Meet Crystal of Blooming Bags!
It’s my honor to introduce Crystal, the very talented bag and quilt maker behind Eternal Bloom Blankets.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
What is something you enjoy about where you live?
I live in Bismarck, North Dakota. One fact I love about it is we hold the Guinness Book of World Records for the most snow angels. To be exact, 8,962, simultaneously, on the grounds of the state capitol.
Tell us about your family & any pets you have.
I have three children. At home with me is the youngest, my 16 year old daughter, and her dad Bruce. There’s also two cats, our girl Rebel Rose and the boy is our baby Shadow. My oldest, Shaniah, 25, lives in Baton Rouge, LA with her two kids (my two grandkids). Then there’s my son (21 years old). He attends University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Can you tell us about your quilts?
Other than making bags, I make Star Quilts for our Native American community. It is a very rewarding occupation and an honor to be one of the people they come to for important events in their lives. The quilts have significant meaning in the many stages of life, from childbirth to graduation, weddings, to honoring our military and death of our loved ones. The eight point star, the morning star, represents the link between the living and those who have passed. Sadly, Covid-19 took my aunt and uncle, in which I produced two consecutive funeral quilts within two weeks.
What led you to bag making?
After mastering the Star Quilt, I started venturing off from there, such as matching diaper bags for the baby blankets. Those were ‘a hit’. That lead me to pouches, then bags, and a whole other passion.
What is the story behind your business name?
My youngest daughter’s grandmother taught me to make a Star Quilt over ten years ago. Now I will teach my daughter, and she will carry that onto her children, and so on. That brings me to the name behind everything. My youngest daughter is Aiyana. Her name meaning is eternal blossom/forever bloom, which led me to call my quilts Eternal Bloom Blankets. When my bag making came to light, that led to the name Blooming Bags.
What two words would you use to describe yourself?
Quiet and diligent
How would you describe your style?
My style originates from our Indigenous culture, the textile traditions, and the symbols and shapes they carried. I love southwest and Aztec and Serape print in any material. I shop native owned and support small businesses as much as possible.
What do you enjoy most about making bags? What is most frustrating?
I most enjoy how a fabric and hardware come together, the aesthetic it brings. The frustrating part is reading and understanding a new pattern and, for me, the time consuming tracing and cutting. That’s where my breaks come in!
What keeps you inspired?
Our bag makers from all over the world inspire me. They remind me why I’m in this vibrant community. The makes others share, from the smallest zipper pouch to the largest travel bag, keep me inspired.
Do you have any must-have/favorite bag making tools?
Frixion pens and my sewing machine, the Janome HD1000. My jaw dropped when I watched that baby sewing through aluminum cans! I have a Juki sewing machine dream and strive to bring that to reality.
What does your bag making process look like?
I cut for more than one project. This way I can put the current one on pause if it gets complicated and have the next waiting and ready to go.
What is your advice to new bag makers?
If you find a pattern you like, go for it. I was scared to take on new bag styles when I began bag making but I guarantee you learn something new in each one, which you never thought was even possible. Also, BREATHE! You will conquer this and then it’s on to the next!