image above: Alicia Cornwell via flickr
This Sunday is the 86th Academy Awards. We'll be watching and my fingers will be crossed for American Hustle to take home a few Oscars. Disagree to your heart's content but Noah worked his ass off to help make that movie and I (Virginia) want it to win. Some of my dearest friends worked long, hard days to make sure the actors looked fabulous and I want that movie to take home Best Costume Design not only for them but because it is so f'ing gorgeous. I am proud of this movie. I am proud of the Boston crew that made this movie what it is.
And WE still make movies. There are Saturdays that I stumble in at 9 AM with brunch groceries in tow having rolled out of bed only a couple hours after getting done with filming somewhere in Boston. I try to smile and form coherent sentences but it doesn't always work because it's been a grueling overnight shoot and I've yet to enjoy deep sleep. Folks will say to Noah, "Haven't seen you in awhile..." but only because he hasn't been in from 10 AM to 10 PM every day. Yet he manages to get to the shop from 8 PM to 12 AM on weeknights and of course all weekend long while also shooting 12 to 14 hour days on an Oscar-nominated feature film.
above: Noah and Michelle on set discussing how to recreate the bow for continuity.
People ask us why we still do it. Why make movies when you have a successful business? The answer is complicated. We both love working. We love working with a community and a team. We enjoy doing a job really well and following it through from prep to wrap. And we have always committed the store profits to our employees wages and our community outreach. Our employees may not be getting rich but Virginia and Noah have yet to bring home any paycheck from their gather here endeavor. So doing a movie every year helps us pay for our personal life and honestly, to commit four to six months a year so we can employ awesome people and still live a comfortable life just isn't that bad.
above: Virginia in the behind the scenes video for The War of the Worlds on PBS American Experience
And we love being a part of that world. Sure, it's crazy sometimes. But I have been working with the same group of costumers for a decade now. I meet new folks all the time and get to give them a chance to break into the biz. Some of our best friends are in that business and they are the very same folks that encouraged me to open gather here. Even volunteering to build shelving, paint walls, hang fixtures, replace sinks...these are skilled, generous, and fabulous people that we get to work with and also I have the opportunity to give them work every time I take a film gig.
above: Virginia on the last day of shooting The Forger with John Travolta.
Plus working in film keeps me agile. I am constantly learning about fashion trends because of contemporary television and film work. I get to research period costumes when I get hired to work for PBS. I collaborate with costumers and tailors about fit and how garments are to be worn. It's nice work... if you can get it. Noah feels the same way. We are grateful that our numbers get called and while we can't wait to get back into the shop full-time, that bit of time away makes us appreciate what we've built with gather here even more. It's going to be a busy spring for Noah and I. He's just signed up for a huge biopic filming in Southie and I'm starting a drama with some great talent in just a week. Don't worry, we'll spend all the hours after working on our respective films in the shop. Making. Teaching. Running a small business. And always being thrilled that we made gather here.
above: Noah in Jeff Bridges's book on making RIPD.
So the fancy (and talented) Lizzy House announced a Catnap Dress Competition back in January and we were obviously psyched. But we were also super-duper busy preparing for the Quilting with a Modern Slant book launch AND our 3rd Birthday celebration. PLUS we ran out of Catnap fabric. Yes. We ran out of TWO of the Kitty Dreams colorways and couldn't get more in before the deadline. In the last couple of weeks we have sold out of other prints in the collection as well. Total bummer when you want to tell all your friends and family to make a cat dress.
In the gather here spirit we wanted to show folks that this collection is great in a variety of contexts. Because while we love dresses we also really love dress-shirts. And stuffed animals. And artists that paint princesses in Catnap dresses. And 7 year olds that are transformed into kittens when they hem their own clothes. Here's what we did. And we know the Cats of Gather Here wholeheartedly approve.
Catnap Dress Friday! Because sometimes everyone comes to work in their Catnap Dress... <PREVIEWEND>
The Zooguu Cat with Catnap Kitty Dreams in Cranberry belly and ears. Jen has been adding fabric accents to her toys and her last Dinosaur workshop featured Catnap Kitty Dreams on the sample T-Rex. Yep, that dino is the cat's meow.
Alison (sewing instructor and manager) made her Catnap Washi Dress out of Kitty Dreams in Grass with sleeves, contrast cuff and peter pan collar. Also sporting an awesome Giant Dwarf mint green starlette crown.
Carrie (of Craigie on Main and a gather here consultant) made her Catnap Cambie Dress out of Cat's Cradle in Lemon with a contrast band of Liberty of London Tana Lawn. She altered the center back of the dress with a contrast button placket which is too awesome for words.
Carla (embroidery and Kids program instructor) made her Catnap Kat Strapless Dress out of Chasing Butterflies in Wind and cotton voile. The layered skirt, boned bodice and perfect fit is definitely a winner in our book. Plus it's a "Kat" dress!
