Jul 28, 2014
Partly Cloudy

Claire Cohen Lives, Breathes and Sews Montclair

Montclair Made Etsy merchant converts old Montclair Film Festival banners into merchandise. She's also really good at making plarn.

Claire Cohen Lives, Breathes and Sews Montclair Claire Cohen Lives, Breathes and Sews Montclair Claire Cohen Lives, Breathes and Sews Montclair Claire Cohen Lives, Breathes and Sews Montclair
Claire Cohen toggles seamlessly between brick and mortar and online retail. The artist/upcycler behind Montclair Made works mostly with vintage textiles and always thinks twice before tossing things in the trash. And thanks to her handiwork, you can own a piece of Montclair Film Festival history. 

Patch checked in with Cohen — who will be familiar to fans of her old Copabanana stores — after one of her Montclair ransom note pouches caught our attention (see photos).

1. How did you get started?

Combining the skills I learned as a weaving and textile design major at Rochester Institute of Technology with my desire to repurpose familiar items like cardboard packaging, grocery bags, vintage fabric, and sewing patterns, my products fuse nostalgia and sustainability in an effort to green our lives in a creative and colorful way.

2. What do you look to for inspiration?

The material usually inspires me. I often hesitate before putting something in the garbage or recycling bin and contemplate what I can upcycle it into. I tend to work in batches so I normally design items that can be replicated but I also do a lot of custom work, for example, the ransom notes pouches can be customized to spell any name or town you like!

3. How are you involved with the upcoming Montclair Film Festival (April 28-May 4)?

I make merchandise from the Montclair Film Festival banners that hang around town promoting the festival. I started with the 2012 banners and now I'm making products with the 2013 banners, including tote bags, wine bottle totes, change purses, and snack bags. They sell them in their office and at events. You can find me weekly walking the block from my apartment to their office with bags and then back again with more banners!

It is an aspect of my business that I am very interested in expanding with other companies that may have leftover banners.

4. What's hot right now on your Etsy shop?

At this time of the year, my paper heart garlands are most popular for Valentine's Day. I sell them wholesale to shops around the country through my Etsy shop. 
I have also taught folks how to make plarn (plastic yarn) and crochet with it, and that's always fun! 

5. Where else can we find your stuff?

I also have a shoppe on Scoutmob:  scoutmob.com/new-york/montclair-made
My Facebook page features new and custom items:  www.facebook.com/MontclairMade
I love to pin on Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/montclairmade/
I enjoy Instagram:  instagram.com/montclairmade
I've been on Flickr since 2008:  www.flickr.com/photos/copabananas/

Locally, my products are available at Verdigreen Home on Glenridge Avenue and in Upper Montclair at  Sweet Home Montclair. I participated in the Montclair Pop-Up Shop on Walnut Street during the holidays.

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