For June's installment of Denver Made we are excited to introduce you to Hot Butter, a line of handmade bags and accessories based in Lafayette, CO. This line fuses together a passion for sewing and a love of vintage, often rescuing materials that have been cast aside and breathing new life into them. The designer behind this line, Ashley McNeese, recently took the time to answer a few questions for us about her line in preparation for her Denver Made trunk show Friday June 3rd from 7pm-10pm at Fancy Tiger Clothing.
FT: How did you come up with the name for your line?
HB: It's a long story that started in Amsterdam over a plate of savory pancakes dotted with weird butter. Someone already claimed the etsy username, so I went with the next logical and more delicious choice, Hot Butter. Who doesn't love hot butter?
(Ashley McNeese of Hot Butter)
FT: How did you get your start?
HB: My grandma taught me to sew pajama pants when I was in high school. I sewed pillows as gifts one year for Christmas, but the sewing machines I had access to needed a lot of work. I'm a little ashamed to admit that fixing a sewing machine wasn't a priority on my limited teenager budget, and I didn't sew anything for years. I became a stay at home mom when my son was born, and I found myself hand stitching stuffed animals on the couch. My husband bought me a sewing machine as an early Christmas present that year, and I taught myself to make tote bags for gifts for my whole family. There was no stopping me after that! I opened my etsy shop to support my fabric and thrifting habits after my friends and family were well stocked in Hot Butter.
FT: Where do you find your best inspiration for your work?
HB: I'm most inspired by the items I find at thrift stores and estate sales. I was inspired to make my vintage sheet messenger bags after mass collecting pretty vintage linens that I was afraid to cut. My stepmom Kris always has an awesome idea or two when I need one.
FT: What music do you listen to when you work on your product?
HB: I invested in a paid Pandora account, and I love it. My favorite stations are Gogol Bordello, The Doors, Hot Chip, Journey, Johnny Cash, and old school Snoop Dogg.
FT: What would you like people to know about your work/process that isn’t evident when looking at it?
HB: All Hot Butter items are created with love on my kitchen table, which I have taken over to the point that eating on it is a special treat. Almost everything is created with a mixture of new and vintage/reclaimed materials. I take my time to ensure all my work is sturdy and well put together. Everything is made with a smile!
Make sure to stop by Fancy Tiger Clothing Friday June 3rd from 7pm-10pm to check out the work of Ashley McNeese in person. Enjoy a beverage from Great Divide brewery and toast to her new line of messenger bags.