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3 weeks ago

Alabama Maker thimbletreestudio stitches a mother-daughter connection

thimbletreestudio (Homewood and Brevard, North Carolina)

The Makers: Kyle Wick and Camille Webb

When Kyle Wick sits at her sewing machine in Homewood she imagines her daughter Camille Webb is doing the same thing hundreds of miles away.

It’s a connection that goes beyond mother-daughter. The two are business partners in thimbletreestudio, producing sewn and knitted goods using everything from repurposed fabrics to leather.

Although they started the dually located business four years ago, the pattern was cut long before that.

“Camille, our oldest daughter, and I have always loved to create. We love the process of creating, of making. We love working with our hands,” Wick said. “For years we would make things and give them to family and friends – year after year until family and friends were kind of saturated. We knew it was time to expand our audience.”

By this time, Webb was living in Colorado while Wick was in Alabama. They determined collaboration would be easy online through an Etsy shop.

But setting up an Etsy page meant they needed a name for their business.

Because they love working with their hands and sewing, “thimble” made sense as part of the name. Their love for nature brought “tree” into the mix and their artistic expression comes in with “studio.”

Thus, thimbletreestudio was born.

They worked with a UAB art student to design a logo and the business was up and running.

They started selling decorative and special occasion banners they would sew, but it wasn’t long before they wanted to branch out into other things.

Wick and Webb agreed if they were going to take it to another level they needed to set some ground rules. They agreed that thimbletreestudio would be all about joy, practicality and responsibility.

Joy?

“We must always be happy while we’re working,” Wick explained. “That way those positive feelings go into our products and out to our customers. And we continue to enjoy making.”

Practicality?

“We love pretty things, we love attractive things, we love color, we love texture and we love to make,” Wick said. “But we also love things with purpose.”

That’s why thimbletreestudio’s products have a function. They make aprons, totes, potholders, blanket throws, baby blanket scarves, leather clutches, purses, portfolios and more.

Responsibility means they can repurpose fabrics such as old tablecloths, sheets, shirts, ties and the like to make new creations. They also use scraps for potholders, bags for the business and anything else to avoid throwing anything away.

The connection through thimbletree studio has always been about more than business.

“When Camille moved out of state, it was a way for us to communicate in a different way and work together,” Wick said.

Webb agreed she loves having the link to her mother.

“Having thimbletreestudio as a part of my life is a great way to remain creative and work toward a fulfilling goal of making products and constantly growing our brand,” Webb said. “It’s also a wonderful excuse to keep in regular contact with my mom, and to be able to share this love of creating and the drive to succeed and grow.”

Wick said they have business meetings over the phone and get together for markets and shows.

Branching out into markets has changed things.

“We always thought we liked the anonymity of Etsy,” Wick said. “But over time, I realized we were missing out on something. We want feedback. We want other people to touch and tell us and share.”

When they set up and sold at their first farmers market, Wick said it “flipped a switch.”

“To be able to connect with the public, connect with other vendors and makers and farmers and artists has changed everything,” she said. “We both welcome critique, suggestions.”

Spending time together and connecting with the public are among the things Webb loves about markets as well.

“There’s such great energy at markets and festivals,” she said. “We get to talk with people we’ve never met before, and we also get to catch up with fellow artists, friends and regular customers. It’s my favorite when my mom and I can both be at an event because we get to experience this process together and really enjoy the customer aspect of having a business.”

You can find thimbletreestudio at the Market at Pepper PlaceMoss Rock FestivalWest Homewood Farmer’s MarketCahabazaarHandmade Art Show and others. Webb is also working to add other shows outside of Alabama.

“Thimbletreestudio has grown as a business each year since it’s been created,” Webb said. “That’s definitely a trend we want to keep up. We’re adding new events each year, and we’re expanding outside of Alabama for shows. We’re having a lot of fun, so as long as we’re enjoying the creative process, we will continue to grow thimbletreestudio.”

That creative process is something Wick picked up watching her own mother and grandmother sew.

“I come from a background of very talented seamstresses,” she said. “I was not taught by them, but I admired their work. I’ve always loved fabric – touching it, looking at it, pairing it.”

It wasn’t until her daughters gave her a gift several years ago that Wick decided to start sewing.

Although she’s obsessed with aprons today, Wick never wore one until her daughters gave her one as a gift.

“What I realized when I wore it was that I was always smiling,” she said. “It didn’t matter what I was doing, I was happy.”

Wick used that apron to create a pattern and started making aprons to give to family and friends.

