In the Fall of 2010, three mid career artists, friends for decades, came together with an idea that led to the beginning of South Street Linen. At a weekly meeting while discussing their work (art), Lynn Krauss, who had shifted from painting to printmaking for the year, noticed a piece of linen around Mary Ruth Hedstrom's neck and commented that she had always wanted to print on textiles. Mary Ruth had been collecting linen samples for years and expressed her interest in dyeing it. Jane got hooked when she saw their first designs and jumped in with her sewing machine to begin making South Street's nascent product, a line of linen scarves.
Six weeks and about 45 block-printed scarves later, South Street Linen was launched at Corey and Co. of Portland. It was a feeding frenzy. The entire line sold out.
In November of 2011, after working from their individual studios it was clear that they needed to be under one roof. They formed a legal partnership and moved into their present studio/ shop at 5 South Street, Portland. They bought a printing press for Lynn and two industrial sewing machines for Mary Ruth and Jane. Production increased. The threesome started designing women’s clothing and home wares, all in linen.
Since then, working with a series of local contract seamstresses, a master printer on Vinalhaven Island, and other supportive businesses, we are fully functional and dreaming up new garments, patterns and fabrics daily.
Our commitment to the re-emerging textile community in Maine means we keep our manufacturing local. We consider ourselves part of the growing "slow fashion" movement, where quality and enduring design in small batches takes precedence over mass production.
We design clothes and objects we would like for ourselves and have discovered a whole world of women that love them the way we do.