Owl + Mouse Textile Designs creates handcrafted accessories for men, women, babies and the home. Owners Alice Youngblood and Cristin Llewellyn are the local artists behind the company making the eco-friendly organic fabrics located in the historic West Bottoms.
The two entrepreneurs met at the Kansas City Art Institute where they were classically trained in the art of fiber making.
“We were exposed to a lot of different textile techniques, including dying and printing. In 2009, about a year after graduating, we decided to team up and put our art degrees to work. From the beginning, we have made functional, accessory-based items in an effort to make our art accessible to everyone,” Youngblood says.
Their craftsmanship and unique dye process result in extraordinary colors and distinctive surface patterns. All products are designed by hand, dyed, printed and sewn to perfection, creating beautiful and one-of-a-kind textiles.
The process begins with organic fabric that is washed, weighed and dyed with custom mixed colors in small batches using a variety of techniques, including immersion dyeing for solid colors, dip dyeing for a pop of color, shibori dyeing (a Japanese folding and resist dyeing technique) for an organic pattern, gradation dyeing for a slow transition in color and ice dyeing for beautiful patterns and swirls of color. After the dye bath is complete, the fabric is washed, dried and ironed.
Printing requires the transfer of designs onto silk screens. A thickened dye created from a custom color recipe is used to integrate the design into the fabric.
“The dye color bonds with the fibers of the fabric instead of sitting on top like most fabric paints. This gives a completely different look and feel to our fabrics that most other handmade textiles on the market don’t have,” Llewellyn says.
The printed fabric sets for 24 hours and is washed and ironed. The finished yardage is cut by hand, sewn and given a final press before being packaged.
Owl + Mouse offers a wide variety of prints, colors and designs, but if you don’t see what you’re looking for, all you have to do is ask. They can create any color imaginable.
“Because everything is made from scratch, we are able to offer color matching, which is a unique option at our price points,” Youngblood says. “We’ve made several custom colored table linens to match the colors and styles found in our customers’ homes and ties for groomsmen that coordinate with the wedding.”
Shop online to see their latest creations, which include lightweight scarves and shawls, skinny ties, pocket squares, bow ties, baby gift sets and luxurious dinner and cocktail napkins. Their textiles also are sold in Kansas and Missouri boutiques, including Essential Goods, Made in KC, TallulahBelle’s, Bluestem Missouri Crafts, Catapult Creative House, Normal Human, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center and the museum shop at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
Owl + Mouse is located in Kansas City, Missouri at 1600 Genessee Street in Suite 160. Studio hours are by appointment only. Visit OwlAndMouseTextileDesigns.com.