Woven Grey makes functional, timeless storage baskets from American-grown cotton. To make them, Oakland designer and sewer Kathleen Heafey pairs her passion for textiles and modern design. The baskets are breezy and clean, bringing a sense of effortless organization into a home. Their practicality is a bonus, not just for customers but for Kathleen herself, who admits she’s not the most organized person! We asked her to share a bit about her inspiration, journey and process.
Tell us about the inspiration for your business. How did you start working with textiles?
I have been a textile junkie forever. My fabric stash is endless. I started sewing when I took a summer school class in 5th grade. We did not have a sewing machine but I learned the basics. After that, I started embroidering on my clothes (ALL my clothes). I really learned sewing once I was in High School and my mom bought me a used school machine for $50 which I still have. A few years ago, I started taking upholstery classes which I loved, but it’s really time consuming. I picked up the technique for sewing baskets during that time and that really stuck.
Why organizers? Are you an especially organized person? What are some of the most unique ways in which people use your products?
I hate to admit it, but I am NOT that organized, although I always aspire to be! That’s the beauty of my baskets, they help keep everything tidy and therefore you appear to be organized. When things are tidy, I feel less stressed. I love the first person who sent me a picture of their basket in the bathroom holding all their toilet paper. Brilliant!
“My Big Sur line uses the rich black rope, adding a real sense of drama to the pieces. The same way the Big Sur coastline suddenly opens up along the highway and kind of renders you speechless. ”
What’s your process like?
Each piece is different. Some include wrapping cord and doing some pretty time consuming finishing techniques. All include lots of sewing.
Your collections are inspired by/named for places in California, how do you attach a place to a design?
California is such an inspiring place to live. Each new line of baskets has a certain overall feel. For example, my Big Sur line uses the rich black rope, adding a real sense of drama to the pieces. The same way the Big Sur coastline suddenly opens up along the highway and kind of renders you speechless.
You worked as a graphic designer for many years, how does that work influence what you do now?
PRECISION! That’s the hallmark of what a graphic designer has to pay attention to. There are lots of approaches to this technique of making baskets. Some are soft and loose but I like everything to be precise and have very structured form.
What are your goals for the next few years?
Keep evolving. The designs evolve and the business evolves. That keeps everything fresh. I also want to keep developing my relationships with my clients. They offer so much information and ideas. Listening equals learning.