“It had to happen because aprons could make others happy, too,” she said.

That original apron still hangs in her studio as inspiration.

While Wick’s work uses bright colors and patterns, her daughter’s work is different.

“Camille has an amazing aesthetic,” Wick said. “(Her work) is very clean and … unfussy.”

One area Webb has grown is working with leather to create clutches, purses, portfolios, computer bags and other items.

“I’ve always been drawn to leatherworks, from the feel, smell and the wide variations in leathers,” she said. “I like that leather is so durable, and with wear and regular use, it evolves beautifully.”

Wick said more and more people bring them personal items such as old sheets, tablecloths or blankets and ask thimbletreestudio to create something new out of them.

Webb loves where the work has brought them.

“Thimbletreestudio allows us to share our passion for creating handmade items with others who we probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise,” she said. “It also keeps us in check when we have a new idea about way to create a product, or to create new products altogether; we have to evaluate whether this is a productive way of growing our business and to take into consideration what the reaction will be from our customers.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

7 mins ago

Auburn Police officer shot in the line of duty

An Auburn Police Department officer was shot in the line of duty Friday evening.

Sources reportedly confirmed the shooting to WVTM. The condition of the officer was not immediately known.

The shooting occurred at the Dollar General near Niffer’s Place off of Opelika Road.

WSFA was on the scene live in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, which resulted in a massive police presence. The suspect is believed to still be at-large, with a “manhunt” underway.

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This comes after Birmingham Police Department Sgt. Wytasha Carter and Mobile Police Department Officer Sean Tuder were shot and killed in the line of duty in recent weeks.

This is breaking news and may be updated.

Update 8:00 p.m.:

WSFA posted a new live stream.

Update 8:15 p.m.:

Police administrators told reporters the incident occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. as the officer pulled the suspect’s vehicle over responding to an armed robbery call. The officer was talking and alert when he left the scene. More on his condition was not released by law enforcement on the scene. The officer was shot “multiple” times.

The suspect is Christopher James Wallace. He is 38 years old. A female was in the vehicle with Wallace at the time of the shooting. Her name is not being released at this time.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Del Marsh on Trump declaration: ‘It is an emergency — It is about protecting this country’

Alabama Senate leader Del Marsh (R-Anniston) voiced his support for President Donald Trump’s latest action on border security while blaming Democrats for their inability to fix the long-standing issue.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, Marsh said he supports Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency along the Mexican border.

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Marsh explained that the urgency of the threat made it necessary.

“It is an emergency,” Marsh stated. “It is about protecting this country. That’s where the threat is. The threat is the southern border. All our borders should be secure. But the threat right now is the southern border. No one can deny that.”

When asked where border security should rank among the country’s priorities, Marsh said border security should be number one.

And he expressed frustration at how policy-makers have approached the issue.

“I cannot for the life of me understand how people in Congress can put people who are not citizens of this country above our citizens’ welfare, and that’s what I see happening,” he remarked.

He cited a single reason why, in his mind, the issue of border security has gone on for so long without resolution.

“Politics,” Marsh declared.

Specifically, he believes Democrats view illegal immigration as providing a pool of potential new voters and that has threatened national security.

“They have put that above the safety of the citizens of this country,” he said. “Democrats are basically saying, ‘Don’t worry about a process. Come on! We’re your buddies!’”

Marsh also pointed out the fact that he has already filed a bill in the Alabama legislature to allow Alabamians to help build the wall.

The legislation would provide taxpayers the option of checking a box on their tax returns should they want to donate to We Build the Wall, Inc.

Marsh has already donated to the fund himself.

“It’s about sending a message to this president, President Trump, that we support him and by sending these dollars to build the wall, showing our support for him,” he explained. “I believe it and I think the people of Alabama believe that security is the most important thing, the most important issue at this point in time. We want to support the wall, and we want to see the wall built.”

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

1 hour ago

Alabama Supreme Court reinstates Alabama Memorial Preservation Act

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Friday that the Alabama Supreme Court has granted the state’s motion to stay a recent “[erroneous]” Jefferson County Circuit Court judgment that declared the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017 to be unconstitutional.

This means the law, which prohibits the removal and alteration of monuments more than 40 years old on public property, will still be in effect while the state appeals the decision. Marshall requested the stay three weeks ago.