Emily (the lady we call when we need graphic design!) made her Catnap Belladone Dress out of Kitty Dreams in White with a linen/cotton skirt. Pockets are in the Catnap fabric. And those perfect peachy orange pumps...
Little E is 7 and we learned that cat dresses can transform a 7 year old into a cat. The entire hem of this dress was stitched by a sweet cat who purred, meowed, and gave kitty snuggles. Purrrrr-fect. Little E's dress is the Lily in Purrfectly Happy with shot cotton contrast.
Noah (or as he is fondly known 'round these parts, Mr. Here) made his Catnap Negroni Dress-shirt out of cotton plaid by Kokka and Kitty Dreams in Cranberry. With contrast cuffs, sleeve plackets, under-collar, and facings this shirt walks that fine line between kitsch and totally fashionable. We're voting totally fashionable. Buttons selected by Little E.
Sophie (knitting instructor and manager) made her Catnap revised Proper Attire out of Catnip in Lavender. But let's be honest, it's the Nougat sweater that gave us whiplash from taking a second look. The Nougat pattern is by Army of Knitters. Yarn is from Silver Moon Farm and Cascade 220 fingering. Gurrrrlllll, that is fierce.
Maggie (a gather here constant and maker of all things) made her Catnap Sarong out of Purrfectly Happy in Cranberry. This backdrop isn't photoshopped. Maggie is actually in Puerto Rico and made sure that the gather here catreach reached over the Atlantic.
Jerry (Alison's man-friend and the owner of Odd Fellows recording studio) is also wearing Purrfectly Happy in Cranberry. And yes, he took a selfie in the Harvard University public restroom. Meow.
Princess in a Catdress by Eling. Our motto for 2014 #MakersGonnaMake is because of the talented Eling who posted her fine lettering in 2013 and we begged her to allow us to co-opt it. Eling painted this pretty princess not only wearing Purrfectly Happy but also kitty slippers, a kitty crown AND carrying the cutest ginger kitten ever.
Virginia (sometimes called Ms. Here or the Crazy Cat Lady) made her Catnap Emery Dress out of Purrfectly Happy in Cranberry. As some of you know, Virginia already owns a Catnap Traveler Dress in Kitty Dreams in Grass but for the 3rd birthday party she really wanted to make another dress. Paired with some black velvet kitten flats, she's quite the cat lady.
We hope you've made awesome clothing, toys, quilts and honestly, just been inspired by the Catnap collection. Want to share your pics with us? Tag gather here in your Instagram photos! Or add them to the gather here flickr group! Plus we hope you'll hashtag #communitycatreach because that's what it's all about. Right? Let's make all the things together! Everywhere.
On Sunday, February 16th, we're throwing a party to celebrate three awesome years of making. And obviously, you're invited. As part of the celebration we've invited Ryan Johnson, our friend and local filmmaker to record some of the demonstrations as well as all of you that would like to share why you make.
To keep things organized we've created a booking form for you to reserve a slot of time to tell your story. This is your opportunity to answer the questions that fuel our small business, "Why do I make something? What do I make?" It can simply be a sentence. It can be your favorite creation. Whatever you want to share with us, we want to hear and see it. So please click the "book now" button and reserve your few minutes in front of the camera and tell us your story. What else is happening on Sunday? We've ordered a s'mores bar by Sweet Lydia's! We have custom designed temporary tattoos that we are sooooo excited about giving everyone featuring the gather here 2014 motto: Makers Gonna Make. We have absolutely amazing local makers doing demonstrations from 12 - 6 p.m. on both floors of the store. And we're giving away prizes because it's not a party without gifts. Plus the store is full of gorgeous new yarns and fabrics that we cannot wait to share with you.
If you have a child interested in sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, quilting, screenprinting, dyeing, needlefelting, and/or weaving then you really ought to check out our 2014 Summer Camps for young people! From beginner sessions to more complicated crafts like making a backpack, there really is something for every young maker. As always, all supplies are included in the cost of camp. Camps are half-day sessions and last one week. <PREVIEWEND>
Fiber Camp covers a variety of fiber-related handcrafts like knitting, crochet, weaving, and embroidery as well as needlefelting, screen-printing, block-printing, and dyeing. There are two sessions: June 30th and July 28th.
And the final week of summer camp consists of getting ready for school by making a backpack on August 11th.
The final post featuring two awesome makers that we've had craft crushes on foreverrrrrrr.
