Meet the Neighbors: People Who Make our Community a Warm and Welcoming Place
Annabel Wrigley, Owner of Little Pincushion Studio
(As first published in the Summer 2012 Issue)
Annabel lives in Warrenton with her husband Darren, and children Oliver (12) and Ruby (10). She is the owner of Little Pincushion Studio, which offers sewing classes for girls. We talked with Annabel about her business ventures, the creative process, and her inspirations.
Tell us about Little Pincushion Studio and the classes you offer there. I opened the studio about three years ago, converting my garage into a workshop space. I had been holding workshops in my house, but we were outgrowing the space and it was really important to me to have a dedicated space for the students. Space is important for the creativity process. I want the studio to be a relaxing safe haven away from the pressures of daily life where the girls– and it is all just girls right now, it just happened that way – can feel free to talk, relax, be creative. I teach sewing and crafting classes for girls ages 8 to 14, in small groups so the kids feel like they are getting my full attention.
How did you get into sewing? My mother-in-law taught me how to make baby hats when Oliver was a baby. My friends liked them, so I made more, and then started selling them at markets and small shops. This eventually turned into a clothing line, which I managed from my home in Sydney, Australia, where I was living at the time. When we first moved to the States, I couldn’t work and so continued to sew for myself and for fun. As my daughter Ruby got older, she wanted to sew, so I taught her and some of her friends out of the house. The group just kind of kept growing through word-of-mouth.
What’s your philosophy on working with kids? Kids today are so scheduled and have so much pressure, I think it’s valuable to give them the outlet to be creative and do things their way without rules. I’m working to build relationships with the girls that can help them want to learn and help them be more open to the creative process. I can teach the techniques, but the creativity is so important, and that’s what I try to emphasize in my workshops – letting them be free to express themselves and do what they want. I think parents are sometimes surprised when they learn just what their children are capable of. The children don’t also want to do what we think they may want; they have their own ideas and want to be themselves – feel free from pressure and the need to be perfect.
What’s next for your business? Right now, I’m enjoying the studio and my small classes and am also working on a crafting book due to be released in Spring 2012. I want to see where those things take me. I am exploring expanding my workshop offerings and possibly offering classes or events for adults.
Although you can’t talk specifics on your book, can you tell us a little about how the writing process has been for you? When I was really deep into the writing, it was difficult. My family referred to it as “Mom’s three months in pajamas.” It was a new and unfamiliar process to me, a little uncomfortable, but to see my dreams and ideas evolve into something really beautiful was fun. I feel like I could do it again. I’ve enjoyed learning about the writing process and working with amazing women who have taught me so much about creativity. Writing the book – and learning from the process – has enabled me to unlock my own creativity and learn new things that I can share with my students. I also worked with a local photographer and had a great time getting the photos around Warrenton and learning about the creative community we have here.
When not sewing, what do you do with your free time? I really enjoy blogging and spend a lot of time working on my blog, making it into a great resource for inspirations and ideas. I also like experimenting with new crafts. At the moment, I’m a little obsessed with embroidery and beading.
Who or what inspires you artistically? I’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn that Warrenton has a lot of untapped creative resources. I’m part of a small group of women artists and entrepreneurs that gets together regularly to inspire and support each other. Outside that, I also find inspiration from many creative blogs and spend a lot of time looking at other blogs and interacting with other creative women online. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and enjoy reading crafting blogs from around the world in an effort to keep my projects fresh, new, and modern. Some print magazines that inspire me are Handmade, Mollie Makes, and Studios. I’d also like to mention that my daughter Ruby inspires and amazes me. She recently had her first article published in Studios magazine, making her their youngest paid writer!