So, hi! I’m Shannon from Sweet Pepita. I sew kids’ t-shirts and hats from organic cotton and recycled fabrics. Pepita is one of my baby girl’s many names. For real. My husband and I couldn’t choose just one. And if it weren’t for the birth of my daughter, I’d probably still have a jewelry studio in my house instead of a sewing machine parked in the dining room. So it was only fitting, I think, to name my business after her.
I think my Sir Isaac Newton realization of the importance of art came in the kitchen as a child. Unable (or unwilling) to control my impulses, I grabbed my mama’s carved wooden bunny from off the windowsill. It was 6 or 7” tall, maybe 3” thick, and deceivingly light. Its color was a nearly perfect match to our cupboards, a kind of sickly yellow-brown. With a healthy pink eraser, I removed bunny’s penciled-in eyes, and held bunny, now a smooth, monochromatic woodland creature in my hands.
My mom was crazy mad.
“No, No, No. No. You do not do that. Why did you do that?” She grabbed the pencil and scribbled bunny’s eyes right on back. “That’s how the artist wanted it.”
Except now it is so obviously Mom’s scribble.
Nearly twenty years later, I graduated college with a degree in Spanish. While working towards that degree, I studied jewelry fabrication and design at MICA and began working for Barbie Levy, a jeweler based in Owings Mills, MD. From Barbie I learned so much about jewelry production and the craft world.
A friend taught me how to knit. I baked vegan cakes. A lot of vegan cakes. I did a little bit of everything. And then came Pepita. After the colic subsided I drew design after design for a line of infant clothing I just couldn’t get out of my brain. I knew I wanted to create a green product. And it had to be super-cool and unique. Finally, in late August of last year, my ideas were realized in fabric.
I sew because my mom taught me how to when I was still small. And I think it’s in my blood. Working with my hands has always been the most satisfying way to make a living. I can feel that I’m doing something and I can see my style and my touch in what I do. I know that with love and skill and care, our craft and our art is our history. And that’s how I want it.