Interview with Elide Endreson of Previously

June 22, 2011

Garters by Previously
I’m not sure how I first stumbled upon Previously, but one thing is for sure—it was love at first sight! Elide Endreson makes the loveliest vintage-inspired garters, using the same construction methods and materials designers did in the 1920s. The results are absolutely breath-taking. These handmade garters have captured my heart and filled my head with a sense of  wonderment. I just had to learn more about Elide and her handmade adventures, and luckily she agreed to answer a few of my questions.

Garters by PreviouslyAs someone who is obsessed with 1920s design and culture, I’m always delighted and excited to find others who feel the same way. What is it about this era that inspires you and speaks to your soul?

I think I’m intrigued by the decade’s examples of expression and experimentation in the arts and elsewhere. For example, you have Dadaism and Surrealism in this era. You also have the writers of the Lost Generation, the Harlem Renaissance, the Ballet Russe, Berlin Caberet and the Bauhaus during this time. This was also the era of the rise of urbanization and women’s suffrage in the United States. I think it’s the first decade that is relatable because it was when modernism really took hold. As fascinating as Victorian culture is, its sensibility and traditions can feel somewhat alien.

You mention on your website that your garters are inspired by George Barbier and Boue Soeurs. Who are some of your other favorite artists and designers from that era?

Right now I’m looking at a lot of designers that used meticulous embellishment in their work, which includes the House of Lanvin and Callot Souers. I’ve also been looking at illustrators that were the peers of George Barbier such as Georges Lepape and Pierre Brissaud. They all did fashion illustrations for the French magazine Gazette du Bon Ton in the 20s and it’s pure eye candy.

Vintage reproduction garters by Previously

I’ve read in other interviews that the research and development stage is always the best part of the process for you because it’s full of discoveries and possibilities. I can totally relate to this in my own work and process. For me, I think researching and finding the perfect materials for a project is tied into the primitive human urge to hunt and gather, and our natural instinct to be curious. What are your thoughts on this?

For me, the research stage is definitely hunting and gathering. I comb through books and articles on techniques and pictures of vintage lingerie, study examples of vintage ribbon work and what women wore in the 20s. This is the stage where I let my interests wander, and use curiosity like a compass. One one hand, you indulge your interests because you end up going down a path, and then there’s an interesting tangent and you end up somewhere you didn’t expect. On the other, it’s hard to be disciplined at this stage and I can end up spending too much time consuming information.  Development is where I try to reign myself in to build a solid foundation. This would include prototyping and figuring out the best and most efficient way to make something.

Garters by Previously

What do you do when you sit down to design something? What are your rituals in your process?

My design process is slightly different for each of the three categories of garters I’m working on, which are: a standard collection (designs that I plan to sell in my shop for some time), a custom garter set made to order, or a one-of-a-kind garter set.

For the current collection of garters, I spent a lot of time looking at and reading about 1920s ribbon work and millinery (hunting and gathering!).  Since I was going for a reproduction look, I wanted the forms and scale of the designs to be in keeping with actual vintage garters. I also wanted something that would still resonate on some level with contemporary sensibilities. I sketched out several ideas and experimented with ribbon to try and get the shapes I wanted. (I think this is usually how it goes for me: form comes first, then color.)

Garters by Previously, ChicagoFor color, I was really inspired by the illustrations of George Barbier as mentioned earlier. Looking at black and white photos, you don’t really get the big picture of how vibrant color was used then. I was really struck by Barbier’s color juxtapositions which I wouldn’t have thought would be popular in the 1920s. In the design process, I prefer to use natural fibers whenever possible and keep in mind the wearability of the item—for example, is the embellishment that I designed going to be secure enough?  Since the garters are worn on your legs, I assume they are going to get brushed by your skirt or dress, or when you cross your legs. It’s because of this that I’m a little afraid to use vintage materials on the garters; they always feel a bit too delicate to me, which is a shame since I have a number of vintage treasures I’d love to use.

