American Made Since 2011

Mandy Blankenship

Greenville, South Carolina
Modern American quilts, equally geometric and graphic, handmade with sustainable fabrics and sashiko thread.

Tell us about your business.

Shop-Keep is the result of my search for artistic community. After years in a nearby town with no creative comrades, my husband and I moved to Greenville, SC. My experiments in functional textile art meandered back to quilting–a discipline I learned at age 11, and practiced intermittently in my post-college days. Using a stream-of-consciousness technique, Japanese sashiko thread, castoff Cone Mills denim from studio mates Billiam Jeans, and other recycled fabrics, the quilts developed into something abstract and graphic, much like the modern art I love.

What makes your business stand out?

Shop-Keep is an experiment in making practical fine art. I love beautiful things, but I also love useful things. Purely decorative objects seem like a missed opportunity. A quilt that you only hang on the wall is as useful as fine china that stays in the cupboard. I encourage people to USE the quilts I make–to snuggle them, cozy up near the fireplace with a book and some coffee, and send me pictures as they change over time. Quilts are full of story because of the garments deconstructed to make them, or the loving hands that sewed their layers. And while many of the fabrics I use are salvaged and repurposed, much of the story these quilts inherit will come from the people who use them.

What's the best business advice you've received?

Be faithful with little. Consistently produce good content over a long period of time. It's easy to start something and quit, but it's rare to begin the thing and keep doing it.

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    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winner and Audience Choice Winner announced.

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