With The Artist: Sharon of Inherited Notions

Confession time: I'm more than a little obsessed with linens. Bed linens, bath linens, kitchen linens--you name it, I'll probably swoon. I love the various ways fabric can be manipulated and worked into something beautiful. I'm especially partial to anything hand-stitched. So after moving into our new home almost a month ago, I knew finding the perfect kitchen tea towel would be my next endeavor for the Atelier.

Luckily, I stumbled across Sharon from Inherited Notions, a woman whose work embodies the sentiment of home most precisely. For our tea towel collaboration, we decided on three rows of embroidery, lovingly and meticulously hand-stitched by Sharon herself, in the deepest gray-blue color inspired by the shades of summer. I loved finding out more about the history, heritage and heart behind her work during our interview. Hope you enjoy! 

Describe Inherited Notions: 
We're a mother and son duo crafting pieces inspired from our family's heritage and the rustic Pennsylvania landscape. The name "Inherited Notions" is a play on that idea – "Notions" for both an idea and a sewing notion. 

How did you get started in the creative world? 
My grandmother from Ireland taught me how to sew when I was 11 and I've been sewing ever since. Up until a year ago, I only created things for my family – I made dresses for my granddaughters, curtains, and pillows. People mentioned Etsy but I never thought I could have a shop of my own! My youngest son, Wyatt, and his girlfriend both went to design school and helped me open the shop and create a direction for the brand.

What do you most enjoy about the work you do? 
I love seeing the finished product. Even though I'm there every step of the way – to see how it got from a sketch on a scrap piece of paper to something with texture and color, it's thrilling. 

Yet, the initial inspiration collection, research, and brainstorming is always so much fun. I could spend hours doing that. All of our pieces has a storied concept behind it – whether it's the aprons that were each inspired from the women in our family who we found out through ancestry research were seamstresses, or the embroidered linen tea towels that were inspired by Irish weaving, where each weave tells a different story. We obviously love the art of storytelling. 

What is the most difficult part about being an artist?
Having too many ideas and focusing in on one direction.

From where/whom do you draw your inspiration? 
Natural elements, natural fabrics and colors, old stitches and their symbolism, Celtic knotwork, Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur illustrations, Japanese simplicity.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Keep it simple. 

Thoughts for the future?
Continue to refine hoop art and find old styles to make anew. This fall, fifty of our botanical hoop illustrations will be featured in a gallery show in Philadelphia.

Kristyn LeeComment