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                    The talented Liesl Gibson from
                     Oliver + S shares her creative
                                 workspace with us

54 | Yarn forward
     SEW Hip
           iesl Gibson started Oliver + S from her
           small apartment in New York City’s East
           Village neighbourhood. But sharing her
           workspace with a husband, toddler and
cat didn’t last. “We knew I needed to get a proper
studio when my husband came home from work
one night and couldn’t find a place to sit,” Liesl
says “All the furniture and floors were covered
with fabric and pattern-making tools.”
    a solution presented itself at just the right
moment. a painter friend had taken a studio only
two blocks from Liesl’s apartment and was looking
for someone to share the space. Liesl quickly moved
Oliver + S out of the apartment and into its first
home. “I loved having a separate studio space so
close to home,” Liesl says. “I was able to leave the
apartment, walk my daughter to her pre-school, which
was also in the neighbourhood, and arrive at work –
all within 15 minutes.”
    For the first few months in the new space,
everything went well. But misfortune promptly
paid a call. Pipes for the building’s heating system
ran through the
studio and one night     “My floor used to be a book bindery.
the boiler pressure      I like that the building has always
exceeded its capacity,
bursting a pipe and
                         been home to needle and thread.”
spewing water through
the room. “We were fortunate,” Liesl recounts. “My
studio mate lost a few of her drawings, but Oliver + S                           Liesl Gibson
didn’t lose any inventory. Sewing patterns and water                           welcomes us in
don’t mix, so we decided to move.”
    Last September, Liesl found a new studio in a
recently renovated Brooklyn building. “I knew as
soon as I saw it that this was the place for me,” Liesl
recounts. “The landlord did a great job of repurposing
this old factory. He refinished the original wood
floors, polished the exposed brick walls and put in
new fixtures. The space I chose is on the top floor of
one of the tallest buildings in the area, and I have
views north across the city.”
    The high ceilings and two walls of six-foot-tall
windows give the space plenty of light and an airy
feel, making it seem larger than its 350 square feet.
“My floor used to be home to a book bindery,” Liesl
says. “Shortly after I moved in, I started noticing
sewing needles in the crevasses between the floor
boards. I’m not much of a believer in karma, but I like
the idea that the building has always been home to
people working with needle and thread.”
    She hasn’t done much to adorn this former
industrial space. “It’s definitely a working studio,”
comments Liesl. “I wanted the space to be simple
and clean, without a lot of decoration. When I’m
designing, I strongly prefer a neutral space without a
lot of colour, so I’ve kept almost everything white. But
I do really love working next to those big windows,
                                                           Gorgeous eclectic
looking out over industrial Brooklyn, and watching
                                                           crockery and
the changing light of the day.”                            handmade teabags

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 Feature | InSIdE StudIO

    a                          b                             C

    G                                                        H
                                    “It’s definitely a
                                    working studio.
                                      I wanted the
                                       space to be
                                   simple and clean,
                                     without a lot of
                                     decoration, so
                                    I’ve kept almost
                                   everything white.”


                           L                                 N

56 | SEW Hip
                             Feature | InSIdE StudIO

D           F


        J                                            K

                inside the studio
                A   • Part of the fabric stash
                b   • Handmade toys
                c   • Samples from the Oliver + S collection
                d   • Fabric birds perch above the table
                e   • Tools of the trade
                f   • Candy-coloured vintage threads
                g   • A few of the many jars of buttons
                h   • Vintage notions used for inspiration
                i   • Kid-sized Mary Janes for shoots
                j   • Liesl’s daughter’s tiny tea set
                k   • Inspiring neutral-coloured prints
                L   • Pencils arranged by colour
                M   • Threads in a spring palette
                N   • Books from the studio’s library
O               O   • A portion of the inspiration wall
                P   • Threads kept in old typesetter’s cases

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