I'm Doreen, founder of Doreen J. Designs. My atelier is my home studio and surroundings in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY. I'm inspired everyday by where I live. I work with my hands (you can tell). I love dirt, the process of designing, making, building, growing things. I'm an eternal learner with a beginner's mindset, inspired by nature and objects found there, by people and their stories. I'm passionate about beekeeping and gardening, animals and fiber, farming and local food.
I love textiles. I knit, spin, weave, felt, sew and quilt. I've been experimenting with natural plant dying of fabric, yarn and raw fiber and have been expanding my dye garden over the last few years. I'm attempting to grow Japanese Indigo from seed in the North East (advice welcome!) After many years I'm back on my looms weaving when I can find the time, and I also practice the art of hand-spinning raw fiber (wool fleece called roving) into yarn. I've been stitching too, as in embroidery, and learning the Japanese art of Sashiko. All are meditations for mind and hands and I relish time in the studio. I learned to make baskets a couple of years ago and so I have found yet another craft to explore. In addition to the dye garden, I've started cultivating willow to feed this basketry obsession. My love of woven textiles extends to Persian and Moroccan carpets which are to me, art for the floor - the more worn and loved the better. Each unique design, color and pattern reveals the cultural, and sometimes personal story of the weaver. This is magic.
I love the surprise of an unexpected lining, the quality and care of a hand-finished garment, the irregular chunk of handknit pieces. I studied fashion design and fiber arts and worked for a few years as an accessories designer in the commercial fashion industry in the 90's. While I loved the creative aspects of it, I also realized first hand the true cost of fast fashion - for people and the planet. I still love designing and making clothing, the art of garment construction and creating a wearable item from a few yards of fabric. I try to buy and use local, sustainably made and vintage materials whenever possible. For linen, I swoon.
I love traveling and experiencing other cultures. I consider myself a global citizen with a locavore mindset, supporting local business where ever I go. It has been a great gift to have had work that took me around the world. For almost 20 years I was lucky to split my time between NYC where I lived and worked, and the Hudson Valley. I've been living in the Hudson Valley for the last decade, and love being tucked away in the woods.
I'm slowly and intentionally creating a wee homestead in the woods. I am a treatment-free beekeeper (a bee-tender?) of Warre hives - though on hiatus at the moment to put more infrastructure in place. I love animals, and I'm a magnet for senior dogs (all dogs.) They tend to find me for adoption and golden year pampering. Along with my two little dogs Lucy Bean and Olivia Rose, and cat Greta, we are respectfully living on, lovingly tending and nurturing Native American Lenape land in our Catskill Mountain region. I'm currently restoring and updating my 1934 cottage in the deep woods. Everyday is an adventure.
I garden 100% organically and with the landscape, no chemicals ever, and love having my hands in the earth. I incorporate elements of Permaculture, build raised bed gardens, edible and ornamental, food and flower. I love landscaping, hauling rocks and building stone walls and will do it until my body wears out. I’ve been learning more about herbalism and have reverence for plants as healers.
I bake sourdough bread and love to experiment with other wild fermentation techniques. I maintain two sourdough starters - Jane and John, and brew Kombucha when I remember. I recently acquired a manual grain mill for milling my own flours, because self-sufficiency is empowering! I should have been born in another century.
Clogs (I have a problem) are my favorite shoes. I love handmade paper, paint, and working with found objects and fabric to create collage on canvas. Ceramics is an art form I adore, but have yet to experiment with. Soon!
The banjo is my favorite instrument. I practice, but not nearly enough, so I don't play in public. I'm also learning the ukulele, and gather with friends to sing and laugh and learn to play together. I love folk music and jazz from the 1920's and 30's a la Django Reinhardt, and 40's Big Band (Lindy Hop and swing dancing!) Reading, yoga, meditation, stacking firewood, building stone walls and walking in the woods with pals and pups are rituals that I live for, and that help keep me balanced and grounded.
In my day job, I work in leadership development, and as a professional and personal coach. In my coaching practice, I help guide and support clients in creating a fulfilling life and career that is in alignment with their values. I also produce memorable events and unique gatherings for any occasion, from artist retreats and leadership trainings to weddings and celebrations. My professional background also includes event planning and production, retail, marketing, and communications. I love interiors, exteriors, and hold the belief that aesthetics are vital to our wellbeing.
Please get in touch with me if you've questions, or are interested in creating something unique for yourself, your business, your home, garden or gathering. For coaching, please visit djlwholecoaching.com for more information, or click the Coaching tab at the top of this page.
Thanks for visiting.
"Make stuff. Stay home. Draw. Dress locally. Hand wash. Learn to darn." - Sarah Swett, Fiber Artist
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