Handmade: Curvie's Hats, Etc. is a dream come true
It's rare that you come across a boutique where everything in the shop is handcrafted by its owner, but Curvie Jones of Detroit happens to be the creator behind all the women's garments and accessories sold at Curvie's Hats, Etc.
The multi-talented fiber artist has been stock-piling items she's made over the years, using her knitting, crocheting, sewing, felting, spinning and dyeing skills.
Retired from Detroit Public Schools as a third grade language arts teacher, Jones opened the doors to Curvie's Hats, Etc. (23426 Woodward) in Ferndale in November of 2017, after "about four years" of searching for the perfect location.
"I've always wanted to do this," she stated. "I've been making things since I was at least three years old. I've always had a stock pile of things I made, and I thought as soon as I retired from school I'd open a business, but it didn't happen for years. I've done shows, like bazaars, and I've been encouraged to open a store, and I finally did it! It took a while to find a location."
Many of the items she makes -- knitted and crocheted scarves, hats, jackets, coats and felted wearables -- are done using fibers that she spins herself. Among other items she makes are silk tops and scarves with fabric she dyes, using a Japanese technique called Shibori.
"I make them in the store and in my home," said Jones, admitting she still has "a love for making things." I have a workshop in the rear of the store with a sewing machine, and I take my spinning wheel (to the shop). I'm also learning to weave, so I have my weaving loom there (as well). And, needless to say, she's never without her knitting needles and crochet hooks.
Jones said she's a "kind of self-taught" fiber artist, but admits she took one class in felting with the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Association, and then honed her skills by doing a lot of reading. "I get my wool from people who deal with wool roving, and many raise their own animals, and those who don't, get their roving from New Zealand."
Because she spends about 4-5 hours a day, working to add to her already large inventory, Jones, so far, has not had to worry about running out of items to sell. "I never get low because I've been making things for so many years. I have boxes full of things. I have a surplus," she said, adding that she sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night to work on a project.
And, though some of her items were made some time ago, she's not at all concerned with her merchandise being out-dated because the pieces are wearable art, which is always in fashion.
Other than her knitted and crocheted hats with pom poms, she said, "I don't think anything I have is trendy, so it's not a matter of them being out of style because they're not trendy."
Jones creates her own "style" for the pieces she makes, many of which are one-of-a-kind. "I try to make my own style, and I try not to be too repetitive, so that you won't see a lot of the same things. (Also), I find it very boring to repeat the same thing over and over."
Back when she did church bazaars, she said her "average customers were women between 40-70," but now that she's opened her boutique, "the age is dropping down between 30-70."
When, and if, she decides she's "done with the phase of making," Jones said she'd like to return to teaching by opening a school for young girls coming out of foster care and for those who were incarcerated, as a way to help them develop fiberart skills.
In the meantime, she's considering adding a bit of variety to items in the shop by bringing in handmade goods by other local artists -- "something like jewelry."
During the winter months, Curvies Hats, Etc. is open 1-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat. Parking is available in front of the store, on two side streets, and in "a little driveway in the back."
Detroit News columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/DetroitNewsHandmade.
Contact Curvie's Hats, Etc. (23426 Woodward, Ferndale) at (248) 206-7629. Email: email@example.com.