Founder Jennifer Jansen, originally from Portland, Oregon, crossed paths with her now husband Hugo while working on a volunteer restoration project in the south of France in the summer of 2012. A year later, they were married on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. She packed up her life in the Pacific Northwest and began the process of making a new life in the northern part of The Netherlands.
Starting with a clean slate allowed her the time and space to daydream about how to give shape to her new life. She found her new hometown interesting and exciting, but missed her family and friends and longed for connection with others; especially connection through a shared passion. Many of her formative years were spent hanging around the cutting table in her mother’s quilt shop, along with her grandmother, sisters and niece. She has very fond memories of these days, and her needlework practice helps her to feel connected to her family and her history.
Handcraeft was born of a yearning to foster connection with others through a love of stitching.
The evolution of an idea
Handcraeft started as a blog, and in an effort to connect with others locally, Jennifer first sought to find other creative folks in her new town and country who had an interesting story to tell. She wanted to know about how their own creative practice was rooted in personal and family history, how their practice fostered connection and community, and how their practice made a traditional craft relevant to modern craftspeople, in part to ensure the survival of old traditions through generations to come. You can still read those early stories in the shop journal.
Over time, Jennifer felt the urge to focus more specifically on developing her own stitching practice, and how she could foster community through her practice and actively share this passion and engage with others. Although she hasn’t met too many people in her town who share her passion for stitching, she has met many others via social media and through her shop. These connections, even though many of them are virtual, have enriched her own life and practice. During a time in our world filled with so many challenges and barriers keeping us all apart, these connections have served as a vital way to commune with others, stay grounded and express support.
The future studio
Living the dream
Today, Handcraeft is a small, family-run business based in Jennifer’s home studio. Soon she and Hugo will rebuild an old shed in her garden into a studio and workspace. Here Jennifer will operate the shop, work on her own stitching projects, and hopes to eventually host needlework and natural dyeing workshops when it’s safe again to do so.
It’s a dream come true to have the luxury of space and time to devote to her passion and nurture her business. Jennifer looks forward to finding new and wonderful ways to connect with her fellow stitchers.
Handcraeft is a small, family-run business based in Groningen, a city in the north of The Netherlands, Handcraeft consists of an online shop, blog, and virtual community of fellow stitchers and textile lovers. Jennifer runs the shop along with a little help from her husband and young daughter, who also enjoys stitching. 🖤