gathering ideas, seeing what other people are capable of making, and absorbing all of it.
Last spring I was peeling through IG for handbag ideas and patterns. I had taken a hiatus from bandanas but wanted to do something with my wasted time and hoard of bandana scraps. Coordinating handbags to match bandanas were the first thing that had been on my back burner for too long, and my own bag needed to be replaced. I knew I wanted to use denim with the bandana scraps, but I needed bag ideas and maybe even a pattern;)
I was drawn in initially to AGF by April Rhodes’ tribally influenced Bound fabric on the bag Jenn Rosotti made. Essentially, it was all right there on IG, all I had to do was open the door;) My first AGF purchase was a fat quarter bundle of Wanderer and one in Bound as well. The next purchase was a half yard denim bundle…game changer;) In general, the fabric quality is far better than anything I have used before. Very lightweight yet sturdy. I love working with it!!
What are some of your favorite things to sew and why?
I would be lying if I didn't say my bandana scarf. I literally wear one every day. In fact, I dress around my bandana. I use them for warmth, fashion, and function. I even find practical use for them at work (at my real job, which not sewing). I think I have a personal collection of at least 60 bandanas;) The next favorite is mini quilts. So much less pressure than a whole quilt and very satisfying to see on the wall. Last but not least, handbags. What lady doesn't love pretty handbags!?
We hope you all enjoyed getting to know Jen! Check out her work on her instagram account @bandanasbandanas. Make sure to continue submitting all your projects made with AGF to the hashtag #AGFmakersspotlight for a chance to win some fabric and get featured on the blog.
Till next time,