What Would Penny Do?
... that's what I often wonder.
Penny was my neighbor when I moved to Massachusetts when I was 14, but I didn't really get to know her until she opened a store with her good friend, Jan, when I was 17 or so...
How the store / the line came to be: like a lot of good ideas, it got drawn on a napkin one night at dinner and eventually it became a reality. They decided to make clothing, Vida Artwear (formerly Veranda Wear), using Guatemalan huipiles. They use mud cloth, saris, Hmong quilting, knit, ikats... "VIDA ARTWEAR’S endeavor is labor intensive. Its not an easy line to produce. However, we seem to thrive on the challenges. Our weavers and sewing staff have responded to our enthusiasm and to the conditions and compensation which we have provided. They love to see the finished product. We hope that you, our customer, wear any piece with joy!" -P + J
Jan lives in Guatemala and runs that end and Penny runs things from the states. Each piece is a work of art. Each piece is made by so many different artisans and women! It's just beautiful stuff. (Look for it...)
I began to go into her store and just look at her wears!!! There was so much to see and I wanted it all. I wanted to travel! And I wanted to learn more about Penny! She is such a beautiful, talented, hysterical, loving person! If you aren't immediately drawn to her, then 'you just don't get it' and then all the better for me (less to share). I quickly learned she's British, lived in India and met her husband in Kuwait. Intriguing indeed. She loves watermelons, textiles, well, of course her husband and boys, Carmen Miranda, cats, eclectic folk art, vintage, new, recycled.... if there is anything beautiful she will find it and uncover it. She has an amazing eye.
I worked in her store now and then and helped her in NYC once or twice at her trade shows. If I could be her neighbor again, I would in a heart beat. Once Amy had a piece about other mothers on her blog and Penny was one of the women that popped to mind instantly. She is so lovely and loving... I know I took note of her with her family and in her home and thought, 'this is good, this is how I want it to be...' In some ways, I see how she's influenced me.
WWPD? She's my muse, for sure!