Evening, kittens! We’re happy it’s the weekend, too. We’re brightening it up even more by featuring Kate O’Toole of filia. You can find her on Etsy here, or if you’re more of the continual narrative type, her blog here. Check out the before/after picture at the bottom of the page of an ottoman she reupholstered that was featured on the blog! Ooh, ballsy! We loved you and yer work already, Kate, but now we’re just jealous!
BT:What does filia make and sell for Big Thaw shoppers to fawn over?
Kate O’Toole: filia is a collection of modern, feminine apparel and small personal accessories that I design and sewn from my home on Munjoy Hill. The collection ranges from casual, brunch- or farmer’s market-ready skirts, tops and tunics to flirty, floaty party dresses, and includes many one-of-a-kind items. The filia aesthetic is distinguished by classic, stylish shapes updated with of-the-moment details and vibrant colors. I work mainly with natural fibers like wool, cotton and silk and finish each garment with special detailing, such as grosgrain ribbon facing, hand-stitched hems, and pockets in nearly everything (they’re so useful!). Each filia design is produced in limited quantities and custom orders are always welcomed. Accessories include small bags, zipper pouches, envelope wallets, yoga mat bags, and iPod/tablet sleeves.
BT: How has your own mother (or mother figure) influenced your art, craft or endeavor?
KO: My mum has always been a huge inspiration in my creative endeavors. In the most literal sense she provided the foundation for my business by teaching me to how to sew as a little girl, but more importantly, as I watched her pursuit of several different types of crafts and creative expressions through the years, she instilled in me the fun and satisfaction of making things with your own two hands. When I decided to turn my love of sewing and creating clothing into a business in May of 2011, I named it filia (which echoes the Greek word for family and friendship) to honor the influence my mum all my loved ones have on my work. My mum occasionally helps me with the finish work on some garments if I’m finishing up a big order in a time crunch, is an invaluable consult on fabric choices or working out the construction of a item, and is generally one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. If I end up as a vendor at The Big Thaw, she will probably be with me at my table as my right-hand woman!
BT: What new products or finds will you have available for shoppers at The Big Thaw that you would like featured on our blog? Please write a little about them and attach pictures (or links) if you’d like!
KO: I’d hope that at The Big Thaw shoppers would find great gifts for their mothers and the special women in their life among my clothes for women of all ages and fun, stylish accessories. This spring I’ve got a ton of new fabric in bright spring and summer colors and patterns, ready to be turned into fun, warm-weather fashions! Designs will include drawstring-waist tunics, gathered skirts, blouses, and a variety of dresses in different styles. For accessories, I have useful little linen zipper pouches, embellished with ruffles and geometric designs and lined with patterned cotton. I also have a line of stargazer linen zipper pouches that are hand-embroidered with different constellations – a fun gift to personalize with someone’s zodiac sign or for someone that loves looking at the night sky! I also have my popular yoga mat bags in a variety of colorful new patterns. I use a lot of the extra cotton from my yoga mat bags to sew cute little envelope wallets, which are great for holding small gifts like jewelry or gift cards, and iPod/iPad sleeves, which are lightly padded and make fabulous gifts. I’m always working on new items, so more would probably be added to this list!
Come see Kate from filia at The Big Thaw on Saturday, May 12 from 10am to 4pm at the Mayo Street Arts Center at 10 Mayo St. Happy weekend, jellybeans for everyone!