I'm Doreen and I am the founder of Doreen J. Designs. My atelier is my home studio and surroundings in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY. I love, and I'm inspired everyday by where I live.
I'm a seeker and eternal learner with a beginner's mindset. I love working with my hands (you can tell). I love dirt. I love the process of designing, making and growing things. I am inspired by nature, by objects, by people and their stories. I'm in love with honeybees and gardening, animals and fiber, farming and local food.
I'm obsessed with and bake sourdough bread. I maintain two starters - Jane and John, rather, two extra mouths to feed. I recently acquired a manual grain mill to mill my own flours because self-sufficiency is empowering. I probably should have been born in another century.
I love to travel and experience other cultures. I’m a curious, global citizen with a locavore mindset, supporting local business where ever I go. It has been a great gift to have work that takes me around the world. For almost 20 years I split my time between NYC where I lived and worked, and the Hudson Valley where I lived and played. I made the move upstate 10 years ago and combined all the things. I love coming home to the woods.
Clogs (I have a problem) are my favorite shoes. I'm crazy about smocks and wrap dresses that have a little swing. For linen, I swoon.
I'm also obsessed with textiles. I knit, spin, weave, felt and make quilts. No such thing as too much yarn or fabric on hand. 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. Attempting to grow Japanese Indigo from seed - pointers welcome! After many years I'm back on my loom 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 mediations for the mind and hands.
I love handmade paper, paint, and working with found objects and fabric to create collage on canvas.
Persian and Moroccan carpets 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 garden organically and with the landscape, and love having my hands in the earth. I've studied Permaculture Design, build raised bed gardens, edible and ornamental, food and flower. I love landscaping, hauling rocks and building stone walls. Plants are healers. Soil is my canvas. I learned to make baskets last year and so I have found another obsession. In addition to the dye garden, I've started cultivating willow to feed this obsession. Stay tuned.
I love the surprise of an unexpected lining, the quality and care of a hand-finished garment, the irregular chunk of a handspun, hand-knit pair of mittens. It’s about details and unique touches. I briefly worked in the commercial fashion industry in the 90's and while I loved many 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 and will always love 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. I also buy/sell vintage items.
Professionally, I work in Learning & Development and curate learning experiences both live, online, and on demand. I love my job. I also produce events and unique gatherings for any occasion. I co-create with my clients to ensure a memorable experience, from business retreats and leadership trainings to weddings and celebrations. My professional background is in Leadership Development, Event Planning and Production, Marketing, Communications, and Program Management. I also do windows - the retail, styling, visual-merchandising kind.
We've been creating a wee homestead on our property. We planted fruit trees last year, expanded our food and pollinator gardens, and dream of a small pond. I am a treatment-free beekeeper, more like a beetender, of Warre hives. Honeybees are amazing creatures and teachers, reminding me to slow down, be deliberate in my actions, stay present, breathe. Chickens may arrive soon for eggs and entertainment. I love animals, and I'm a magnet for senior dogs (all dogs, let's be honest.) They tend to find me for adoption and golden year pampering. Along with my little dog Lucy Bean, cat Greta and husband Sal (family Chef) we are respectfully living on, lovingly tending and nurturing Native American Lenape land in our Catskill Mountain region.
I practice the banjo but not nearly enough. I love folk music and jazz, in particular 1920s, 1930s a la Django Reinhardt, and 40's for swing dancing. I love to sing but rarely do in public. Reading, yoga, meditation, stacking firewood, building stone walls and walking in the woods with my pals and pups, are rituals I try to practice as much as possible, to help keep me balanced and grounded.
I am passionate about social justice, humbly and actively working to combat systemic racism, learning and listening along the way. Because a wise friend once told me, "hope is not a strategy" - I believe it is with attention, intention, education, empathy, listening, using our voices and our votes, will we begin to move humanity towards equality and justice for ALL, and this includes a healthy planet. I remain stubbornly hopeful. Sharing this list of resources for awareness.
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.
Thanks for visiting!
"Make stuff. Stay home. Draw. Dress locally. Hand wash. Learn to darn." - Sarah Swett, Fiber Ar
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