Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello. My name is Jami Renae Morales and I have been the designer and creator behind eclu for 11 years. I live in a small town north of Boston with my husband, J.C., and our two girls, Chloe Mae and Emme Lu. In 1998, I left my day job to stay at home with my new family. It was a bit of an adjustment — I went from managing a busy, creative, high profile business, to managing the sock drawer at home. In an effort to stay sane, I began to sew.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
If I am not in my studio creating for eclu, I am in my other glamorous, full-time position: Creative Director of Walnut Lane. I attempt, unsuccessfully, to say on top of the mountain of laundry and clutter while endeavoring to think of something gourmet yet kid-friendly to keep the family around the dinner table. Thankfully, the clients are forgiving.
In my spare time I enjoy poring over design books and magazines, looking for fun and funky ways to design our family space. In the summer we explore vintage markets and local shops, looking for that perfect little thingamabob.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I find my inspiration everywhere. I am particularly drawn to and inspired by textures, especially those found in nature. I treasure the smooth shiny black stones from Maine, well-worn, aged pieces of driftwood from the Oregon coast and perfectly rounded granite cobbles from the beach nearby. I display them all like precious art in every corner of my house. Vintage objects also have this same textural appeal for me. They have a story, a patina from years of life and ownership. Simply put, I am most inspired when surrounded by those things that make me happy, and when I am happy, I am inspired.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade is a life open to possibilities. Every time someone buys a handmade item from eclu, it allows my family to live a life closer to the one I imagined when I was growing up. Through eclu I am able to spend my time happily creating swell and swanky things, and best of all I get to be at home with the ones that I love.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
Cue the collective eye rolling, but it was and is my family. I think my story is common. We didn’t have much of anything when I was a kid. My parents were hard working, exhausting themselves trying to provide us with the basic necessities. My mom stayed home and encouraged us to be resourceful. She gave us permission to use whatever we could find in our house to play, have fun and be creative. I learned the true meaning of repurposing at a very young age. One of my favorite creations was a Barbie and Ken townhouse that my brother and I made out of paper towel and toilet paper cardboard tubes. We spent hours perfecting every last detail. It was totally fabulous and it even had a working elevator, just no Barbie and Ken.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
My first memory of creating was in the back seat of our family car with my mom. She was teaching me (no doubt to keep me quiet and occupied) how to make a beautiful, fluffy white flower out of tissues, it was perfect. I really think eclu began in that moment.
How would you describe your creative process?
Messy! I usually have an idea or concept rattling around in my head and marinating for a while. I am not a plan it out, sketch it out or a run the numbers kind of girl. I’m a mess. My first draft is always a complete frenzy. I feel like if I don’t make it as fast as I can the idea is going to evaporate out of my head and be lost forever. In the end when it is over, the studio and I are covered in fabric and thread. A rough idea has materialized into something that hopefully someone will be carrying around someday, somewhere.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Anything made by my kids. Their art is so wonky and imperfectly perfect. It makes me smile and reminds me not to be such a perfectionist with my own work.