SEW CHIC

  • Article by: KIM YEAGER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 3, 2008 - 8:23 AM

Your castoffs are crafter Sandy Stone's métier. The Minneapolis recycled furnishings artist instills life in discards with an unerring yet funky designer's eye.

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Modus operandi: "I comb the thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, curbs, Dumpsters to salvage interesting vintage textiles, furniture, crafts, sewing notions, scarves, clothing, neckties, belts, etc. and cart them home. These things are eventually combined in ways that I can only describe as 'what looks right to me.'"

Got started: "I have always been interested in using only reclaimed, formerly used materials and in unconventional ways. For instance, with an upholstered piece, I don't care about restoring it to its original state, I'd rather surprise it with something unexpected.

Background: Degree in studio arts from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. "Worked for some time in the graphic arts field. Dumped that to raise a couple of kids. During those years at home, to stave off insanity, I started to combine my interests in design, sculpture, vintage wares, sewing." Self-taught upholsterer.

Family: Husband Ken, daughters Lydia and Norah and "a grumpy Westie named Charly."

Favorite material: "I use a lot of obis. I find them at Ragstock.''

Aesthetic: The '40s, the '50s. Clean lines.

Studio: Second-floor corner of her Linden Hills home.

Studio decor: 117 vintage scarves and sashes "paper" the walls.

Tools: Three sewing machines: a Singer, a Chandler and a Viking; 13 pairs of scissors and a staple gun.

Favorite haunts: Estate sales, Value Village, S.R. Harris.

It's a rush: "I love just putting a lot of small things together to make one big thing."

Still learning: "To edit. I don't have to do everything on one chair.''

On the workbench now: "A funny chair that my friend DeEtte gave me that she found in her alley. She has the best stuff in her alley!"

Can't part with: "The chair with the big circles on it. My Aunt Dianne gave me this chair and I'll never get rid of it."

Then again: Mistakes are exiled to the basement.

Unusual combos: Barstool dressed in mink coat collars, a chair seat woven from vintage belts, lampshade made from the 1950s notebook of a University of Wisconsin horticulture student.

She's so over: Collecting creamware and sewing purses.

Advice for fretful beginners: "Don't be afraid to cut up fabric! ... Just don't ask your husband before you do things like this. Just do it!"

15 minutes of fame: Stone will be featured in the upcoming Country Living magazine.

No repeats: "I rarely do anything twice.''

Where to find her stuff: Hunt & Gather, 4944 Xerxes Av. S., Minneapolis; www.sandystone.blogspot.com.

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