Whether a mitten design is retro inspired or fashion forward, the driving force behind Mitten Sisters is a desire to help the environment. Americans throw away 11 million tons of textiles each year. I try to alleviate some of that waste by marrying practicality and artistry.
By using wool and other natural and blended fibers from sweaters that would otherwise find their way into a landfill, and by focusing on fine craftsmanship techniques while combining textures and patterns in unusual ways, I breathe new life into old discarded materials and create something fresh and vibrant that is also friendly to our planet.
We are born intrinsically creative. What we choose to wear is a way for us to express who we are and our place in the world. This idea was influenced by my years of working in the theatre, where every element is carefully crafted to provide a deeper understanding of our world.
I create wearable art that says something unique about the wearer. Since no two pairs of mittens are exactly the same, the wearer makes a statement about who she is. She might choose a pair that takes her back to childhood, or help celebrate a life passion. I want to make each person feel valuable and unique, that they are contributing to our planet and that their desires, hopes and dreams matter.
How we treat our planet is evidence of the respect we have for each other. By making mittens that speak to the artist in each of us, I am saving the planet two mittens at a time. My art is costuming for the hands.
Denise Duellman lives and works in Irondequoit, NY.