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Shop talk with Crafted Canvas

March 1st, 2014 / By: / In the Shop

How did you get started?

I belong to a sailing club, and one year, I helped a friend put his canvas on the boat in the spring. He had just gotten a new dodger, and I looked at it and saw lots of small details I didn’t like. He encouraged me to look into doing canvas work, because he said a good canvas person in the area would be a busy person. I have a background in sewing and decided to take all of Mark and Deb Hood’s (Hood Marine Canvas Training Workshops in Merrimac, Mass.) classes as preparation for starting Crafted Canvas.

What is your product focus?

Since I enjoy boating, my focus is on sailing and power boat canvas items—dodgers, biminis, covers, cushions. I would love to learn more about the finer points of upholstery as well.

What unique design elements are built into your products?

Small details and high-quality construction are two things I insist on. I want the stitches to be uniform, I want the seams heated or covered, and I want to see reinforcements where necessary around high stress areas. When the piece is done, I want it to look elegant inside and out, be practical and sturdy. Mostly, I would want an experienced fabricator to look at my work and be impressed. I am also trying to source the best materials that are made in the USA to support American businesses.

Who are your main customers?

In the beginning, I’ve been taking advantage of my friends
in my sailing club; luckily, they need lots of biminis, dodgers, sail covers and wheel covers. I also plan to branch out to local marinas this year.

Describe your shop layout.

I rent a 300-square-foot space within a larger industrial space from a hat factory. They also rent out other areas of their 4,000-sq-ft total space to other designers and fiber artists. I love being in a shared area, except that I don’t have any walls, so layout is challenging. My space consists of an 8 foot-by-20 foot table. I have six posts I can work with to hang things on (zippers, material), but the bulk of my storage is the table itself. The perimeter of the table is made with IKEA bookshelves on their sides, so I have lots of cubbyholes for my tools. Underneath the table is the only storage area I have, and while it’s a big space now, I’m sure I’ll fill it soon. I built the table with a cutout in the middle for my Juki sewing machine. I’m in the process of designing a spot for the Bend Arc I’ll be ordering soon.

What is your work-flow process? How are jobs completed from start to finish?

I go to the boat to pattern, then return to the shop where the pattern is worked up. When the piece is done, I return to the boat to add on things like snaps. I try to get as many patterns done as I can during the season, even if the customer isn’t ready to take delivery yet. At least I will have
patterns to work on in the winter.

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