Creating Memories + Heirlooms: Q & A Interview with local seamstress Sparrow & Berry

Creating Memories + Heirlooms: Q & A Interview with local seamstress Sparrow & Berry

Jul 18 , 2023


Guest Writer

Holley of Sparrow and Berry has been a local maker with us since our shop's beginnings! She is creative, funny, and her work is whimsical and inspiring. Enjoy our Q & A with this Duluth artist below.
Welcome, Holley! Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a third-generation artist & doll maker living in Duluth. I was raised in a very creative & artistic family & have always enjoyed making things.
My Grandmother had a successful doll making business for 40 years & she was my number one influence. I also work outside of the home so it is definitely a juggling act to find time to create! I belong to a women's artist cooperative, The Nice Girls of the North. We have a monthly sale called Second Saturday Marketplace held in the Lakeside neighborhood. This is my main selling venue & the best place to see my body of work.
How did you get your start as a small business?
While I always knew I wanted to have a doll making business, the closure of my long-time place of employment kick started it.
Tell us about your artistic process! What do you love about it?
All of my patterns are hand drawn by me, every step of the process is hand done by me. Over the years I have developed a large array of patterns for a wide variety of dolls. My favorite part of the process is putting together the many fabrics that make up each doll. I absolutely love playing with pattern, color & texture. I have made hundreds of dolls over the years, but each one is unique due to the constant mixing of fabrics & trims!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a
small business as a maker?
Don't feel like everything has to be perfect before you get started. You don't have to have to have a studio space with the best equipment to be successful. I have been successfully running my business out of my very small dining room for a decade! If you are driven to create you will find a way to make it happen. There are plenty of pop up & craft sale opportunities in the area & that is a great way to get yourself out there, to make connections & to build a customer base.
What inspires you most as an artist?
I am an avid antique collector & have been collecting vintage toys & children's books most of my life. They are a constant source of inspiration! I also love fabric, a lot of times the fabric drives the creation! I find creating heirloom quality dolls for families to share on special occasions, very inspiring.
I have received many photos over the years of the gift recipients with their dolls & I love that! While many of my dolls are purchased for children, my favorite dolls to make are for adults! They can include more delicate fabrics & vintage trims & are embellished with hand felted wool hair.
When I create a doll, I see it as a piece of art. While many of my creations are child friendly & I make them with children in mind, that is not always my intention. I see art dolls as a piece of art to be displayed in your home for everyone to enjoy, no different than a painting or piece of pottery!
Where are some of your favorite North Shore locations?
My favorite way to enjoy the North Shore is to play tourist! I love spending the day with my family just enjoying the drive, stopping at wayside areas & random beaches & walking around Grand Marais.
Here at North & Shore we are all about supporting community. Who are some of your favorite makers/small businesses to support?
I am lucky to call so many incredibly talented artists as friends. I would love if you would stop by one of our monthly Nice Girls of the North art shows to see some incredible local art & to meet the incredible women who create it!
 Maker Highlight:
Holley is a Duluth native and owner of Sparrow & Berry. She started her journey of small business in 2017, but her sewing adventure began long before. You can find Holley's one of a kind stuffed animals, gnomes, and other treasures on our shelves and online at 

Leave a comment