Sweet Lydia's is known for their s'mores and we would be leading you astray if we didn't encourage to buy some for yourself on Sunday. But if you love caramels then you should definitely pick some of them up, too. OR if you just want to enjoy handmade marshmallows then you need a bag of those, too. Seriously, if you are searching for the perfect gift for someone with a sweet tooth then Lydia has you covered. We encourage you to visit their lovely retail location in Downtown Lowell where the magic really happens. And the next person who does a private maker party at GH should totally have a S'Mores Bar by Sweet Lydia's! (all images stolen from Sweet Lydia's online shop)
Zooguu is awesome. We really don't have to say more than that. We know you love Jen because her classes at the shop have had 100% enrollment all year. And her window displays for the shop have been the pride of the neighborhood and envy of the rest of Cambridge. From the tiniest stuffed ornament to the squishiest giant dino, Zooguu will have just the stuffie you've been searching for. Every single stuffed toy/accessory is cut, assembled and finished by hand in the Zooguu studio in Beverly. Which is amazing since hundreds of toys get adopted by folks just like you every single year. (all images stolen from Zooguu's always fun Instagram)
If you are just tuning in you may have missed the announcement that Saturday and Sunday feature different vendors. 6 per day for a total of 12 totally rad makers and shakers from New England. Kim and Eling (her understudy, Virginia, will be debuting in the role) will be with us on Sunday.
K O'Brien Jewelry makes some of the loveliest modern jewelry. Virginia has become a collector of colored dot earrings to match her mood or the color of her newest scarf. We love that each disc is handcrafted, that Kim torches each piece herself to fuse the glass to the silver and that she plays with combining colors to create fantastic variations making each earring/pendant one-of-a-kind. This is simply art you want to wear. (all images stolen from Kim's great online shop!)
Migration Goods hand-makes so much awesome that we sometimes wonder if she has a clone. From hand-cut hydrangea headbands to hand-stitched pudgy bears to her newest product, pudgy bear dishes! - we think Eling must be the most productive person we know. (Did you know she is also the spinner/dyer behind Rhinofluff???? Yep, same person!) Her mini flower clips are great stocking stuffers for all the fancy people you know. (all images stolen from Eling's terrific Instagram feed)
Did you know that we have a new crop of vendors at the Handmade Holiday Show on Sunday? Yes, 6 new vendors with more awesome handmade goods for you and your loved ones.
Made in Lowell is one of our favorite makers in the whole dang world. She is committed to the Handmade Movement like no one else producing and hosting a Makers in Business show in Lowell, writing about and promoting other makers around the country and always being part of the conversation when it comes to how to sustain the handmade community. PLUS 2 out of 3 stitchers use a Made in Lowell cupcake pincushion ring. I have photographic evidence. Liz never disappoints - you'll find felted gifts, polymer accessories and so much more at her table on Sunday. (all photos stolen from Made in Lowell)
Shortcake Scraps is a force of nature and we love her and her daughter E. They both bring in lots of enthusiasm and love of color and pattern whenever they visit. Candice is a maker of beautiful cards which we proudly stock year round. We love any opportunity to introduce our customers to the makers whose products we choose to stock. We know you'll love her holiday cards as well as her fiber/craft cards. They make perfect vessels for gather here gift cards! She also has a line of felt accessories that we think would make great stocking stuffers. (all photos stolen from Shortcake Scraps flickr page)
Day 3 of our Handmade Holiday featurettes. This one dedicated to the Owl shops. Two different business but both founded on quality, focused on handmade and inspired by nature.
Happy Owl Glassworks caught our attention two years ago at the Bazaar Bizarre Boston (do you sense a theme here?) with Tracy's beautiful night lights. Colored glass and detailed illustrations stopped us in our tracks. We think you'll find it difficult not to pick up a couple lights to keep the dark at bay. We know that one of those alpaca night lights will have a home at GH. And if you are looking for something smaller Tracy also makes lovely accessories - pendants, cufflinks and pins. (all images stolen from Tracy's website)
The Orange Owl crafts some of the loveliest soaps in the world. We keep a stash of soap at home and use it daily. Our personal favorites are Good Morning Brew and Walk in the Woods to help jump start our day. 100% chemical free and hand-made in Vermont, Akshata's products are made with the environment and your health in mind. Take a bath in some of her soothing bath salts. Or moisturize on the driest days with her amazing body butters. (all gorgeous product photos stolen from Akshata's website)
A mere 23 days until Christmas! Today we are featuring two more of Saturday, December 7th's vendors!
The Merriweather Council never ceases to amaze us. She brings making into all areas of her life, including her totally gorgeous wedding this past summer. Read all about it here. We can't resist her embroidered hoops and they are part of our decorating scheme in the shop. Her mini-hoop decorations make the perfect stocking stuffer or gift tag. Or pick up an initial necklace for the gal who has everything. (all pics properly stolen from artist's website)
Abby Berkson Ceramics captured our attention at the 2013 Union Made show. Not only did we purchase a narwhal mug but a good friend gifted us two adorable kitten and fox espresso cups. We think all the animals in scarves are must-haves for knitters and animal-lovers. Of which we are both. PLUS who doesn't want to enjoy breakfast out of a fox bowl??? (all pics stolen from artist's Etsy shop)