For custom orders, the process is more like a collaboration between the customer and I. If it’s someone I know or have met, I try to think about where her aesthetic sense leans and what she wears on a regular basis. I use this as a guide for making design decisions. My goal is always to delight the customer, and I know I’ve done that when there’s a part of me that really wants that custom pair I just made for myself.

The limited edition/one-of-a-kind garters are something I’ve just started. It requires a larger investment in time and materials and is therefore something I wouldn’t allow myself to do until this year. I’m excited to be exploring different materials and more complicated designs.

At the end of each of these design processes, I do have a ritual. I close my eyes for a few seconds, then open them again and look at the garter I have just finished. If it looks like something I would buy—if I love it—then it’s done.

Vintage reproduction garters by Previously

Is there a creative medium or perhaps a vintage method or technique you want to try that you haven’t yet?

There are several, but the one that stands out the most is a Victorian recipe and instructions for making your own stamen for use in various projects (like hairwork or feather flowers). The instructions call for a mixture of rice flour, dye and gum arabic into which you dip the end of silk thread to make the stamen. It’s really not practical to make my own stamen but it’s definitely something I’d like to try.

What are some of your favorite things about living and working in Chicago?

Inspiration is just outside my door! My neighborhood experienced rapid growth in the 1920s and you can see it in the architectural details. The brickwork pattern on a building or the shape of a cut-out on a door will resonate art deco. I also love having access to museums and libraries for research.

What’s next for Previously?

On July 21st I will be joining a roster of awesome local vendors at Indie Wed in Chicago. I also have a collaborative project on deck for this holiday season, a lot of one of a kind pieces in the works and a small limited edition series of garters that will be released soon.

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Find Previously Online: WebBlogEtsy


Meet the Paisleys

July 2, 2010

Today I want to share the work of one of my favorite—and undeniably one of the cutest—crafty duos here in Portland: elle.paisley & m.paisley. They pack a double punch of talent.


elle.paisley: I specialize in one of a kind (OOAK) steampunk jewelry as well as Victorian inspired brass lockets and filigree rings. My designs incorporate vintage watch movements and clockwork, brass, antiqued silver, Victorian and Elizabethan stampings and castings, turn of the century decorative hardware and special charms & adornments.

I am a ‘Jill of Many Trades’ and take on an assortment of various day jobs—currently including media market research and retail sales—and pick up the occasional stage managing or lighting design gig. I have a BA in Theatre Arts and a BA in Dance, and I am in the process of applying to grad programs in Library Science and Arts Administration.

m.paisley: Getting into grad school has sort of overtaken my crafting, but when I do get around to it, I make feather hair clips. I just got accepted into the HESA (Higher Education and Student Affairs) program at University of Vermont so I’m super stoked and spending most of my time preparing for the big move. Student Affairs has always been my passion, and it’s so exciting that I’m finally taking the next step in making it my career.

Right now I make a living by waiting tables, and I’m also a competitive bowler. Professional bowling is basically my backup career if the student affairs thing doesn’t work out.


elle.paisley: When I started making jewelry I had just lost my job and my grandfather, whom I was very close with. Mae truly inspired me to take advantage of that time in my life by creating beauty from it, and most of my earlier pieces were all designed for her to wear. I use music to inspire me in my creative process, typically listening to The Dresden Dolls, Vermillion Lies and Bjork while crafting. Aesthetically I am inspired by Edwardian, Victorian, Elizabethan, and Gothic eras; the idea of balance working with asymmetry; and the materials I choose to work with.

Steampunk Necklace

m.paisley: Initially, it was just an ‘I could do that!’ moment at a Halloween bazaar, but when I sit down and get to work now, I’m inspired by burlesque and turn of the century fashion. And really, I’m a selfish creator. I just make things that I like and that I would want to wear.

