Where Women Create: The Creative Connection of Kathleen Lewis’ Designs

Written by Brenda Seright Williams

Photography by Audrey Goforth

A24B6043Functional and fun, peaceful and whimsical…these words describe the Kenilworth studio of Kathleen Lewis. As founder of her own design company, Kathleen couldn’t be more comfortable in her own space. Taught the importance of quality craftsmanship by her mother, who was a skilled tailor, traditional sewing skills are the basis for everything Kathleen creates. From that foundation she goes wherever she feels the creative urge. “I stay open to the magical messages from the source,” she says. “They come from anything, everywhere, all the time.”

Kathleen began creating as a child on her mother’s sewing machine. It was a release of energy that she craved and still finds necessary. Her hand-dyed pieces, clothing, and accessories are all the result of a spark that begins within. When Kathleen feels she has the design mostly figured out, she turns on some music (which she calls “very important”) and gets in her zone.

“When I look at the fabrics,” Kathleen says, “I see clothing, purses, hats, and scarves. I love taking a piece of fabric and changing it into something totally different.”

A24B5973Kathleen’s upstairs studio is filled with fabrics and tools and one has the sense that there is a lot going on there. From the line-up of whimsical owls to carefully stitched bags, one-of-a-kind hats, and beautiful hand-dyed clothing, Kathleen’s wheels are continually turning. “I have always created with whatever I had at the time…space, materials, situations, needs, and wants.”

Her current studio was built by her husband in close proximity to their home and is exactly what Kathleen wanted. She is surrounded by nature and it is the perfect place to inspire creativity.

“When we create, we emit positive energy into our surroundings and people are attracted to it. It amazes me how I attract a different type of person now than I did earlier in my life.”

A24B5982Kathleen’s fun creations such as owls, hats, and bags can be found at Woolworth Walk in downtown Asheville.
As Kathleen explains, hers was not an overnight business. She is now reaping the rewards of years of dedication and reputation-building. She began SewLink 20 years ago with the help of a consultant and landed some long-term projects with large companies which she managed by outsourcing. A few years later, they lost many of these contracts to overseas workers. It was a big blow, but Kathleen filled the void by working with an interior decorator and, eventually, branching off into her own design business. While still involved with SewLink, Kathleen also began working with local artists who wanted to supplement their income. She began creating hats and purses for local weavers and one-of-a-kind garments for dye artists.

“I couldn’t bear to throw them out,” she says, “because I knew something could be made from them.” In Kathleen’s present creative space, these “leftovers” have come to life. With the “Crimson Collection” by Singh Kaur and Kim Robertson playing in the background, Kathleen continues to stitch together her dreams in what she calls “my perfect setting.”

A24B6013Find out more about Kathleen and her work at kathleenlewisdesigns.com or call 828.350.7197.

Kathleen eventually found herself in a studio filled with leftovers from interior jobs.
“I couldn’t bear to throw them out,” she says, “because I knew something could be made from them.” In Kathleen’s present creative space, these “leftovers” have come to life. With the “Crimson Collection” by Singh Kaur and Kim Robertson playing in the background, Kathleen continues to stitch together her dreams in what she calls “my perfect setting.”

Find out more about Kathleen and her work at kathleenlewisdesigns.com or call 828.350.7197.

Sophie Magazine Original Publishing