The Maine 2010 Holidays: Jo Ellen Designs

text and photos Jessica Stammen

When not out swimming, hiking, biking, learning to skateboard and surf I manage a little shop in downtown Camden.  The shop is my mom’s, Jo Ellen Designs.  She’s an artist, I’m an artist.  We have a lot of fun putting beautiful things together, things that make us smile and things that make us laugh.  We also love sharing this beauty with people — beautiful people, smiling people, people who make us laugh.  We think this pretty much describes every person who walks through our door.  We just love people; that’s why we’re in business.  After an award-winning career as a children’s book illustrator mom now designs the rugs and pillows we sell.  I come up with ideas for how these rugs and pillows (and everything else we sell) can do good and create the most beauty in the world, beyond design alone.  We have a program through which $10 from every purchase of a Jo Ellen Design is donated to a particular organization paired with that design.  We also donate 10% of all our profits to charity and scholarship funds besides.  We employ three amazing women from our local community.  (One of which designed our *brand new* webstore!)  We teach in the local schools.  We shovel the sidewalk when it snows, put out the awning when it rains, and we try to be responsible consumers ourselves.  We do what we can with what we’ve been given.  On our good days this is a joy.  But more importantly, on our not-so-good days our joy is the grace of beauty that somehow still shows up through, and yet thankfully beyond our own feeble efforts.  And this grace, I think, is what Christmas is all about.

Here are a few items available on our webstore or by calling.  Enjoy!  Smile, laugh, sigh — stop in to say hello sometime.  And have a beautiful holiday season

Pewter candlestakes for cupcakes or truffles, made in the US.  //  A classic German design Christmas carousel with candles.

Aromatic vetiver wreath for the home — beauty and function, sustainable and fair trade.  //  Miniature vintage winter’s eve wreath ornament.

Super-soft and cozy throw in cream.  //  Zebra pillow, printed on linen from vintage natural history book plate.  Also made in US.

Cast iron bear bottle opener — one of my favorites!  //  Daddy and baby activity bear by French designer — squeaky nose, adjustable fishing pole, backpack and hideaway tummy.

Cashmere socks made in the US.  //  Framed blockprint by local artist Julie Crane — more animals available.

Mirrored glass transfer ornament for a little glitz.  /  A Danish pixie!  This one hangs as an ornament; we also have larger ones and ones with bendable limbs, dresses, trousers and/or scarves.  We love these so much we devoted a whole window to them!