It's hard not to be inspired by the artists and makers of the Cleveland Flea. Brilliant, talented, creative. They're tough as bleepin' nails on their ways to making their dreams come true. We began The Maker Series to take a look — behind the scenes, beyond the booth — to see what drives our makers to do what they love and love what they do.
Q + A with Jess Boeke and Sarah Pottle of Drift Lab Textile Co.
Drift Lab Textile Co. owners Jess and Sarah are more than just sisters, they're twins. With similarities ranging far beyond their chromosomes, it's only natural that they combine forces in the business world. With shared interests such as weaving, natural dyeing, and upholstery, the duo has set their sights on educating the Rust Belt and East Coast in the wonderful ways of slow living and sustainability. Learn a bit more about these teachers and their textiles in their Maker Series interview below.
Cleveland Flea: What was your path to beginning your business?
Jess Boeke & Sarah Pottle: In 2011, we began reupholstering as a creative outlet from our teaching jobs. We started noticing the lack of sustainably designed, original textiles, and so we decided to start making our own! At one point, we even drew up plans to own a sheep farm--to start from the beginning of the process--and then we decided we needed to reign it back in, haha.
CF: Why do you love what you do?
JB & SP: The idea of replacing the synthetic with the natural-- that's kind of how we want to live. We feel connected to things around us- the whole sensory experience of the process of dyeing- from being outside and harvesting to the smell of the dye vat to the way the colors interplay with natural light on the textile. It's seriously living color, and that- to us at least- is just so cool. Additionally, the biodiversity when working with natural dyes will always create a different, unique result depending when in the season the dyestuff is harvested/foraged, what the nutrient content is, or even the pH of the water. We also love how the whole dye process creatively promotes the beauty of our environment and the importance of protecting it. Also, working with your best friend/twin sister is pretty much the best!
CF: Why is Cleveland a great place to launch and run a creative business?
JB & SP: After spending 10 years on the East Coast and recently moving back home to Cleveland, we are grateful for a city with humble, hardworking values and people who genuinely want to see others succeed.
CF: What are your goals for the business this year?
JB & SP: We'd love to have a workshop for every season. There are many ways to be creative with natural dyes, and we want to share that experience with other people who may appreciate it.
CF: Who inspires you?
JB & SP: Our husbands have their own creative outlets, so we are super inspired by them! For learning more about natural dyes, we just love Liz Spencer of The Dogwood Dyer. Our friend Rebecca Gallup from A Daily Something (http://www.adailysomething.com/) inspires the idea of slowing down and living with intention. Marley from @personalpractice has an inspiring outlook on life, too!
CF: What's your favorite piece of advice as it relates to your business?
JB & SP: Try to fully engage and appreciate all parts of the process.
Can't wait to get your hands dirty with Jess and Sarah?
Come hang out at the Cleveland Flea Creative Clubhouse for a 2-hour workshop where you'll learn the process of ink making, block-printing, and brush application of black walnut ink. Each participant will walk away a bottle of ink, a sumi brush for ink-painting, and scarf- designed and hand-dyed by you! While the dye is working its magic, we'll enjoy local fall bites and sips, experiment with ink on stationary, and admire the view of downtown Cleveland- Hosted at the beautiful studio of Cleveland Flea HQ... Sign up here.