Have you been? South Street Linen, located in Portland, is run by three artists who came together around a love of painting, printmaking and designing—Lynn Krauss, Mary Ruth Hedstrom, and Jane Ryan. In November of 2011, they decided to combine their skills for designing, silk screening, and sewing to create a line of linen clothing—skirts, scarves, tops and dresses—as well as home wares. Today, they work with local contract seamstresses, a master printer on Vinalhaven Island, and other supportive businesses, and they work with linen sourced from Ireland and Lithuania. These old mills have been producing linen fabric over many years, and can create the colors, designs and “hand” they favor, whether lightweight gauze, handkerchief, medium weight, or heavy. All designs are original and, basically, the women say, they make clothes that “we want to wear.”
Business is booming! Sales have doubled every year. An article appearing in Down East Magazine was very important to their business, and they regularly advertise in Portland Press Herald, New York Times, the New Yorker magazine and others. After launching their website, sales truly “took off” and they currently employ about 10 people. Still, most of their business comes from their shop at 5 South Street where Maine visitors and residents (both summer and year-round) make a pilgrimage to the store each year “to see what’s new.” In the photos, you will find Mary Ruth modeling a potential new design, Jane at her laptop, and Lynn texting. You can also find an idea board and sewing table where some of the designs are conceived and refined.
South Street Linen owners are happy to further Maine’s great textile industry and are glad to make people aware that the manufacturing of textiles and garments is very much alive in Maine. They are Supportive Members of Maine Fiberarts in order to become part of the community of artists, craftspeople, fiber producing farms, shopkeepers and manufacturers that comprise Maine fiber.
Visit the shop and get yourself a great new linen garment—made in Maine!