I haven't talked much publicly about Make + Matter over the past few months / year. The short story is that we closed the shop in March when Covid cases first started to show up in PA, and we never re-opened. The slightly longer story is that I was briefly involved in creating and running one of the most beautiful shops that I have ever been inside of, and I miss parts of that experience every single day.
I first met Kelly Simpson-Scupelli when I was her brunch bartender at Park Bruges Cafe around 2013/14. She was pregnant at the time, and soon after a new mother, when her adorable family would come in some Sundays and sit at the bar until their table was ready. I knew that Kelly was a clothing designer, and I was starstruck. I couldn't stop myself from telling her about my upcycle design dreams, and she was sweetly encouraging.
In late 2017 Kelly approached me with an idea to open a curated boutique of all Pittsburgh-based designers. From there, Kelly, Rona Chang (of Otto Finn), and I got to work and in opening Make + Matter, we accomplished one of the things that I am most proud of. Being a co-owner of Make + Matter was transformative for me in so many ways, but for me, the guidance, patience, and affection that I received from Kelly & Rona was most important aspect of the project.
I mean, look at these two!!!
Me, Rona, Kelly right before M+M opening, June 2018
I miss seeing them. I miss our weekly meetings. I miss complaining about the length of our weekly meetings. I miss laughing and crying and brainstorming with them. I miss arguing just as much as I miss agreeing! I miss being in the space that we created together.
Me in Make + Matter, 2019
Chelsea of Faire Fauna, with the 1 year anniversary embroidery that she made for the shop, 2019
Kelly, Rona and I in one of those long meetings, 2018
Kelly recently decided to take a sabbatical from her clothing line, Kelly Lane, and in the process, I have come to be the steward of a large amount of her fabric. Some of these are solid organics, which I will be using in Flux Bene pieces for years to come. Some others- the most special ones- feature original prints from Kelly's collections throughout the years.
Woking in the studio with the fabric in this collection has been a meditative process for me. I have been steeped in an amount of gratitude that I am not sure how to express. Kelly changed my life. I don't think that is what she set out to do when she asked me to join her in Make + Matter, but that is the result. I will never stop being grateful to her for believing in me and taking a chance, and for continuing to be gracious even in the (hopefully few) moments when she probably regretted taking that chance ; )
This micro collection of 6 Studio Frocks feature a print that Kelly designed for her Cavern Collection. It is a soft French Terry in olive, and it paired beautifully with the base garments to create some extra cozy Frocks. I am looking forward to working with more fabrics from Kelly's collection, feeling more gratitude, and swimming in beautiful memories.