“I am pleased that the Alabama Supreme Court has granted the State’s motion to stay the Circuit Court’s ruling,” the attorney general said in a statement. “We think that U.S. Supreme Court precedent clearly demonstrates that the Circuit Court erred in striking down the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. Thus, we asked the Alabama Supreme Court to preserve the status quo regarding the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Linn Park until the Court rules on our appeal.”

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It was reported that the City of Birmingham was considering removing the monument at the center of the controversy after the law was struck down. The Sailors Monument has been covered by a large black wall since August 2017, near the end of former Mayor William Bell’s tenure.

“The Supreme Court’s stay allows the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act to remain in effect until the Supreme Court resolves this appeal over the Act’s constitutionality. We continue to hold that the Circuit Court erred when it ruled that the U.S. Constitution grants cities free speech rights that they can enforce against the State,” Marshall added. “For more than a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has held just the opposite, recognizing that ‘a political subdivision, created by the state for the better ordering of government, has no privileges or immunities under the federal constitution which it may invoke in opposition to the will of its creator.’ We look forward to presenting these arguments to the Alabama Supreme Court.”

The Supreme Court’s order Friday also stayed the accrual of any financial penalties under the law.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

David Cole departs Alabama Farmers Federation for BCA

The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is adding another star to its governmental affairs team.

Shortly after breaking BCA’s hiring of Molly Cagle from Manufacture Alabama, sources confirmed to Yellowhammer News that Alabama Farmers Federation Director of State Affairs David Cole is coming on board at the same time.

Cole, like Cagle, is joining BCA’s governmental affairs staff effective February 28, just in time for the March 5 start of the state legislative session. Most recently, Cole spearheaded the federation’s lobbying efforts in the Alabama House of Representatives.

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Sources confirmed to Yellowhammer News Friday that federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan sent out an email announcing Cole’s departure and thanking him for his commitment to Alabama agriculture — the state’s biggest industry. Pinyan also outlined how the staff would be moved around in response to Cole leaving.

Director of External Affairs Matthew Durdin – and his staff members, Director of Agricultural Legislation Preston Roberts and administrative assistant Jessica Mims – will now be involved in some state governmental affairs work. Former Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman, who has been working as a political consultant for the federation, will now add governmental affairs work on contract.

An official announcement with details of the federation’s staff changes is expected to be released in the coming week.

Update, 6:15 p.m.:

BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt announced the two major additions in an internal email sent out to the business council’s leadership Friday evening. Britt took the reigns of BCA January 2. Cagle and Cole are her first hires.

The email detailed that Cole is being named senior vice president of governmental affairs and Cagle vice president of governmental affairs.

“These two additions to our team position the BCA to serve our members and advocate effectively on behalf of the business community,” Britt wrote.

Mark Colson, who most recently filled in as BCA’s interim president after serving as chief of staff and senior vice president for governmental affairs, will continue to serve the organization in his new role as senior advisor through the transition period.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

Molly Cagle joining BCA from Manufacture Alabama

One of Alabama’s rising stars in the governmental affairs world is on the move.

Sources confirmed to Yellowhammer News Friday that Manufacture Alabama (MA) Director of External Affairs Molly Cagle has accepted a governmental affairs position with the Business Council of Alabama (BCA). While an exact title has yet to be released, Cagle is expected to bolster BCA’s legislative affairs team.

The hire marks the first in BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt’s tenure. She was hired by the organization’s executive committee in December and took office January 2.

Cagle’s last day at MA is February 20, according to an email from her to the association’s membership obtained by Yellowhammer News.

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“My time at Manufacture Alabama over the last four and a half years has been incredibly rewarding. The friendships, lessons, and advice are things that I cherish and will take with me throughout my career,” she wrote.

Cagle comes to BCA with an impressive track record in legislative work, including past service as the Senate Liaison for Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh. She received her bachelor’s in Political Science, with a minor in Broadcast Journalism, from Troy University.

Named to Yellowhammer Multimedia’s “Power and Influence: Who’s Next?” list for 2018, Cagle will be a major addition to BCA as the organization refocuses on its pro-jobs mission of “making a sweet home for business” in Alabama.

Cagle’s email noted, “As I prepare to take on my new role, I want to assure everyone that the staff at Manufacture Alabama has taken the steps to make my departure as seamless as possible. A special thank you to George Clark for his guidance and support not only over the last several years but also throughout this process.”

The state legislative session begins March 5.

As of Friday at 2:30 p.m., BCA had taken down its online staff directory. An official announcement of the hire is expected in the coming days.

Update, 6:15 p.m.:

Cagle is being named BCA’s vice president of governmental affairs.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn