Another amazing vendor feature is hitting the blog tonight! A little late in posting, but it’s still Sunday nonetheless!! Meet Jonathan and Kelsey, two amazing crafters with a passion for what they do!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
We are Jonathan and Kelsey, a young married couple, living in our first new old house outside Boston, together handcrafting heirloom toys and classic photography props. Our work has developed throughout the last couple years from a quilting hobby, to a toy shop of doll beds and doll quilts, to supplying photographers with newborn and toddler beds, canopy beds, princess and pea sets, cradles, bunk beds, and all sorts of bedding accessories. We love using classic and timeless designs for our woodworking and quilting, and especially that we’re able to blend our talents and interests together to create high quality props and toys for your businesses and families.
2. Apart from creating things, what do you do?
We also are a structural engineer and a very part-time English professor (Kelsey did “quit her day job” last year!), an Ironman triathlete and a photographer, and uncle and auntie to our favorite little people. We spend a lot of time with our families and working on our first house, which we moved into a year ago on Memorial Day.
3. Whatʼs the most important question a customer/client should ask you when considering purchasing from you?
We really want all our customers to know and notice the quality of our “real furniture in miniature”. We use traditional woodworking joinery for all our pieces, avoiding any use of nails or screws, metal or plastic, so that our beds and cradles are beautiful natural toys. Our quilts too are “real quilts in miniature”!
4. Whatʼs the most memorable custom order youʼve created?
We have a few favorites. The amazing mahogany pieces that Jonathan has made for his little cousin, a special order of triple bunk beds made in solid maple and teak with designer fabric bedding, unique combinations of our organic paint colors on bunk beds and trundle beds, a few real-people-sized bedroom sets, and upcycled doll quilts made from crib bedding. For a creative contest I also have made bedding sets from all farm-themed fabrics, all haute couture animal prints and laces, and an actual plastic Twister gameboard.
5. What would be the title of your memoir and why?
This is surprisingly the hardest question for me (Kelsey) to answer because I’m so into autobiographies – they were one of my favorite types of literature as an English major and I taught a course on autobiography this past year to my college freshman writing students. My favorite title, and autobiography, is “Speak, Memory” by Vladimir Nabokov, and I’d probably just want to copy his title. (As an aside, I have to say I’m proud that I’ve hung my master’s degree in my sewing room!)
6. Where does your inspiration come from?
We find so much inspiration directly from our customers and we love all your brilliant ideas! Custom orders and requests have been one of our biggest inspirations – for example, they are why we make canopy beds, Princess and the Pea sets, ladders, trundles, crib-sized quilts, newborn canopies, so many of our bedding accessories, and on and on.
7. What does handmade mean to you?
Because of making handmade goods ourselves we now have such a strong appreciation for the huge amount of time and dedication that others put into their handmade work. You might hear “homemade” but not always make a real connection to that being real people making your gifts by hand, sometimes in their own home, and that takes significant time!
8. Who has been the most inﬂuential person for your business?
This has to be Jonathan’s aunt who said to us a couple years ago, “Maybe Jonathan could make a little wooden bed and Kelsey could make a miniature quilt, for my granddaughter’s doll.” And our business was born! She combined our hobbies for us perfectly. We’re also forever thankful to the first photographer who bought our doll bed and sent us back a photo of a newborn baby on it.
9. How would you describe your creative process?
Graph paper! All of Jonathan’s designs start on engineering graph paper, and all of mine on my little spiral pad of graph paper. A new piece of furniture is usually inspired by seeing several classic antique pieces of real furniture and a lot of thought, for example, what does the ideal and best looking and most classic version of a cradle look like? You can now find it in our shop 🙂 Quilts usually are inspired by a new color combination or classic quilt block pattern I’ve always loved.
10. If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would definitely want to visit the painting studio of children’s book illustrator Tomie dePaola – I’ve collected over 70 of his books, and about a dozen autographs. The most precious to me is my copy of The Quilt Story which he autographed and wrote my full name in when I was 2 years old. Jonathan, as a structural engineer, would have wanted to see architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s, and as a woodworker, furniture-maker Thomas Moser’s shop.
11. What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Our cherished possessions are definitely family-made. We are proud to come from creative families – both of Kelsey’s grandmothers were quilters, and both of Jonathan’s grandfathers were woodworkers who built and owned their own businesses, and we love following in their steps with our own creative and miniature twist. Some of our favorite things are a scrap quilt from one of my grandmother’s that I used as my college dorm room quilt, furniture from Jonathan’s grandfather and the large handpainted sign that hung outside his Scandinavian giftshop and is now the centerpiece art in our living room, and my sewing table was made for us by my father-in-law for our wedding gift.
12. How do you get out of your creative ruts?
We honestly haven’t had time to have creative ruts. We never expected for Quietude Quilts to take off the way it has, and allow Kelsey to work from home full time. Instead of ruts, for three years we have constantly been restructuring our working time to make QQ fit into our lives instead of taking over our lives! We’re so blessed.
13. Where would you like to be in ten years?
We hope to be raising a family and living in a house that Jonathan is designing to have built on land we own in New Hampshire, with an equally sized barn housing Quietude Quilts – the woodworking shop downstairs, and my sewing room upstairs. We dream and plan more about the QQ barn than the house currently!