by Brandi McElhatten
Hey there, happy summer, my friends! Our summer vacation has been pretty jam-packed with family stuff, birthdays, and a new job! Welcome to the latest installment of our Make or DIY column – The Handmade Heartbeat!
It’s been pretty rainy here in Ohio for most of the summer. It has basically been 5 days of rain, then 2 days of it being muggy and overcast – with an occasional sun-soaking. Our bizarro weather has led me to discover that a comfy and lightweight infinity scarf can be worn both in the crisp days of fall, as well as on those cooler summer nights. To help you find the perfect, lightweight scarf I would like to introduce you to Amy Bennet of Mod Lux. Amy and I live in the same town and both have kiddos of similar ages, as well as belonging to the same CSA program. I have watched Amy’s business grow bigger and more successful over the past few years. I have had the pleasure of visiting her studio and seeing her work up close and personal.
First, how did you get into making scarves and selling on Etsy?
I quit my career as an English teacher to become a stay-at-home mom. I started my own business because I needed some space for myself. I now have the best of both – I have my own creative outlet and I get to spend my days with my two small kiddos. My mom taught me how to sew as a child and I’ve always enjoyed it. I paired my appreciation for literature with sewing and came up with literary scarves. It resonated with people on Etsy and I expanded in directions that interest me and my clients.
What inspires you? I know it’s a broad question, but have at it. . .
Interesting quotes or concepts inspire me. For example, I really enjoy poetry written by Rumi so I scoured his work for a quote that would feel right on a scarf. When I found, “Let yourself be drawn by the strange pull of what you love. It will not lead you astray.” it just clicked. Or when I stumbled across Fibonacci – I wanted to print a geometric expression of his ideas. I follow my nose and my interests to find new and beautiful quotes and graphics to print on fabric.
I can print almost anything on fabric. My favorite is handwriting. Many clients have asked me to print excerpts handwritten by a relative that has passed. Recently a client sent me a paragraph written by his recently deceased mother-in-law. It was from her journal and in it she wrote very candidly about her love for her daughter, his wife. The husband asked me to print this paragraph on a scarf so his wife could be embraced by her mother’s loving words. These are the projects I truly enjoy.
When worn, my scarves are wrapped twice. The text and graphics are not easily read and appear more as design or texture. As a result, the words are meant more for the person wearing it than others. I spend a lot of time pairing fonts with quotes to convey just the right voice. Sometimes I mix in a graphic to accompany the quote. I work on the quotes little by little until they feel right to me.
Where can people find your work?
I sell exclusively through my Etsy shop: modlux.etsy.com
Any handmade artists you love? Leave a comment or email us at email@example.com.