Feather Hair Clip


• Champ (the Lake Champlain Sea Monster) since he will be our new neighbor in Burlington :)
• Hippo Hardware
• Typewriters
• Waffles
• Kittens! (and the amazing Russian Cat Circus)

• New England
• Critical/Feminist Pedagogy
• New Rose Tattoo (desperately need get to a botched tattoo—NOT from New Rose—dealt with)
• Gothic/Victorian/Turn-of-the-Century lezzie love stories and love letters like Tipping the Velvet and Violet to Vita
• Red wine

I Like You Jen Fosnight

April 15, 2010

Name: You can call me Jen, but my screen name is usually neverfeltbetter pretty much everywhere.

Location: Sacramento, CA

How we met: You and I met at an I Heart Rummage holiday sale. We were booth neighbors and I kept fondling your aprons and embroidered goods, so i think you kinda had to talk to me! LOL. You were very sweet and just getting started with craft shows. Unfortunately, my family had to relocate from PDX to where we live now in Sacramento, but we have remained online friends and I love to see your work featured around the ‘net!

What you do: I wrangle toddlers for a living, doing in-home day care which i have done for many years. It allowed me to stay at home with my girls and concentrate on I have a daughter with autism and it was particularly rough during her toddler years time-wise, but things have really fallen into place, which allows me to have a studio in my house and time to create. Additionally, i am very lucky to have my husband Shawn as my biggest supporter and helper monkey :)

Seagull Scarf

NFB has been in bloom since 2005. I started on Etsy with little felt brooches, and vintage component jewelry pieces and did really well, I thought. Got my own website in 2006, then I added crocheted items like scarves, pouches and also sewn pieces like my bird headbands. Finally came my favorite work of soldered pendants preserving vintage fabric. I love soldering and would love to teach myself some metalsmithing techniques to incorporate in my work for larger art pieces. I don’t mean this to be an afterthought: I’m a proud vegan! All of my work is cruelty free and you will find no animal products such as wool, silk, bone, shell, etc… even the glue is animal by-product free!

Vegan Stamp

2009 was a hard year for me personally. I lost my mother and it really took me out of the *present* for pretty much the entire year. On top of that, I went from Portland’s craft scene to… well, Sacramento’s, and it was a rough transition to say the least. By springtime I found a cool venue to sell at, and that worked out well but in general I phoned it all in. For 2010, I am pairing down NFB to focus on what makes me happy (and what has proven to make customers most happy)—no more phoning anything in! That is what is so great about having your own business—it allows for down times when they are necessary, and everyone has been extremely supportive of me over the past year. Thanks guys!

Vintage Fabric Pendants

What inspires you most when you create: I am an accessory artist, and I am a tactile fiend. I love pawing fabrics and looking at them really close up so you can see the fibers. It doesn’t bother me to see strings, or unfinished edges. i love the squeaky hard sound of acrylics and the soft quietness of cottons. I get inspired by stacks of vintage remnants that friends pass along to me, that beg to be made into pendants pressed between glass, then soldered. I love watching the silver metal go from liquid to solid, then polishing it up. Nature inspires me as well.

5 things you’re digging at the moment:
• Pinking Shears
• Throwback Pepsi
• Eco-Felt
• Black Liquid Eye Liner
• Seagulls

I Like You Lisa L

April 8, 2010

Name: Lisa L
Location: Seattle, WA

How we met: It was back when you were in the Jolenes and were friends with my friend Christine.

What you do: I work in fashion for a living, and spend all my free time creating—knitting, sewing, making doll clothes. Or learning Chinese. Or volunteering at my local shelter to pet the kitties and get them adopted.

What inspires you most when you create?
I can’t NOT create. I have to be busy all the time. I get inspired by all kinds of things, but in general, it’s about wanting to make something I’d want to own. Sometimes it’s just about wanting to figure out HOW to make something. I love the process probably more than the end product in most cases. For me it’s all about enjoying working on something.

