Andee Penner of Sew Dandee was born with the need to craft in her blood thanks to her Mom who is a self-taught seamstress and MacGyver of all things crafty and clever. Craft and community is her heart. “That's the only way to describe it for me, really. I fill with so much pride and excitement when I see my fellow crafters, makers, artists, handmade shopkeepers and event organizers succeed and thrive in this growing community of ours.” As with most things that start out as a hobby and become a business, motivation comes and goes for Andee. Surrounded by a wealth of artists and makers in Winnipeg is a continual source of inspiration for her. Everyday life passions and a need to do good things in and for this fragile world keeps her motivated to create. This is what led to her idea to start making an organic line of home use products that can replace the plastic and disposables in our everyday lives for a more gentle and thoughtful footprint on the environment. In her line, she uses organic cotton/hemp fabric to make produce and bulk food bags, organic reusable hankies, napkins, and super fun tea towels! “It's not a huge thing but small steps and starting conversations is how revolutions get started, right!?!”
After many years of searching to find a Canadian supplier who offered organic blank tea towels made here in Canada, Andee has recently found a solution! She was in need of a supplier of towels at an affordable price, which would allow her to resell at wholesale prices after she had silk-screened them with her own designs. Earlier this year she finally met her producer in Kayleen and her husband/business partner who together run John Addison Organics in Vancouver, BC.
“I was so over the moon to finally have a solid, reliable, fair-for-all-involved relationship for this line of my work. Making the connection even more beneficial for both of us, they also source and supply fabrics for my organic cotton hankies, napkins and rompers, rounding out a great deal of my new Sew Dandee Organics collection. My heart is bursting with pride to finally be able to tell the WHOLE story from milling to manufacturing, designing to silk screening and finally the sewing for each of my products as I share them with my customers. This is something I've been working towards for so long! I’m now able to stand behind each piece I make with confidence that no human, animal or the environment was disregarded during any step of the way.”
I connect with so much of what Andee is doing and thinking! I remember years ago, perhaps before I had ever sold my own work at a market, I purchased a hat from Andee at a craft sale at the Park Theatre. I think it was one of the This Ain’t your Grandma’s Craft Sale events. I looked up to Andee and admired her for living out her values and trying to carve a place out from under the madness of capitalism. She is living creatively, and I believe with all my heart that without people being part of the story of this kind of creative living, we will be left to walk amongst a bleak empire of generic strip malls and parking lots. Each of us spending our days longing with intense focus for our vacation time, when we plan to visit a culture that we perceive to be more beautiful than the one we live in every day.
Written by Kelly Ruth
Displaced Pegger, now learning to navigate inclines in her new home of Edmonton, AB