handmade: a family tradition to pass down (part 9 in our series on inspiration)
The seeds of creativity seem to be planted often, and early, in people who go on to spend large chunks of their life working with their hands and engaged in artisanal work. Perhaps part of the reason is that what we see as children - what we witness (especially in our parents and primary caregivers) - carries so much weight.
Today, in part 9 of our series on the roots of design, Arnelle from the organic clothing shop PurePixie shares part of her inspiration story. (Photo above, and all those that follow, are from PurePixie).
"As far as I remember I always loved to make things with my hands. At school my favorite classes were drawing and crafts.
Both my parents and grand-parents were very crafty and making things was part of their every day life. When my grandma (a former seamstress) became blind, she was still able to do a lot of sewing just by "looking" with her fingers."
In Arnelle's words: "After she retired, my other grandma was knitting and crocheting all kinds of sweaters for us and my mom was sewing all our clothing. They both taught me as a child how to sew, knit and crochet and as a teen I started sewing my own clothing. I remember how my Mom could alter a basic pattern and sew almost anything trendy out of it. My dad was working mostly with (ferrous) metals - for the most part repurposed. I remember that once for my birthday he made a small wardrobe with handmade hangers to store my doll's clothing. The basement of my parent's house is still packed with perfectly sorted pieces of metal that he may need some day. I also remember spending hours reading my dad's children magazines from the late 40's early 50's. Their graphics are still a great source of inspiration."
"Then I went to college and I was so busy studying and working as a tutor to pay my rent that I forgot all about creativity. It is only when I got the opportunity to do some graphic design as part of one of my jobs that I realized how much I was missing it."
"When my husband and I moved to the US in September 2001, I was without a work visa so could not look for a job and I started to create for good. First I made jewelry and even graduated as a jeweler. My favorite domain was forging. It is so amazing to see how a flat sheet of metal can move and become almost alive and take all kinds of organic shapes when forged. When I had my first child I started to make clothing for him and I still do it now that I have two kids. Their favorite pieces of clothing are all home- and hand - made (and organic or upcycled). My youngest one loves to say proudly: "c'est maman qui a fait!"(Mom made it!)
I learned from my family all the basics and when I was ready to start I was able to immediately jump in. I learned also from them that sometimes you have to try over and over again until you get it right. It can be very frustrating but once you figured it out this is all that matters. Hopefully I'll be able to pass this onto my kids."