Denise came up with the name ilo last winter. Its origin is Finnish and it translates as joy. Denise is also the one that gave the gentle shove to put together an on-line shop, and so Henhouse Fibers joined ilo to be ilo collective on Etsy in March 2011.
Denise lives two miles up the road in a contemporary house with angled ceilings and angled walls. Her studio is washed with morning light and its deep eggplant walls are both dramatic and soothing.
Here she creates messenger bags, laptop sleeves, garden totes, and any number of useful pouches and cases. She’s a sucker for Liberty fabric and is acquiring a good sized collection of vintage Marimekko textiles.
Her dog Josie hangs out with her after the kids are off to school and the day is fresh with possibilities.
Brenda lives a bit further away, and her studio is nestled under the eaves in her cozy old farmhouse, surrounded by orchards and blackberries.
She is a founding member of Henhouse Fibers and makes quirky pillows from felted sweaters, contemporary flower bouquets from wire and vintage buttons, delightful applique covers for composition books, and signature funky aprons from her patinaed family linens—feather ticking, floursack cloth and cotton prints.
Colorful thread and bowls of buttons catch the eye first. A tiny French wooden bed is a good place to curl up with a book or magazine and think of ideas, and the egg yolk walls are the perfect backdrop for the piles of fabric all around.
My studio is on the main floor of a saltbox barn across the lawn from my house. In summer it is easy and wonderful to pop out to the barn to paint or sew or do photography. In the winter, it takes a bit more effort, since I need to shovel my way there through the snow, depending on the day.
I recently acquired a dressform and she has helped me to step up my production of upcycled clothing. I fill suitcases with interesting or promising clothing that I find at thrift shops between here and Montreal. Most of what I make is refashioned from clothing, sheets or other found textiles, though I have a large selection of purchased new fabric too. In addition to clothing, I make bags, composition book covers, pillows, cases, and I’ve made my share of doll clothes, Halloween costumes, horse saddles, and other whims of my 9-year old daughter.
Painting and photography are additional obsessions that I indulge in in my studio.