In October we visited Laura and her family just outside of Portland. They are a family of makers, who recently started working with our scrap fabrics, in order to give them new life.
Mottainai is an important value at Kiriko. It means that nothing should be wasted, that every thing and material is important. Their family truly embodies that value.
Deborah Carpenter, lovingly known as Debbie, welcomed us into the house and “Debbie designed everything.”
“Everything from the ground-up was taken from old homes and barns in the Portland area and given a second chance, instead of going to waste in the landfill or burning pile.”
We followed them upstairs, the walls lined with reclaimed wood and old doors. At the top was the family’s work space; a room of yarn and fabric, a massive floor loom, and a humble treadle sewing machine.
Debbie learned to weave in high school. She received this 1950s Allen Folding loom as a graduation gift from her father, which she uses to weave with threads or scraps of fabric.
After high school, Debbie opened a craft shop in downtown Gresham for a few years, weaving and working with stained glass.
Laura was taken in by Debbie’s family two years ago, where she picked up their creative and crafty lifestyle. She sews on a 1911 treadle sewing machine that was found in the family’s barn. Having a separate day job to pay the bills, when she has time she works on quilts and pillows to sell.
"Of course I love a good bike ride or walk around the block if I can make time.”
The family also tends the farm on their property, raising sheep and chickens, and farming all sorts of plants, even grapes for wine.
"We firmly believe that there is potential in everything - it is just taking the time to be creative and patient to make use of something."
See Laura and her sisters' creations on Etsy.