Harbingers of Handmade – Meet Hinged Strung Stitched

Just a couple of years ago, I rented a studio space at the Olympic Mills Commerce Center in SE Portland. As I was moving in, I noticed a gorgeous space next to mine that looked like a whimsical art gallery, full of beautiful little treasures that included books, pieces of paper, fabric, ribbons, photographs, and mysterious machines made of iron that looked like they may have been made at the turn of the century. I marveled at this lovely, 200-square foot work of art and wondered who had created this space and what did they do in there? Shortly thereafter, I met Molly Lewis, the occupant of studio 475 and owner of Hinged Strung Stitched, an independent bookbindery that operates out this beautiful spot in SE Portland. As it turns out, Molly specializes in making handmade albums, books, portfolios, presentation boxes, and slipcases. I took one look at her masterful creations and knew that I had to add her handmade treasures to the line of photo preservation products that I offer to my clients. Two years and several collaborations later, Hinged Strung Stitched is responsible for creating half of the albums, boxes, and folios that I offer to my clients. I call Molly’s handmade products my Heirloom Collection, and each item that I order from Hinged Strung Stitched is custom-made especially for each client.

In October of 2010, Hinged Strung Stitched grew from a one-person operation to a two-person operation, when Michelle Johnson became business partners with Molly. Michelle took over the roll of marketing and business development while Molly continues to focus on creating elegant, well-built books, portfolios, albums, and more. Molly and Michelle’s clients include photographers, restauranteurs, artists, writers, and individuals who want a special way to present and preserve their photographs, words, memories, and mementos. When Molly and Michelle asked me if I would come to their studio to photograph them, I jumped at the opportunity. Although I’ve admired the craftsmanship of Molly’s work on several occasions, I was not familiar with the process of how her products are built. What a fun morning this was! I loved seeing one the Heirloom proof boxes come together in front of my eyes and it was a pleasure, as always, to hang out in the Hinged Strung Stitched studio with Molly and Michelle. Molly and Michelle, you and your business is an inspiration to me and to small businesses everywhere!

To find out more about Hinged Strung Stitched, please visit their website. To stay up-to-date on their latest happenings, become a fan of their Facebook page.

hsh-110516-01hsh-110516-02On the roof-top terrance of the Olympic Mills Commerce Center…hsh-110516-03…to studio 475!hsh-110516-04hsh-110516-05Meet Molly and Michelle!hsh-110516-06hsh-110516-07hsh-110516-08hsh-110516-10hsh-110516-12hsh-110516-13hsh-110516-15I could honestly spend all day in their studio, admiring all of the loveliness that is everywhere!hsh-110516-16hsh-110516-17The building process begins here.hsh-110516-18hsh-110516-20This pile of board will soon become a beautiful box. hsh-110516-21hsh-110516-23Handmade sometimes means applying glue with your fingers.hsh-110516-24hsh-110516-25It’s coming together.hsh-110516-26hsh-110516-27Half-way there!hsh-110516-28Michelle working on emails, marketing materials, and making Molly giggle. 🙂hsh-110516-30hsh-110516-31hsh-110516-32Molly working on another Heirloom product that will be announced later this year.hsh-110516-34hsh-110516-35Look at those beautiful corners!hsh-110516-36hsh-110516-37Sitting out to dry…more on this beauty later this summer. 😉hsh-110516-38Back to the proof box.hsh-110516-39hsh-110516-41This little corner that Molly cuts by hand is what gives the box is its’ beautiful, precise corners. hsh-110516-43hsh-110516-44Bricks wrapped in paper are placed in the box while it dries to make sure the fabric dries flat and evenly.hsh-110516-45The finished product!hsh-110516-46A lovely proof box that will hold Catie and Josh’s wedding photographs. hsh-110516-47More tools of the trade. hsh-110516-48And more wonderful treasures made by Molly.hsh-110516-49hsh-110516-50Molly and Michelle believe in a supportive and caring work environment. 🙂hsh-110516-51And this is how they roll!hsh-110516-52XOXO

10 Responses to “Harbingers of Handmade – Meet Hinged Strung Stitched”

  1. Lauren! Thank you so much for coming to our studio and taking such beautiful photos. We love love love working with you.

  2. Jude Russell says:

    What can a (Molly’s) mom say? I am bursting with pride and wonder at Molly AND Michelle.

  3. Dana McCurdy says:

    What a wonderful piece. Beautiful pictures and a great testament to Molly and Michelle’s hard work, creativity, and friendship.

  4. Marsha Matschek says:

    Beautiful photos of beautiful people! Shows the spirit and artisanship of
    “Hinged Strung Stitched” very well. Very nicely done.

  5. Sally Johnson says:

    Gorgeous photographs and what a cool insight into this amazing process! Now I love my HSS treasures even more.

  6. Holly Conley says:

    Nuthin’ but wonderful! All so beautiful and creative and artistic. So individual and special, just like Molly and Michelle! Thank you for capturing the moments in film. Love, Aunt Holly

  7. Janeen Mount says:

    Wow, Molly…I’m your “Aunt Holly’s” friend, Janeen…..last time I saw you a few years ago you were showing me how you soaked rags in a water/liquidy mixture to make beautiful handmade papers! And NOW look what you are doing! It’s no wonder, you’ve got lots of creative genes in your family!

  8. David Russell says:

    Hey Molly. Fabulous picture. Very impressive.

  9. Hi Mol! How wonderful to watch you get better and better and better at your work. You are truly remarkable and I hope to see you in the near future. Please add me to your address list for openings or whatever.

  10. […] many of the products my wife offers to her wedding clients. Lauren also did a really excellent lifestyle shoot with the two of them in action and goofing […]

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