Some days, being a mom to a baby can make you feel like you’re walking on air. Other days, however, you might feel like you’ve been thrown down seven flights of stairs and served a whoopie pie to the face at the bottom. Because we know the ups and downs of motherhood, Stefanie and I were so very excited to announce two weeks ago the free Felt Penguin Kit by Cynthia Treen for any customer (for you!) buying the complete 3-piece Limited Edition Penguin Series from our website. I’d like to share why I find them so uplifting, and how a free Felt Penguin Kit just might make your day, too.
First: Giving gifts inspires us. Making you smile makes us smile. Really and truly! Knowing we’ve brought something to your day gives us something to whistle about as we pack shipments and file records, and you know…all that.
Second: Witnessing a unique and beautiful object inspires us. Or to put it another way….we’re IN LOVE with these penguins!!! We can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want one, making them a great holiday gift, birthday present, ornament, or why not, a treat for ourselves to wind down after a long and tiring day.
And finally: People who create inspire us. The Felt Penguin Kits are an example of what happens when creativity joins expertise in the hands of a master craftswoman. As often-tired and overloaded moms ourselves, we know that some days a small dose of inspiration can take us far, bring our smile back, help us remember the great, inspiring, and generous things we’re here to do in this world. So we want you to meet Cynthia Treen, the inspiring designer and textile artist behind the Felt Penguin Kits and a longtime friend of Kowalli.
Cynthia, I’ll have you know, was the first design professional to take a look at early versions of The Kowalli and lend her thoughts. When my first child was four months old, in the late fall of 2008, Cynthia gave me sewing lessons and taught me about patterns, overlock machines, and where to buy fabrics. Her studio – a bright and lofty space in Pawtucket RI that boasts an expansive work table and myriad rolls of fabric, as well as plastic bins teeming with buttons and zippers and grommets, drawers of variously sized and shaped scissors, pattern maker’s chalk, and other lovely objects of whose function I’m still sadly ignorant – is a maker’s paradise.
Even then, in those tired first months of my being a mother, perhaps especially then, racing back to my hungry infant after several hours away, I found what Cynthia had in her studio so uplifting, so fulfilling, so very inspiring. She makes things, truly beautiful things. You can see her full animal lineup – including a flying dove, a kangaroo mom & joey, and a piglet – here.
So where did Cynthia find her own inspiration to become a textile artist? She’s not quite sure. “Was it the soft smooth satin binding of my childhood blanket?” she muses, or “perhaps it was the feeling of our silver velvet couch beneath my young toes. It is hard to say precisely, but my memories of fabric are some of the most vivid I can recall.”
Whatever the ultimate source of her inspiration, Cynthia has created something simple and lovely. Something that can be shared, or cherished, or given. It makes us smile to give them to you. Once you have one, we hope you’ll be smiling too.
Cynthia’s work with Dosa, Martha Stewart Living and the PBS program “Cultivating Life” have been featured in both magazines and on television. She currently divides her time between private commissions and product design work. She also has a book under her belt, “Last Minute Fabric Gifts,” which was published in 2006. Visit Cynthia at threadfollower.com, or at her Etsy site – Cynthia Treen Studio – to see more of her inspiring creations.