Wool Jackets Create Tribute of Journeys with a Loving Husband
I received this commission at the Holiday Art Fair in Saratoga. I met a lovely woman who was taken with the fact that I could transform wool clothing from a loved one into beautiful up-cycled accessories – tote bags, cross-body bags, clutch bags, glass cases and even catnip mice. She returned later that day with 2 jackets that had belonged to her late husband, that were clearly cherished memories. They represented trips they had take together. She requested 7 zip top bags be made, one for each of her 3 daughters and 3 grand-daughters and one for herself. I really needed more wool objects to make all the happen, so I suggested that perhaps if she had any of her own wool clothing to add to this, then it becomes objects that represent the two of them together. She loved that idea, and returned the next day with 2 beautiful red jackets, that held their own stories, as gifts from him to her.
When ready to tackle the creative design for this project, I laid out the wools and carefully measured and planned the 7 bags that were part of the main commission. All pieces were measured twice, cut once, as Dad would say, and then arranged and rearranged until I had combinations that I was sure she would love. It was fun to integrate the pockets of all the jackets, into the bags, but also zippered pockets in pockets on one bag. This same bag ended up using a piece of wool that had an embroidered logo (Subtle black embroidery on back wool) on the front side of the bag. (When I showed the client this big she proclaimed, “Oh!! That one is mine!!”)
When all bags were completed, I still had plenty of wool to create more products, if the client wanted them – and she did. Three clutches, two wallets, a glass case and catnip mice were added to round out the commission.
The client wrote this story to include in all of her gifts to family and has allowed me to reprint it here:
Happy 2020 Birthday-a bit early for all to receive simultaneously,
The enclosed is a unique bag. The very talented Connie Snyder of Lilac Hill Designs made it for you. I met Connie at a local crafts fair in the fall of 2019. She makes only “up cycled” products. When I was admiring her work I noticed a small card.
“Preserve the Memory of a Loved One. We create custom designed Tote bags, Clutches & Cross-Body Bags from favorite wool suit jackets for your family to keep their memory alive.”
Thus this bag made from two very special jackets of your father/grandfather and two of my jackets.
When Connie and I discussed the project she knew she would need more material to make seven Cross-Body Bags (one for me,too) so I added my jackets. She lives near Kingston, NY. When she finished the bags in January we met in Hudson for the delivery. I was thrilled to see how she was able to combine the jackets into beautiful, one of a kind bags. I hope you will find them as precious as the memories they carry with them.
The Donegal Tweed jacket was purchased in Ireland in 1988. Your father carried it in his bicycle pannier as we toured western Ireland with Country Cycling Tours. The leader was a friend from Columbia Co. who also taught high school English at Ichabod Crane (where I worked for 20 years). The jacket rode over the Glengesh Pass. Check that out on Google.
The black jacket came from the South Island of New Zealand when we were on our 2004 Bicycle Adventures tour. It also travelled through some steep terrain and gorgeous scenery as we crossed the Southern Alps from Christchurch to Hokitika.
My contributions were the red boiled wool material from a Geiger jacket made in Austria but bought in Albany and a reversible (red/brown) alpaca jacket from an alpaca farm in Columbia Co. Neither was ever on a bicycle. But we frequently cycled by the alpaca farm on our county rides. Also lots of hills!