Jane Scott Hodges is in the business of storytelling. Not in the traditional sense as, say, a novelist or songwriter might be, but through Leontine Linens, her line of bespoke handcrafted table, bed, and bath goods that are intended to be passed down through generations. As she says, “every piece of linen tells a story.”
The tale of how Hodges founded her business began 20 years ago, when she was engaged to be married. While visiting her parents in Lexington, Kentucky, she discovered her great-grandmother’s monogrammed sheets, handkerchiefs, and doilies. “I started daydreaming about what my own monogram would look like,” she recalls, and with it the stories her new life would bring.
But she couldn’t find pieces with a modern sensibility -- bold colors, oversize scale -- so she set out to create some, thinking, If I’m looking for them, perhaps others are too. She came across the Eleanor Beard Studio in Hardinsburg, Kentucky, which had been making linens since the early 20th century, and began working with its artisans to produce her own line.
For clients, Hodges begins the process with a meeting. “Every item we sew requires a conversation,” she says of her custom approach. Even in this digital age, there are no digitized designs, no factory assembly lines, no online ordering. Each monogram is drawn by hand and embroidered or appliquéd by skilled seamstresses. To Hodges, it makes sense to take such care: Her wares are personal and meant to be touched. “We wake up every day in a bed, dry off with a towel after a shower, use napkins and tablecloths at meals,” she says. “Linens are some of our most intimate objects; they should be special.”