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Get to Know... Heather Holiday

11 . 20 . 2017

Artist Heather Holiday is a first time artist at the One of a Kind Show. She will be bringing baby booties and a selection of boots and bags, as well as beautiful custom-boot gift boxes. 


One of a Kind:  Tell us more about your work.

Heather:  In a world of mass production, mass consumption, and reckless disposability, we seek something more enduring and more personal in what we make. And so we invest more than just a bit of ourselves in every piece we stamp with the Mason Dixon logo. We meticulously shape each design through countless cycles of design-prototype-refine. And we individually craft every shoe and bag that goes out our doors.   

One of a Kind:  How did you get started?

Heather:  In some ways, I started Mason Dixon simply because I love making things. That's not the whole story, but it's a good place to start, because it's such a big part of what drives me every single day. I love art and creativity, but even more, I love the deeply authentic connection that comes from shaping raw materials into something that’s both useful and beautiful.  I first discovered that in my early 20s, when my husband’s cousin Allie taught me how to sew one snowy afternoon. I was hooked. A few months later, I started an Etsy shop called Barely Measured, making cloth handbags, accessories and custom projects as a side hustle. I even turned a woman’s bridal gown into clutches for her five daughters. I nearly passed out with anxiety as I made the first few cuts into her gown.  Several years later, I had the unique opportunity to work as an upholsterer at a high-end custom furniture maker. I’d never upholstered in my life, but I got to learn from incredibly talented people, master practitioners of hand-skills fading in the face of cheaper and faster factory-based assembly-line mass production. They taught me how to hand tie springs, how to use horse hair to stuff the tufted backs just so, how to work with leather. Most importantly, they helped me to discover how much I loved the grit and sweat and thought that goes into that kind of making. It had a certain raw intensity and challenged me in a way that fabric sewing didn’t.  A year later, I made my first pair of leather baby booties. I already had a gorgeous piece of ostrich leather I’d bought years earlier and hoarded (carefully! gently!) as a prized piece in my sewing room, waiting for just the right project, and on a bit of a whim, I decided one day to make a pair of shoes for my eight-month-old daughter, Charlotte.  So I let Charlotte nap on our bed and very quietly measured her feet while she slept. I sat down with my sewing machine, that piece of leather, and YouTube (yes, thank you, YouTube!) and started shaping that piece of leather into my first pair of handmade shoes. I nearly broke my little home sewing machine in the process, but Charlotte woke up to new booties. Those first booties served as inspiration for Mason Dixon's Eyre booties.  I had really enjoyed the project, so I started researching simple shoes for kids and making prototypes. Charlotte wore hers everywhere and I found myself striking up conversations and hawking them to moms at the playground and friends everywhere, anyone who was willing to let their kids run crazy in them and share their feedback. And in 2015, after two years of telling people I’d start selling shoes “soon,” I finally started Mason Dixon, selling the Eyre baby booties and the Mini-Frank boots for kids. Ten months later I launched our adult boots and bags.

One of a Kind:  Who inspires you?

Heather:  Connecting with others inspires me. I'm also inspired by nature, music and travel.

One of a Kind:  If you weren't an artist, what would you be?

Heather: I would love to own a little flower shop one day or have a small flower farm.

See Heather Holiday's work up close and meet her in person in December!