I'd like to introduce to you Wooly Bison by Ingrid Rowe. Ingrid makes satchels, purses and other goodies out of vintage and other wool. She graduated from Seattle Central Community College's Apparel Design & Manufacturing program in 2003, where she fell in love with the smell of steamed wool and learned to sew. She fell into a dream job at a small messenger bag company in Seattle, where she learned about running a small business, met amazing people, polished her skills at sewing and learned to stitch applique. Five years later, she was itching to try a business for herself, and decided to get serious. Some of the nicest wools are used for tailored suits, she says -- it made sense to her to take advantage of the abundance around town.
Ingrid and I had a little conversation through e-mail and here are the answers to the questions I asked Ingrid.
Babongo: When did you start creating and what did you start with?
Ingrid: 'Art' was always something I wanted to do as a kid, even though I don't think I've ever figured out what that meant. I've never gone long without having some sort of project - 'publishing' books out of typing paper, Pee-Chee's, oil pastels and tape; building cars from skateboards and boxes; some hideous lace sachets with porpourri; handmade paper.
Looking back, things that involved creativity and repetition were always extremely satisfying. It hasn't been that big of a leap to go to full-time bag making!
Babongo: When did you first discover Etsy and what went through your mind when you did?
Ingrid: My friend Jean and Chika (of Chikabird Inc http://www.chikabird.350.com/ and Ladies & Gentlemen http://www.ladiesandgentlemenstudio.com/ ) told me about it. I thought -- where has this been my whole life? It's so great to have access to such an abundance of wonderful, lovingly handmade things all in one place. It's hard NOT to find something to love. People are beginning to think more about where things come from, and value what it means to create something.
Babongo: What are your dreams for the future?
Ingrid: I'd love to make Wooly Bison flourish as a business, build a home and studio, and spend the days sewing projects, cooking and growing food, entertaining friends and family and try to find a couple ways to make this world a little better than when I found it.
Babongo: What would you like the world to know about you?
Ingrid: I'm a shameless indoor kid with an affinity for the outdoors and the aesthatics of the late seventies. Almost nothing makes me happier than wandering around thrift stores collecting hidden treasures and bundles of crazy fabric. I love being able to take something out-of-date or forgotten and re-form it into something different and new.