I ran across Jenna Robertson’s collage art made from recycled sweaters at Albina Press SE and had to get my hands on one of her squid collages. I took the opportunity to talk to her a bit about her work as I was picking up my new piece from her beautiful, charming Portland bungalow.
Jenna was suffering from teacher burn-out and was itching to do something with her hands when her friend Cathy Pitters (of Crafty Wonderland) introduced her into the world of craft fairs. Her Woollie Originals stuffed creatures, made from recycled sweaters were a big success and she hasn’t looked back since. She’s moved onto apparel, accessories and art.
Jenna’s collages are made from 100% recycled sweaters. Her menagerie of animals; marine life, deer, birds, and rabbits, are machine stitched together into whimsical, fuzzy paintings, stretched around frames or panels like a canvas. Her love of thrift shopping and bargain hunting always keeps her on the lookout for new sources of sweaters. She can often be found braving the Goodwill Outlet in Milkwaukie, where unwanted thrift goods from all over Portland are given one last chance at a new life. We discussed her strategies for coping with odors, the necessity of gloves, and why NOT to bring your baby there.
Jenna’s work is a family affair. Her husband builds the frames, her mother-in-law Lana Robertson sews the hats before Jenna adds her signature collage elements and her friend Sara Bergman sews her designs and material finds into perfectly tailored garments. Jenna attends various craft fairs around the U.S. and takes part in annual fund-raising craft fairs for her kid’s schools.
You can find Jenna’s collage art at: Pearl Gallery, Flora, Crafty Wonderland, Noun.
Her Apparel hats and arm warmers at: Mabel and Zora, Crafty Wonderland, MagBig, Frock.
and her Hats and arm warmers: New Seasons.
Visit Jenna’s website, WoolieOriginals.com for more info.