From as far back as I can remember, the importance of good quality in every purchase has been instilled in me by my mother and grandmothers. I don't know if it's from their Celtic and Scandinavian backgrounds or what, but because of their high standards, I always notice that the quality of materials used to make items today is shockingly lower than the quality of materials used 50+ years ago. Starting my jewelry business with cheaper materials was not an option, I felt like that would be letting me and my customers down. In the end, I can only create quality jewelry with quality materials.
I remember shopping at a vintage clothing store when I was in elementary school with my mother. I eventually got a job working retail there in my teens. The store sold clothing from all different eras - some even going back to the 1820s. Most of the oldest garments were painstakingly crafted, but were from a time when polyester didn't exist and natural fibers, which deteriorate, were available. The most well-made garments showed signs of wear from their natural fibers breaking down. In addition to my duties behind the counter, I also had the pleasure of carefully weaving parts of these textiles back together. My boss Richard would leave little notes safety-pinned onto clothing with directions on what needed to be done. It may have been a button missing from a 1960's dress or an entire patch of wool missing from the sleeve of a beautiful, 19th century men's suit. Using my boss's collection of vintage threads and buttons, I was able to bring these historic outfits back to their former glory. After piecing together the complicated and detailed patterns in vintage garments, I have become all too aware of the decline in quality over the years. In today's fast-pased fashion industry, too many companies are rushed by demand and forced to cut corners. The use of high quality materials has been shrinking in today's I-need-it-right-now culture.
I love working with my hands, so working with these beautiful old dresses and suits on a quiet, rainy Tuesday, when the store was empty for most of the day, was one of my favorite parts of my job back then. And my steady devotion to creating quality pieces is a huge part of what I pour into my craft today.