DHAA Artist Of The Month- June 2013: Danielle From TreeHouseCreations!

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Hello my name is Danielle; I am the owner and seamstress for TreeHouseCreations.  I was taught how to use a machine in 2004 from my boyfriend’s sister.  I loved the idea of making my own clothing and working on the machine came pretty easy for me.  In 2005 we moved into a house that had the feel of a treehouse.
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TreeHouseCreations was born and I began selling clothing instead of making them all for myself.  I have pretty much taught myself everything I know from reading books, researching online and years of practice.  I try to make it a point to learn new things often.  In 2010 I started filling my Etsy shop slowly and now it has become more than just clothing.  I also make sew-on patches, jewelry and other random things.  Alan has some paintings in the shop and hopefully soon some his wire wraps.  From the beginning Alan and I wanted to work together to make TreeHouseCreations more than just local selling. Opening an Etsy store has made this happen for us since we can’t afford to vend many festivals.
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All of our creations are made in our home in south-west Michigan.  I serge with a safety stitch all of my seams, most seams are top-stitched as well.  This is a very durable way for seams to be stitched and can be seen in most store-bought clothing.  It took me years to feel comfortable working with a serger.  I originally bought one in 2006 and then sold it because I couldn’t figure out how to use it.  About a year later I gave it a second go and haven’t stopped using it since!! I prefer to just do the math when making an item instead of using patterns.  I have altered some patterns and have some of my own that I do use, but most of the time it’s free hand.
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I also have a full-time job working in a group home for four mentally handicap people.  I have been working third shift every other week for 9 ½ years now.  I love knowing that I am doing something with my life that helps others who can’t help themselves.  They have become family and can I get pretty protective!   Alan is a cook at a local bar and grill.  In our spare time we try to create as much as possible, hang out with friends and go for hikes!

I grew up in a pretty creative family.  The crafts differ per person, mostly dealing with food.  My aunt did sew and made a couple of my Halloween costumes.  As a young child I had my own fashion sense and had to dress myself.  My mother tells me I would get mad if my socks weren’t folded over just right to show the lace (Ha! That sure has changed!).  I loved drawing out houses and designing layouts for rooms.  In school I enjoyed art classes but was never too great at drawing so I focused more on shop and drafting classes.  In high school I took architecture class for two years, thinking that that’s really what I wanted to do with my life.  But then once it was over I just wanted to travel and chill more.

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My inspiration comes from a lot of different things, nature, a song, mostly the fabric.  I have quiet the collection of fabric.  My mom is always helping me stock up at Christmas and my birthday time.  I’ll spend hours staring at the fabrics waiting for them to talk to me and most the time they do and I go with it.  I do have ideas drawn up since 2005 but I have actually only sewn a few of them.  When I’m like, yes this is what I am going for; the fabric usually takes me elsewhere.  Seeing and hearing feedback from my customers and followers inspires me as well.  I love hearing other people’s positive insights.

I love every part of what I do and can’t imagine my life without it all.  I enjoy vending, being out there and talking to people face to face.  It’s a great feeling to see someone’s reaction when they see a creation you made and that they love!  Custom orders are great as well.  As mostly an internet based seller, it’s not often that I hear back from someone.  Custom orders help make a sale more personal and can sometimes lead to a new friendship.  Sewing and crafting in general calm my soul, life just doesn’t feel the same when I’m away from it for too long.

One of my favorite items in my shop right now is my green panel butterfly dress.  I love the fabrics and the way it all flows together.  My owl skirt has been a hit.  I have made 4 different ones now, the original and 3 customs.  My friend Kim, who is also my photographer, drew the appliqués for me since I’m not so good in that department! I pretty much love all the items I make and sometimes it’s hard to see them go!

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The first concert I went to was sometime in the late 90s.  We were on vacation and The Wallflowers happened to be playing, so my mom took my cousin and me.  We were really far away but I thought it was cool to be in a crowd for live music.  In my town there has always been more of a punk scene.  Most of my friends had punk/ska bands and we would go to shows all the time.  I have always been open to music but mostly listened to Sublime, Bob Marley, Bone Thugs and ska bands.  Alan introduced me to more Jam Bands and reunited me with Bluegrass (my dad listened to a lot when we were growing up).  I fell in love and then started hitting up shows and fests right away.  I’d say my favorite was a Donna the Buffalo show, we had 20 or so of our friends go, it was a blast!

I owe a huge “thank you” to all my friends and family who have supported me and my creative endeavors for all these years.  Without their positive vibes I may not have had the confidence to have my shop and to keep on keepin’ on.  I owe a super huge “thank you” to my mom, without her TreeHouseCreations wouldn’t be what it is today.  She has always supported me (even when I became a dreadlocked, stinky hippie) and has me out in so many ways.  For all of them I am truly grateful!!

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Etsy: www.treehousecreations.etsy.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/treehousecreations

Twitter: TreeHouseCreations

Instagram: thcreations

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3 responses »

  1. I love this post Lauren. Danielle you are a fantastic artist. In all you do helping others you really let your light shine. I really love the purple and green butterfly dress with the butterfly. Those are my favorite colors and I love butterflies. You are special. I appreciate you and your art. Blessings on your journey going forward. Lauren you are a master at blogging!

  2. You are so talented! It’s inspiring to see how you make time to follow your passion. Congratulations on your growing success!

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