Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pincushions (and More) by Handmade Pretties

A few weeks ago when I was watching Ephemera, I was in need of a birthday present for my sweet sis. I'd had my eye on a pincushion in the shop for a month or so and while I realize that a pincushion might not be a go-to birthday gift, I decided that since it brought me so much joy and my sister sews, surely she'd like it too. It was hard not to keep it for myself, but I paired it with a little felted hair clip and send it on its way.

The pincushion that I sent to Katie, as well as the two that are shown here, are made by Lara of Handmade Pretties here in Des Moines. Ephemera sells many of her products, all of which show off her talent for giving materials—old sweaters, fabric scraps—a new life.

Here's how Lara describes what she does:
I have been making things with my hands for 30 years. Nothing brings me greater joy than finding yet another way to reuse something that I would typically throw away. For example, I have discovered unlimited possibilities for the cut up sweater. Whenever possible I strive to reuse and rescue materials. I rarely, if ever, purchase new packing materials (my materials are always clean!) b/c there are SOOOOO many bags, boxes, and pieces of paper out there waiting to be reused!

I am originally from Des Moines, Iowa, but relocated to Los Angeles to attend graduate school at Cal Arts. Due to my gigantic student loan debt and my two lil' darlins, I started making accessories, baby things, and other handmade objects to make a little extra cash. In 2007 we moved back to Iowa because my craft lair was starting to take over our tiny little bungalow in Los Angeles (you know tiny pieces of felt here, twinkling glitter crusted dust bunnies there). Now I spend countless evenings from 9 o'clock to 2:30 AM sewing and stuffing and cutting my way to happiness (or pure exhaustion...)
I am pretty sure much of her work is seasonal (the pincushion I bought was cotton), so I can't wait to keep an eye on her products as time goes on. I am so glad that I discovered such a talented local artist! And, um, I might need to get myself my own pin cushion so I can stop coveting the one I sent my sis.