WILLIAMSBURG — The bolts of fabric at Renee’s House of Quilting are a sunset of color even when the world outside is gray and dreary.
The joy is twofold. Bright fabric makes the store a cheery place for quilters who stock up for future projects, and working with the fabric eases the day’s stress.
“Working with textiles is known to be a very therapeutic hobby, or love. I hate to call it just a hobby because it’s more than just a hobby,” said Renee’s House of Quilting owner Renee Savage. “They find the tactile feeling of working with fabric very soothing. It’s very comforting, and working with beautiful bright colors can bring immediate sensory joy.”
Savage, 64, opened Renee’s House of Quilting in Williamsburg in 2004. Creating the store completed her high school dream of opening a fashion design business, but with a twist.
“Back then it was dressmaking fabric, now it’s the quilting industry,” Savage said.
Savage’s quilting interest sparked 25 years ago, when she happened upon a quilt show. At the time she made her own clothes, customized wedding and bridesmaid dresses and costumes for local dance companies, but the quilt show prompted her to bolt to a class to learn the trade.
Now she can turn out a quilted jacket in a week, depending on how much time she spends at the store.
The projects Savage’s customers make aren’t like those their grandmothers created. Savage said only half of her customers dream of bona fide quilts, and the rest plan projects, like clothes, bags and table runners. Anne Loveless, of Frankfort, quilted her way to the top of the Michigan art world when she won the 2013 people’s choice award at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.
“Quilting isn’t just quilting anymore,” Savage said. “It’s purses, it’s jackets, it’s art. It’s the best of both worlds.”