Next up in the Reflections and Predictions series, we have Jenelle from TrashN2Tees. I am just in love with the creativity she displays in repurposing! Find some awesome repurposing tutorials from Jenelle on her blog, follow her on Facebook, or check out her shop!

Don’t miss the other posts in the series! We are honored to have several sewing industry leaders take time out of their busy schedules to talk to us about 2016 and what they are looking forward to in the year ahead! So far, we have heard from Nydia Kehnle of Nydia Kehnle Design + PhotographySamarra Khaja from Samarra KhajaDebbie Jeske from A Quilter’s TableSarah Fielke from The Last Piece, and Chawne Kimber from completely cauchy.

Want to join the fun?! Answer any or all of our questions on your site. Tag us or add the URL in the comments of any Reflections/Predictions post and we’ll check it out! #sewingpredictions

Sew Mama Sew: Looking back on the sewing scene in 2016, what trends stand out?
Jenelle: 2016 really started shedding light on some of the fantastic natural dying techniques and reluctantly ombre gave way to shibori, patchwork, visible mending beyond functionality with elegance and style, and the midas touch of metallics (hello! rose gold!) are all trends that I embraced in 2016.

SMS: Who knocked your socks off and why?
Jenelle: Grace Vanderwaal, Jake Finch, and all the strong beautiful women out there at different stages in their lives, who are taking are courageous, brilliant, and creative steps forward. Thank you for being an inspiration to us all.

SMS: What do you think the sewing and quilting industry has in store this year?
Jenelle: Innovations like whoa! It is hard to keep up- but the technology and tools that are available to us are truly revolutionizing the way we sew. From top to bottom there are so many “space age” advancements in the industry talking about the machine capabilities (scanners, cutters, painting right on the sewing machine itself) and products that improve efficiency and accuracy. It’s exciting to see these tools offered to home sewist at affordable costs but I also hope that we can keep touch with the art and craft of sewing- the tradition of quilting. Our challenge is balancing them both & hope to foster an inclusive culture for all!

SMS: Do you have any thoughts about the role of art in the years ahead?
Jenelle: I often wonder if others realize how vital it is, to do art. Live it, breathe, make, see, smell, scribble it & throw it away if we must. We make it. Many of us can identify some aspect of our creativity to art- even if you don’t call yourself an artist. Meanwhile an entire generation of children are growing up without exposure to needle crafts, to sewing, to wood working, but to ART in general. It’s a huge fear of mine, for our future, that we lose touch with creativity, innovation, experimentation, and moments in between. Art will always have external benefits but the role of art in the years ahead only remains if we can encourage others to make art- for art’s sake. And actually appreciate it.

SMS: Who do you think are rising stars in the industry?
Jenelle: Ashley Nickels, I am fascinated by her watercolor quilting and use of color/thread. It’s fresh and for me stands out in a crowd. My second nod, not specifically in ‘the industry’ but 100% amazing machine embroidery artist and total star, Amanda McCavour.

SMS: What did you do this year that you’re most proud of?
Jenelle: If you’ve ever been met with the words, ‘it can’t be done that way” or ‘that’s not how we do it?” Ahh, I’m raising cup to you right now. (Later, let’s go find those bozo’s and make them eat their dirty socks!) For many years I’ve heard similar things- and because my work straddles the quilt world (I come from an environmental science background) I’ve spent many years really trying to push a movement for sustainable & responsibly made fabrics made using recycled yarns- and finally this year I received & fine tuned the product. Unfortunately it’s not yet available for market, but hey let’s celebrate the baby steps forward! Oh and I made my first 3 quilts ever! (pictured below: hand-cut t-shirt layers which was inspired by an instagram #beesewcial prompt)

SMS: What can we expect from you in 2017? Any big projects, life changes or goals you can share?
Jenelle: In 2017, “I’m going commando!”- in the words of the great Kim Niedzwiecki. I planned and crammed a lot into 2016- by the end of the year I felt mentally drained. There are so many fantastic opportunities out there, but reminding myself that I don’t have to say yes to every single one is important. There’s enough success to go around! Read: Stop the hustle! I’m excited as ever to get out and teach a limited number of workshops and for the first time, I’ll be teaching internationally! That’s pretty special. Meanwhile my goal is focusing on getting healthy, being a better human, supporting my family, friends when they need me. If a fantastic quilt, craft, or pattern evolve out of that space- it’s a bonus!!