Ashley Dedin’s modern heirloom art has earned her a spot as a finalist for the Martha Stewart American Made Awards.
Each year “Martha Stewart Living” honors a group of makers, craftspeople, small-business owners, and innovators from across the country in four key categories: crafts, design, food and style. From the entire pool of Martha Stewart American Made finalists, 10 award winners will be named – nine by the judges and one by people’s choice.
Dedin, a 2012 alumna of Concordia, creates and sells neckties and accessories made from thrift store shirts in her downtown Fargo shop, AENDEE. She carefully chooses shirts based on patterns, color and the quality of the material, but says, “what’s really ugly as a shirt can make for a cool necktie.”
During college, Dedin’s studies focused on the philosophy of art; people’s relationship with objects and why art holds meaning. When she was in eighth grade, Dedin’s family lost everything in a fire. Since then, she says she has not been particularly attached to objects, though she is very interested in nostalgia and the sentimentality of clothing.
“When someone passes, we keep their clothing,” she says.
AENDEE customers often bring in items of clothing that once belonged to a loved one to be made into a tie or other accessory. These “heirloom projects” give Dedin the opportunity to take a shirt that held meaning to somebody and then use it to create something new that can be enjoyed and worn again.
“It’s more than just making stuff. Every shirt has a story,” she says.
Online voting is open now through Oct. 13, 2014.
Photo credit: J. Alan Paul Photography