My goal is to create a waste-free environment by gardening, composting, and making products from organic and repurposed materials. All of my products are sewn with my most cherished heirloom, my grandmother's 1958 Singer Slant-O-Matic sewing machine. My prints are hand-painted from the plants in our native and edible gardens.
Working as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines (1996-1998) opened my eyes to the amount of waste people consume and the detrimental effects it has on the environment. It wasn’t that the people I worked and lived with in the rural fishing community in the Philippines were more wasteful than we are; they had to deal with their waste on a daily basis and couldn’t take it to the curb every week as we do here. I feel that as consumers, we can really change the impact we have on our local and global environment by the way we choose to spend our money and really think about the life cycle each product has on our environment.
The products I make are inspired by the materials I find. A vintage linen will transform into a 60‘s-inspired dress I named the Maude dress. A Vera linen and vinyl tablecloth will evolve into a picnic blanket. Or a unique embroidered linen napkin will be the pocket for a girl’s ‘happy power’ dress, which is a loose fitting play dress made from vintage linens. My daughter came up with the term ‘happy power’, asking my husband one morning if he had happy power. I thought it was a perfect name for the first style of girls dresses I designed. If I buy virgin material, I source material made sustainable resources such as organic cotton, bamboo and hemp.
My passion for making prints from plants in our garden came from an early appreciation of nature, growing up in the Cahuilla Hills in Palm Desert, California and later on in life taking botany courses in college. I’m continuously learning through nature and want to pass along this knowledge. I share my learning experiences in gardening and composting, and some of the ways I have found to reduce the amount of waste in our household on my website and other social media.
WHAT IS UPCYCLING? It’s basically making something new from something old. One of my biggest inspirations in starting my business came from the book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, written by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. They state that the goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. This reduces the consumption of new raw materials when creating new products. Reducing the use of new raw materials can result in a reduction of energy usage, air pollution, water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
WHO IS IRIS? Iris is our desert tortoise we adopted from the Living Desert Reserve who lives under the mesquite tree in our garden. She is about 60 years old and she is the ultimate sustainable member of our family, eating the native desert plants in our garden.