"I make things out of other things". That's how Holly Magner describes the mission of GroveCraft, her one-woman handmade apparel company. Magner's main products are felted mittens and unique bicycling hats, both of which she produces at home in her studio. Though it's not mass production, there's a lot of stitching involved, with runs of hats or mittens sometimes numbering in the hundreds. As a result, Magner's workspace is designed to be efficient and productive; the creativity happens elsewhere, the studio is for churning out product.
Though working at home can be a challenge (Magner's almost-two-year-old son Jasper is strictly kept out of the room, sometimes), it's also a comfort that helps boost productivity. With the house empty or the studio door shut, Magner says she can easily get into a groove working in an assembly-line fashion.
The work surfaces are made from salvaged doors, and are arranged in a U shape to allow Magner to move around quickly, always within reach of her supplies.
The walls are covered with photos, artwork and other sentimental objects, like scraps of the wallpaper from the house in Portland where Magner grew up. "I do so much work in this room, it's nice to have reminders of my family and friends," Magner says. "It keeps me in a good mood."
During the holiday season when orders for mittens go up, she can spend 8 to 10 hours a day in this room. In the summer when demand is low, she's there much less.
"The other place where I spend a lot time is the laundromat," Magner says (because she uses a lot of felted materials). "I hang out there with Jasper and he plays with the old ladies while I do huge batches of wool."
The studio is a cozy place to make cozy clothing, but's not perfect ("There are these stupid squirrels than run around on the wall outside my window in the summer!"). Magner says she'd love a little more light, and maybe better storage for her bags and bags of recycled materials. But for now, the GroveCraft production line is operating at full capacity.