Friday, July 1, 2011

Meet the Makers: Heidi Kappes Belinsky of Haute Goat Cashmere

Heidi Kappes Belinsky was given her first sewing machine around the age of 5 – about the same time she started reclaiming fabrics to use in her projects (doll clothes mostly).  She is a true Gemini with degrees in both Apparel Design and Botany. She has melded her love of creating with the need to discover by teaching herself fiber forensics and learning how to recognize cashmere from other fibers using a microscope.

What is “reclaimed”? 
Reclaimed is the term for recreating a discarded item (in my case, cashmere sweaters) into something usable - basically using it as a supply to create something new.  I buy all of my sweaters second hand, many are destined for the land-fill.

How do you find so much cashmere?
I shop ALOT.  I also have a team of friends and family that shop for me.  We pretty much scour the thrift stores throughout the Puget Sound on a regular basis.  I now also have someone shopping for me in California, Pennsylvania, and even Iowa.  AND, I routinely get sweaters from loyal customers - it's so much fun to do a trunk show in a store and have fans bring me a bag of sweaters then buy a couple of scarves!

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Other than my daughter, I have a burlap & yarn piece of art that I made in elementary school that says “Free to be you and me”.  And my high school prom dress – it is a recreation of an 1890’s ball gown.

Apart from creating, what do you do?
I am on the leadership team for etsyRAIN (the Western Washington area etsy seller street team) and I help organize their 2 big craft shows each year.  My passion is collecting and refurbishing old sewing machines.  I also tap dance, urban hike, and lead a 4th grade Girl Scout troop.

In ten years I'd like to be...
I would like to be fluent in French, more organized, and able to use the toaster oven without burning myself.  Oh, and I would love to open a sewing machine museum!

No comments: