Mercedes Sherwood Designs

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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    I create purses, bags and pillows from vintage barkcloth fabric. Fabric that had it's origins in the 1930s through the 1960s. It's important to bring craft into our social or daily lives, because it connects us to our past and to each other. It reminds us of the items our grandparents had, often with warm memories of our childhoods. In fact, my business name "Mercedes Sherwood" is an homage to both my grandmothers, Marie Mercedes Smith and Constance Sherwood Cugle.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: I primarily use vintage barkcloth fabric, which is nubby, upholstery weight cotton fabric that dates from the 1930s through the 1960s. I find it anyway I can - auctions, antique stores, estate sales, thrift stores. I design the patterns of the bags and purses, launder the vintage fabric, and sew it into a beautiful, usable accessory.

    A: The fabric is amazing! The prints are vibrant, fun and wonderful to work with. It's also American history, the fabrics I use were made in America when the mills were still up and running, which unfortunately is no longer the case. Most fabric is made overseas, in China and Japan.

    A: Since the pandemic, I've had to give up shows and concentrate my efforts to my Etsy shop, and in doing so, I've created relationships with new people all over the country who have discovered my work, which has been encouraging and validating. I've also taken up oil painting, which give me fresh eyes in seeing color, form and shape. And, of course, finding "new to me" vintage barkcloth and making something beautiful as well as useful keeps me passionate about what I do.

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