Cottage Cloth is the product of a deep passion for colour and design, a desire to work independently with my hands and for my family, and a need to create in an environmentally conscientious way.
But how did I get here? I have always loved creating and I learned the basics of sewing as a child of the 70s in small town Ontario with a hippie stepmother who figured if you could make something from scratch, then why not?
But other than a little creative dabbling I never considered the possibility of devoting my life to creative pursuits. There were no artists in my family, I did not know any artists, and so I followed the path of least resistance, which guided me through many years of academia and culminated in a PhD.
I taught for a few years at the University of Toronto and there are many aspects of scientific research and teaching that I love, but increasingly I became aware of a personal need to use my hands to create, and that I was not doing the work necessary to feed my soul on a daily basis.
Having three young children at home helped me slow down and explore some of my buried passions (how could I resist sewing sun dresses for my sweet little girl?!) and once I started tapping into this I knew I couldn't stop.
Creative blogs and on-line fabric shops blew my mind and kept me up at night dreaming of making, making, making! I dabbled a bit in textile design but I struggled with how much time I was spending sitting at the computer. How could I make this more physical? Get my hands and body moving? There must be a way!
And then the answer came when, several years ago, I bought a large piece of unprimed artist's canvas for my kids to stamp. I had them draw and carve simple linoleum blocks (note: letting a two year old use carving tools in not recommended!) and after printing all over the fabric I cut it up and made tea towels to give as Christmas gifts. It was beautiful! I hated to cut it up and almost kept it as a table cloth.
I started playing around with carving myself and it was thrilling. It took me several more years to develop the process (what carvings? What level of detail? What tools? Which ink? What consistency? How much ink to use? How much pressure? Which fabric? Etc.), which brings me to now.
I truly love this process end to end - drawing designs, the buttery feel of carving soft linoleum, mixing inks into gorgeous colour palettes, the reveal after pressing each stamp onto soft organic canvas, and the magic of sewing my own printed fabric into a finished product! It is extremely satisfying and I am thrilled to be able to share myself and my journey with others through my finished prints!
Thank you so much for reading my story and visiting my new shop!
See more of Cottage Cloth at: https://www.instagram.com/cottage_cloth/
Please reach out with any questions at all - I would love to hear from you!
Kailey (designer, maker, owner of Cottage Cloth)