Things are ever changing around here. I feel like I went to bed a woman with a business, a dog, and a wonderful boyfriend and I woke up (groggy and too tried) with two kids, two businesses, and still (luckily) a wonderful partner.  It took 4 years to get here and while I feel like this is what I've always been doing- what I've always hoped for- sometimes I look up and wonder how I got here and why it's so hard. These two brilliant and amazing little people inspire and exhaust me in nearly equal parts.

Yesterday, in middle of a photo shoot for the POLKA DOT CLUB as often happens around here, work and life mixed together and both kids ended up in my studio, on my lap, in front of the camera.  Having children brought my dream of making toys for kids into perfect focus. I've always wanted to make beautiful things for little people- to make them smile, to bring comfort, to inspire play. All the struggle and long hours are worth it when I hand over a little-hand-made-play-thing and they don't want to let go. They're my ever inspiring test subjects, that and so so so much more.


new mailing list! and a plea

The studio is a busy place these days as I ramp up for the holiday season... I'm trying to juggle a few too many things lately, and staying in touch here and via email seems to continue to fall through the cracks. So- in an attempt to remedy this situation I've created a new mailing list. Now if I want to send out a note about a new pattern, a few new pieces in the shop, or if I'll be attending a workshop or event- it will be quick and much more beautiful than my previous mailings.

All this said, I've been trying to hand type in every one's contact info into the new service but it's making me a crazy woman, so I thought I'd just ask for some help! If you'd like to be continue to on my mailing list, Please Sign Up Here! A million thanks! ~ Jennifer

((C. and I in the corn maze last week--- loving this time of year))


NOTICE and notes

Free Worldwide Shipping in the POLKA DOT CLUB shop now through Halloween.

Many people have asked me how the PDC is different from the pieces I've been making over the last 15+ years... so I thought I'd take a moment to talk about that a bit. 

I learned to sew from my mother when I was 11. I wanted to make bears and stuff animals because I wanted to play with them and as time went on I was very interested in the very act of making things- How each time it engaged my hands and my mind in a way that I loved.  I began making one-of-a-kind and later small limited edition pieces- most were stuffed with excelsior,  had glass eyes, jointed limbs, and were made from mohair and 100% wool felt. I had a few people helping me to sew over the years but all details and finishing have always been done exclusively by me. This way of working meant I've always had control over all the aesthetic choices and quality of everything that came out of my studio, and frankly I can't imagine working any other way...

The Polka Dot Club came into being because after making hundreds of bears and animals over the years- all modeled after old toys. I couldn't think of anything better than reviving the techniques and materiality of vintage toy making but with an eye for design today. Obviously the PDC currently has far less designs than the bears I've made under my name (currently 5 in numerous colorways), but each piece is made with the same quality mohair and 100% wool, cotton or linen fabric.  

These bears all have beautiful (hand aged) safety eyes and are stuffed with 100% cotton stuffing for children and discerning adults. I've used this stuffing for years in all my smaller bears, but stuffing the PDC designs with it means they are softer to the touch than those stuffed with Excelsior but hold their shape far better than the usual stuffed toys you see in stores today. I've spent lots of time working on safety concerns and have had all pieces tested by a lab for age appropriate safety. This part was all new, and while very time consuming on my end, it gave me so much peace of mind. 

I have a few incredibly skilled people helping to cut, sew and stuff the bears and rattles, but again- all the designing, details, and finishing are done with my two hands. It's not fast, but it means that each piece is made with care by me. Because each piece takes hours to complete I love to think every bear is imbued with all that love and care by the time it's sent out into the world... I believe you can feel that when they're in your hands or your little ones arms.


Hello out there...

Yes! Contrary to the activity on this blog-I'm still around and still making things. The POLKA DOT CLUB has been keeping me very busy as any new business does. But in the evenings, after the kids are tucked in bed, the dishes are done, and the house quiets down- I've been cutting, sewing, and working a little here and there on new one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces for the shop. Maybe I'll get them done before Halloween but maybe I should just shoot for before Fall has made its last stand. Progress is slow but my heart is in it. Making all the PDC bears is so much fun- thinking if the children who will play with and love them- but I miss the creativity and process of making each bear new. They're little experiments and I love to see how each one becomes a unique and therefore perfectly- imperfect object in my hands...


News from the PDC: I've been keeping things interesting over at the clubhouse too, making one of a kind and small special editions too... These little Halloween Bears will make it into the shop next week!