© Five Crows, Natick Center / September 2018
I have been sewing since I was a young girl. My mother is an artist and seamstress, and she always had a closet of fabrics and a project in the works. We made many trips to the local mill “outlet stores” (when they were actually attached to working mills) and dug through tables of remnants to find just the perfect piece of fabric for the current project or one to be thought of later.
I graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in textile design, but spent most of my time there turning my woven or printed fabrics into clothing, some of it wearable and some weird. All of the fabrics then were of natural fibers, silks, wool or cotton. It is amusing to me now that my line is mostly made of synthetic Polartec® and rainwear fabric.
My early years in the real world were working in small studios for other designers and in retail shops both large and small. I started Red Rover Clothing in 1993 when my children, Kate now 28 and James, 26 were just starting school. I packed up my old car and with a friend headed to a crafts fair in the Berkshires. I got a great response to the clothing and was on my way.
Twenty or so years later, I have many national galleries and stores that sell my work as well as my own seasonal store here at the studio. My husband and I have renovated an historic house to hold my operation as well as his architectural business. I still participate in the craft fairs where I began, as well as many others on the eastern coast.
My designs are influenced in part from watching what people wear and what makes them feel comfortable and special. My customers often relate stories of the many compliments they get wearing my work. I use color, texture and detail to make the clothing unusual, but not over the top. The ribbon trims that embellish my work are my own design (my textile skills in miniature width). All of the clothing is designed and sewn in Massachusetts with the help of my assistants. I feel fortunate to be able to do what I love.