List of 5 things you’re digging at the moment:
• Dolls, Ball Jointed Dolls (BJDs) & Blythe
• Victoriana
• Learning the Chinese language
• Self-patterning for knitting socks
• Tattoos

I Like You Stephanie Brachmann

April 1, 2010

Swoops BrachmannName: Stephanie “Swoops” Brachmann
Location: Portland, OR (in the northeast sector)

How we met: Christine & I were buddies in middle school in our culturally-deprived hometown. We recognized in each other a longing for a more creative lifestyle somehow, somewhere. We also both were striving to someday be rockstars.

What you do: I tend to do many things, so bear with me.

I curate a very small art space in the Alberta neighborhood called Emerson Space Case. We show adventurous art by local artists, in hopes of stirring up new ideas, and giving the passers-by something to
look at on the way to the market or the bus stop.

I make greeting cards out of repurposed & vintage materials, and sell them at shops that sell such things.

I dabble in many projects here and there, like photography (digital & old-timey alike), printmaking (woodcuts, linocuts), illustration, collage, fiber arts, bookmaking, creative writing, playing guitar & accordion. You name it, I’ve probably dabbled.

As for the logical side of things, I have two jobs right now. One is teaching arts & crafts to elementary school kids, and the other is working at a guest house for families whose children are in the hospital.

And for fun, I enjoy riding bikes, poking campfires, growing vegetables, trying new foods, and enjoying the occasional rousing night of karaoke.

What inspires you most when you create: I like the feeling of creating something that will surprise and delight the audience or the recipient. I love making cards and gifts for people. I am also inspired by the kids to whom I teach art, and how free-flowing they allow themselves to be in their way of looking at the world and creating art. As we get older, most of us lose our ability to come up with endless ridiculous and bizarre ideas the way children do. This is a quality I’d like to regain.

List of 5 things you’re digging at the moment:
• Making roasted sweet potatoes/yams (then eating them)
• Listening to old gritty reggae music
Finding old paperback books with hilarious cover art & titles
• Victorian Hair Art, especially this lady talking about it at her museum.
• Reading the original stories of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Magical! And so much more gruesome than you might expect.

I Like You Theresa Rohrer

March 25, 2010

T Accordian
Name: Theresa Louise Rohrer. But people call me “T.”

Location: I was born in the exciting little town of Boring, Oregon, but I am currently in Portland.

How we met: Come to think of it, I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever met you in person… I may have met you at Crafty Wonderland, but that day is kinda a blur. I guess I met you on Facebook.

Giant JelloWhat you do: There are lots of things I do in life, however I don’t have any one major focus. I like my life to be filled with variety, but never to the point of exhaustion. I enjoy being creative, reading a good book while drinking tea on a rainy day, sewing, drawing, looking at little distant fuzzy things in the night sky with my telescope, watching things grow in our apartment garden, knitting scarves and arm warmers, playing the accordion, calligraphy, collecting fortunes from fortune cookies, and creating magnificent towers of Jell-O… Is sleeping a bad answer? If not, I enjoy that too.

I also co-run an etsy store called Doormouse Designs with my friend Trina. However, I make my living as a graphic designer, and I love it!

What inspires you most when you create: Lawrence Welk, the smell of a cooking pie, a hot cup of black tea, clouds, browsing through 1940-50-60’s magazines and cookbooks, watching old black and white movies (especially for the clothes), and anything drawn by Ed Emberly.

List of 5 things you’re digging at the moment:

HANDWRITING: I’ve been really into handwriting lately. I have always had terrible handwriting so, a few months ago I decided I was going to change it. It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of work, but I finally managed to turn it into something I can be proud of.

HandwritingEver since then, I’ve been infatuated with people’s handwriting. I love looking to see how people’s handwriting reflects who they are, and then I found the best thing since sliced bread at the used book store: Handwriting Analysis: The Art and Science of Reading Character by Graphic Analysis.

Now, I’m not sure how scientifically accurate this book is, but it certainly is fascinating. I have learned that supposedly, people who write at an angle are more emotional than people who right straight up and down. And it claims that people who cross their t’s at the top have very high goals while people who cross their t’s low, toward the bottom, are content with what they have in life. These are just two examples of hundreds this book contains of letter meanings. I’ve really enjoyed reading it.

