Zoe Loomis of Birdie Handmade
location: rural VT
location: rural VT
Zoe and I met many many years ago and I am happy to call her my friend. She is an inspiring and creative woman with a lovely family and an eye for design. enjoy the spotlight. -kacey
1. What is the name of your business, what do you create and sell and how did you get started?
My business name is Birdie Handmade. I create one of a kind, handmade goodies from recycled textiles. This started out as just something to take up my time and keep my fingers busy, but I've since discovered that I love to create using the color and texture that you get with wool and fibers, and I enjoy having something to do that uses the other part of my brain - the part that isn't always called on in my "other" job as mommy (to three wonderful kiddos).
2. What/who inspires you?
I am inspired by so many random things (in no particular order); my children, selfless people, the light on the hills behind my house, the way old houses age, music, people who stay true, my friends, the ocean at sunset, courage in the face of overwhelming odds
3. Give us a peek into you work space. Where do you create? Describe your work space or studio.
I create from my home. I live WAY out in rural Vermont, so I spend plenty of time at home. I'm also a stay at home mom, so I've created a studio that I can work in while my children play around me. It's slightly crazy, but oh so warm and welcoming. We live in an old general store and grange hall that had been abandoned until we bought it four years ago, so my work space is in the part of the building that used to be the store. I use the old counters to work on, and the shelves are full of my fabrics. I have to be able to look at all of my fabric at once to get an idea for my next creation. I'm always getting ideas by seeing one piece of material bump up next to another. I love that I can be sewing a dress while my daughter toddles around my feet, but of course it can sometimes be total and complete chaos around here. If I take a break to have a cup of coffee, I am sitting by the woodstove looking out at a beautiful field and the hills behind it. I can't think of a better place to work.
4. Where do you sell and promote your work?
I have two main outlets that I sell my work through. The first of course is Etsy (if you don't know it, you should!) I love the Etsy community and the inspiration I get from the amazing and talented artists who show their work on the site. The other main place that I sell my work is at my local farmer's market - the West River Farmer's Market in Londonderry, VT. I love meeting and talking to my customers face to face. It is a wonderful and festive atmosphere, and it feels so right to be part of a system that promotes local businesses over the mega corps that surround us. I guess it's slightly subversive. I also sell my work in select boutiques, but as I'm sure many of you out there know, finding the right balance in the wholesale market can be tough when your work is handmade and one of a kind. However, it is cool to know that there are people as far away as Hawaii that can walk into a store and find something that I made.
5. What are three things you can't live without?
My Children, Red Wine & Chocolate, Sunshine
6. What are your three favorite things about Vermont?
Evenings on the front porch, the ease with which I can touch the natural world around me, the pace of life that puts substance and friendship before the less important stuff.
7. What does the term indie craft mean to you?
Indie craft means interesting people using their hearts and hands to create things of beauty and value; it's a revolution in a way, away from the mass produced junk we are bombarded with. It is people with insight and brains saying that we don't need anyone else to tell us what is cool. We can decide for ourselves, and we're smart enough to make it ourselves too - or find someone who can make it for us!
8. Any new products, projects or news you want to share?
Check out my website www.birdiehandmade.etsy.com to see what I do. Everything is one of a kind, and I try to list new goodies once a week. Come warm weather, check to see what craft fairs and markets I'll be at. I'd love to meet you in person!
thanks Zoe! You can find her products available online at birdiehandmade.etsy.com