It's not every day I have the opportunity to visit a studio of an artist whose work I carry in the shop, so when I knew I was doing a residency in Bethlehem, NH I knew a 3 hr drive to Northampton was in order. Although it is a gift to carry so many Grand Rapids & Michigan based creatives, I love being able to offer my local and global community the work of some of my favorite creators from all over the country.
The first time I ever emailed with Ashley I was in love. I knew she was a forever sister, that our minds worked in the same ways, we were working towards the same goals. Not just the goals of 'how do i do this whole be my own boss game' but the goal of, how do we keep each other (this community) alive, inspired, and filled with the desire to want to keep going.
Ashley is the woman behind Secret Holiday & Co. where she makes beautiful, sewn in her studio, simple in their design, affirmation banners. Inspired by the Women's Suffrage Movement, Ashley set out to make something to inspire herself, the It's Ok banner, only to realize that others might benefit from a similar boost of help.
The studio is inviting, with bright natural light and everything in it's place. I mention that because it is no east task to do IT ALL. Sewing machines on their clean table, shipping station with it's envelopes ready to have addresses hand written on them, to do list draped up on the wall.
The radio is surrounded by plants on an old ironing board. An old rag rug quilt covers the floor and on the walls are quilts & one offs Ashley has made herself. The space is taken care of with great attention and detail, which you can feel in every one of Ashely's banners.
Working with dozens of vendors each week in the form of emails, packages, shipping, and more, I am lucky to say that almost every single one is a delight to work with. Ashley is no exception. Having her banners as a part of Have Company has leant so much to our mission of taking care of our minds and bodies, and cultivating conversations within our communities.
In our time together it was so funny to see how we all work these little phrases into our language. It's Ok, figure it out, let it to, and my favorite was the newest - Hold Fast. So grateful to get to connect and meet Ashley this past week and looking so forward to continuing to witness her growth as both a business woman & textile artist
follow along with ashley on
written by marlee grace