MOSS: Since there aren’t not many flowers in the winter, I’ve had to start picking moss instead. I’m always amazed at all the different types of moss and lichen there are, and they look great in little rock filled terrariums.

WINSTON CHURCHILL: Last week, I finally finished the second volume of the Winston Churchill biography by William Manchester, and it appears the third volume is coming out sometime next year. Until then I’ve been scouring used book stores and the Internet trying to glean more information. It’s one of those rare books which I felt actually made me a better person for reading it.

And recently, I’ve found myself subconsciously quoting Churchill. He really does have some marvelous quotes such as:

“If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them — peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintances.” ~ Winston Churchill

MAIL: Lately, I’ve actually been excited to get the mail. I’ve always loved getting mail, not bills or junk, but real mail, like postcards and letters. I really wish people would go back to sending real mail. It’s much prettier than e-mails, and I can magnet them to my frig. (Plus, if they’re handwritten, I can look at their handwriting.)

CARAMELIZED ONIONS: Awhile ago I got a giant bag of onions for $1.50 and after that, I found out just how swell onions really are. I especially like them caramelized in browned butter. They have been in all my soups, stews and pastas recently ,and I even made some of the best french onion soup I’ve ever had. If you have never tried caramelized onions before, I highly recommend them.

I Like You Jess Hirsch

March 10, 2010

Jess Hirsch

Name: Jess aka Deer Beard
Location: I am living in Portland Oregon for the time being, but come June I will be most likely in my natural habitat, the midwest.

How we met: We met while trapped at PNCA for a Creative Suites Class. The professor was not showing up, but I did not care because I was making a new friend. During our long chat we discussed the struggles of managing a full time job and a creative business… and look at us now! No 40-hour work week and pursuing the dream.

Deer Beard WalletsWhat you do: Right now I am working on art full time… art in a loose sense. I spend my mornings normally working on sculpture and drawing and then every other day I like to sew. I dabble with print making, but after yesterday I may have to retire my screen. I think it has been burnt one too many times. All my screen printing and sewing are for my etsy shop, but I sell mostly prints at Deer Beard.

In the afternoon I teach art classes at Harrison Park School. The kids are amazing. Some of them have a better sense of color than I do, and every student is super creative. I am learning from them how to explore and play in my own work. It’s quite the amazing job.

[Note: Jess is amazing! She also runs a nomadic art gallery with her friend Jack called Home School, and is co-founder of the Portland Healing Project, which is an online resource for alternative medicine in Portland. PHP also coordinates monthly self-care workshops.]

Folk Feng Shui Jess HirschWhat inspires you most when you create:
What inspires me comes at random. I am really inspired by everyday life. I find a lot of inspiration while I am riding around on my bike. I like to watch people, document construction patterns, find nature in peculiar positions—anything that is awkward and out of place is my muse.

How this translates in my art, I am not quite sure. I do make a lot of object that are awkwardly arranged. My current project, Folk Feng Shui, is probably the most accurate realization of my inspiration. I rearrange furniture into sculpture in order to reshape the energy of the space.

My 2-D work stems from research as a way to educate myself. I had a professor once tell me that you can’t really see anything until you draw it, and I think there is a lot of truth in that statement. I draw things I want to memorize or understand better. My latest series of drawings were based on national animals and traditional patterns found within that country. I wanted to have a quick geography session and learn about patterns at the same time. They were up at Tilde last month and the response I have gotten from that show has been great. I think everyone has a child-like curiosity in that subject.

Jess Hirsch

5 things you’re digging at the moment:
• Curb Your Enthusiasm
Bon Iver‘s For Emma
• Wing Ming’s Herb Shop on 82nd Ave.
50 Backflips (My friend John’s photo blog… too good to be true)
• Poached Eggs on Toast (Inspired by Julie & Julia, as well as my father who is the master of poached eggs)