Using new and repurposed materials, Valerie Williams from Holland Cox has created a unique, functional, bold, and inspiring line of accessories. She offers everything from handbags to watch rolls to Field Note covers in her collection. Her impeccable detailing and eye for color really make her creations speak to customers interested in unique and timeless pieces. We asked her a few questions about her work and process!
Describe your ideal day of making. What do you have for breakfast? What jams do you listen to? Do you wear fuzzy slippers? Get specific!
My ideal day of making starts with coffee and a breakfast sandwich! Since it’s November, I wear my fleece lined leggings & a t-shirt and my most comfortable sweatshirt to work in! I probably don’t jump into work right away, I’d visit my favorite inspirational places online like Pinterest and Facebook groups I belong to that are filled with crafty and creative people.
When it comes time to sew, I put on music – it helps me focus so well that I often completely lose track of time! What I play depends on my mood – sometimes it’s classical music, sometimes it’s Dr. Dre, and lately I’ve been loving my Ella Fitzgerald Pandora station.
If I have sketching, pattern making, cutting or ironing to do, I’m more likely to do that while “watching” something rather than listening to music. Lately I’ve been watching the original Star Trek, Daredevil, and Luke Cage.
At some point I’ll realize I haven’t eaten anything in a while so I’ll pause for a snack/lunch/dinner (depending on how long I’ve been in “the zone”). Then I repeat the process until it’s time for bed!
Who is your maker-inspiration? What did this person say or do to inspire you to create?
I would say the women in my family are my inspiration. My mother and my aunts used to tell me stories of how they would start making a new dress on Monday night to wear to a school event or party on the weekend. I found that idea of creating your own wardrobe just from the pictures in your head to be incredibly seductive! My grandmother was a seamstress, so they were allowed to use her leftovers whenever they wanted to, and the only restriction on sewing was that all other chores had to be done first!
What is your favorite market/craft show story?
At one of my very first shows waaay back in 2006 a lady was admiring my work and asked me where I went to art school to have such a “great eye.” I was *incredibly* flattered, since my degree is in international affairs and I’ve never studied art or design at all!
Another favorite is from a two day show in Philadelphia, when I had a few ladies visit my booth to shop, because they ran into friends of theirs the day before in New York City wearing things of mine and had to have their own. 🙂
Are you working on any special merchandise for/inspired by GRUMP? Tell us about it!
I am working on special items for guys, like denim neckties and Field Notes covers made from upcycled menswear (see attached images). There are never enough handmade gift options for men!
If you could have lunch with three artists/makers, alive or dead, who would they be and why?
I would love to talk to Renaissance artists and find out what they would paint or sculpt if they could make anything they wanted rather than what their patrons requested…this is something I’ve been wondering since Art History in high school. 🙂
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