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. Grateful for all of it.
I work with my hands (you can tell). I love dirt. I love the process of making and growing things. I am inspired by nature, by objects and people that have a story. I'm in love with honeybees and gardening, animals and fiber, farming and local food.
I bake sourdough bread, another obsession. I have two starters that I maintain - Jane and John. I recently acquired a manual grain mill to mill my own flours. Being self-sufficient is empowering. I should have been born in another century.
I love to travel and experience other cultures. I’m an eternally curious, global citizen with a global 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 8 years ago and love coming home. My travels are on pause for the moment, as are we all.
Clogs (I have a problem) are my favorite shoes, if I must to wear them. Next are boots and Birks. I'm crazy about smocks and wrap dresses that have a little swing. Linen makes me swoon.
I've an obsession with yarn and fiber. I knit, spin, weave, felt and make quilts. There is no such thing as too much yarn or fabric. I've been experimenting with natural plant dying of fabric and fiber, and have been planting a dye garden over the last few years. 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 into yarn, which is oh, so zen. I've been stitching too, as in embroidery, and learning the Japanese art of Sashiko.
I love handmade paper, Persian and Moroccan carpets, the more loved the better. Rugs are art for the floor, and each unique design and color tells the cultural story of the person who wove it. This is magic to me.
On gardens, I've a certificate in Permaculture Design, garden organically and with the landscape, and love having my hands in the earth (I'm also a Taurus, which could explain my extreme love of dirt and foraging among other things...) It is all about the soil. I build raised bed gardens, edible and ornamental, food and flower. I love landscaping, hauling rocks and building stone walls. Plants are magic healers. Dirt is my canvas. I've learned to make baskets and I'm excited to say I have found yet another obsession, and 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. Details and special touches mean a lot. I briefly worked in the commercial fashion industry in the 90's and it was then that I realized the true cost of trendy clothing/accessories - for people and the planet. It's not pretty. It's horrifying actually. I try to buy and use local, sustainably made and vintage materials whenever possible. I also buy/sell vintage items.
Professionally, I curate and produce events, small gatherings, and unique programs. I co-create with my clients to ensure a memorable experience, from business retreats and trainings to weddings and celebrations. My professional background is in Event Planning and Production, Marketing, Communications and Program Management, both live and virtual. I also do windows - the retail, styling, visual-merchandising kind.
We've been creating a wee homestead on our property. We planted fruit trees this 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 absolutely amazing creatures, and remind my hive mind to slow down, be deliberate in my actions, stay present, breathe. Chickens will arrive in the Spring for eggs and entertainment. I love animals, and have a serious soft spot for senior dogs (all dogs really.) 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 1930's jazz, swing dancing and singing. Reading, yoga, meditation, stacking firewood, building stone walls and walking in the woods with my dog are rituals I try to practice as much as possible, to help keep me balanced and grounded.
I am also humbly and actively working to combat systemic racism. Because a wise friend once told me, "hope is not a strategy" - I believe it is with attention, education, empathy, listening, using our voices and our votes will we begin to move humanity towards equality and justice for ALL. I still have hope. Sharing this list of resources I found 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 Artist.
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