March 9, 2011

Meet & Greet: StressTheSeams

Dominique uses her art as a way to find things that she loves, express her inner thoughts, and realizes her dreams. Most of her work comes from flashes of ideas or dreams, so her art can be very eclectic.

Dominique's shop is full of her new nostalgic plate jewelry, steampunk accessories, custom clothing, and edgy gifts.
Drama Pieced License Plate Bracelet
I asked Dominique a few questions about herself and her business, here is what she had to say:

Tell us a little about yourself and what you sell.
StressTheSeams is a husband and wife team. We like to say that we specialize in Recycled and Repurposed handmade art, but really that doesn't begin to describe what we do. Really, Jake and I suffer from what we like to call Artistic ADD, so we do a little of a lot of things. Our shop and art really got into full swing when we both got disgusted at how much was thrown away as "garbage" when it just needed a second chance to be beautiful and useful. So I started taking old garments and unwanted textiles to create bags, quilts, and new garments while Jake tends to utilize old gears, tools, and metal bits to make sculptures. Somewhere along the way we decided that license plates were the metal version of my pretty discarded fabric prints and that they could be patchworked just like the fabrics! So he turned me into Rosie the Riveter and I taught him the basics of quilting composition and we ended up with StressTheSeams and our unique metal fabric creations designed and created by both of us!

New Mexico Front Porch Style Birdhouse 
Why did you decide to work with upcycled/recycled/repurposed/vintage materials?
We both grew up in the shadows of the Appalachian mountains, Jake in North Georgia and myself in Gatlinburg. Neither of these areas are exactly known for their wealth but instead that resourcefulness you can only learn through working with what you have. Jake's parents have always had an appreciation for vintage and reusing what you've got while I was regularly exposed to found art by my public school art teacher grandmother who can do amazing things with toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, and a little homemade paste. Jake grew up to be a welder, so metal is natural to him, while I became a public school teacher myself. But neither career path allowed for the creativity we both had. So we both played in a lot of mediums, but eventually we both found the most joy in surprising others by making something beautiful out of things that weren't. There is no greater joy than having someone fall in love with the beauty of a piece then realizing what it is made out of, like discarded car parts, unloved merchandise packaging, worn out clothing, and our personal favorite.... printed metal labels made behind jail walls found on destroyed vehicles after enduring years of wear and abuse-- other wise known as license plates! :)

Orange Triangle License Plate Inlay Belt Buckle
What is your favorite thing about running your etsy shop?
I love my Etsy shop as it adds so much freedom to our art. We do a pop up shop many weekends throughout the year at festivals, artist markets, farmers coops, and unique art shows. Those take a lot of work, a lot of patience, and a ton of logistics. Etsy allows us to reach many of the same markets but all over the world, 24 hours a day. While we also have our pieces in shops and boutiques, there is nothing more awesome than the one-on-one conversations between the artist and their patron, which is how we view each owner of our pieces. And while face to face is just wonderful, Etsy allows you to still get to know your patron and thank them for supporting your art, even when you are on opposite sides of the globe! Plus, back in college I stumbled upon an ad (for what I cannot remember) that looks like a road sign and says "You don't have to be awake to be productive". Etsy really makes that true!!!

Mocha Flower Vintage Material Zipper Bag
What inspires you to create/sell what you do?
Our inspiration is very simple. Jake and I have the most wonderful children ever. Our twin boys that just recently turned two never fail to show us new viewpoints, challenge us to improve the world, and inspire us to look for the beauty in things. Their wonderment at all things small and normal makes it easy to see, experience, and enjoy the world in new ways. We also had a beautiful daughter who truly was our inspiration to find the silver lining in the world. She would be almost three and a half now, if only the world could have handled her. She was born extremely premature, but at only a pound she changed the world. Everyone who came to know her in the 18 days she shared with the world was forever changed. So when we lost her, both Jake and I became determined to make the world a more beautiful place deserving of the amazing sacrifices Claire had made. She really pushed us to look at the little things, appreciate the details, and push the envelope of beauty.
License Plate Number 6 Key Chain
Share links to where we can find you on the web
Most of the time, you can find us online via our etsy shop, StressTheSeams.

We are also available at our facebook page (, which is also the keeper of our opop-up schedule if you want to come visit us in person.

Then there is our blog (, though I've been HORRIBLE about updating it over the winter. Honestly, the cold weather makes me want to create, not code!! :)

Thanks Dominique!

See you next week,
Everyday Inspired Blog


  1. Truly a tug at my heartstrings in so many ways, I can relate to your inspiration of the children you are raising and one you have lost, the opportunities life presents, the frugality forced by circumstances and the joy of connecting with kindred spirits~ Thank you, Dominique and Jake, for sharing your story with us! And as always: Great job, Valerie!