I’ve been pretty quiet lately about a new project I’m working on, although if you know me well, I’ve been talking about it for years. I am in the very beginning stages of creating a new company, named for my two sons, a combination of their middle names in fact
Barrington Blue Textiles and Furniture by Carrie Olshan
has a nice ring to it, no?
I’ve always had a strong desire to learn about upholstery and it all got started about 4 years ago. I was at the time a middle-school teacher of students with disabilities in my tenth year teaching inner-city youth in NYC, and I was seriously in need of a creative outlet, and a place to, literally, use my hands. I stumbled upon and quickly signed up for an upholstery class (read about it here) at The Furniture Joint, taught by owner and master upholsterer Matthew Haly. I soon learned a few things. The first was that this was hard, I mean really hard. It looks easy, and of course, a well-made piece of furniture should look effortless, but who knew what loomed (no pun intended) underneath the surface of a perfectly stretched and stapled piece of fabric. The second thing I learned was that I was good at it. Over 4 weeks I learned how to make an eight-way hand tied ottoman, hammering, tying, stretching and sewing. I loved being in the studio, crafting and watching a master at work. Matthew and I became friends and I soon began assisting him occasionally in the studio when my work day was finished. This was cut short when I moved to Los Angeles.
It was sometime around then that I began buying up fabrics - Suzani‘s from Central Asia, blankets from Mexico, rugs from Afghanistan – as well as old chairs, ottomans and footstools that could be stripped down, refinished, and recovered. I began to amass an arsenal of tools and materials, a webbing stretcher, electric staple gun, a new sewing machine, tacking hammer, nails, needles, tacks, twine, various cutting and measuring tools, etc.
And for a while I planned in my mind, I imagined the pieces I would create, I laid in bed at night designing and sewing in my mind, crafting myself to sleep. Life (and kids) got in the way, and about 5 months ago I set out to, once and for all, make this happen. I began to sew, and craft and dream. It feels great to use these hands in new ways. I still have a lot to learn, but here we go.
So what’s next – a logo, a website, a booth at the local Sunday flea market? I even ordered a Square.
I have also set up a very beginning stages online shop through Big Cartel. See it here. Your feedback and suggestions are very welcome. Keep in mind the photos are only snapshots, and of course the logo is not there yet, but here we are, or rather, here I am. Finally. I hope you’ll follow me along on this journey.
Next up – finishing up the pieces to date, figuring out packaging & shipping and snagging a spot at the Melrose Trading Post. Stay tuned!