Click here to Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of cottage style directly in your inbox!
Shopping
Spun Cotton: A Victorian Craft For A New Generation
This creator is reviving a Victorian-era lost art for a new generation
Roots in the Past Crystal Sloane’s studio sits high in the tower of her Victorian-era home, under the perpetual starry night sky she painted on the domed ceiling that caps her work space. Surrounded by small drawers and tiny cubbies filled with materials, it’s the perfect place for an old soul to craft figures from... Keep Scrolling
Written by Kris Christensen
Photography by Vintage by Crystal
The dome ceiling is painted as a starry night sky in Crystal Sloan's studio space.
The starry night sky in the dome above Crystal Sloan’s studio space is an inspiring place to work and create.

Roots in the Past

Crystal Sloane’s studio sits high in the tower of her Victorian-era home, under the perpetual starry night sky she painted on the domed ceiling that caps her work space. Surrounded by small drawers and tiny cubbies filled with materials, it’s the perfect place for an old soul to craft figures from spun cotton for her shop, Vintage by Crystal.

Vintage Inspired Spun Cotton Fox Figurine by Vintage by Crystal
Spun Cotton Fox on Skis Figurine – Vintage by Crystal – Photo by Kris Christensen

A number of handmade characters and creatures that come from her home studio have roots that are over a century old, based in Germany’s cottage handicraft industry. Decades ago, Crystal explains, these pieces were assembled by artisans who would send them on to international importers, who would then sell the pieces as Christmas ornaments and decorations to eager American buyers.

Vintage Inspired Spun Cotton Clown Child
Clown Child Ornament – Made to Order – Vintage by Crystal

Crafting for the Future

Crystal’s own journey with the craft began with her family’s German ancestry. Her German-American grandfather was stationed in Germany with the U.S. military during the war, her mother was born there, and when the family returned to the States, they brought with them souvenirs of German heritage. Growing up, Crystal was drawn to these items, particularly the spun-cotton ornaments.

Vintage Inspired Spun Cotton Octopus Ornaments - Vintage by Crystal- Read more at Cottages and Bungalows!
Vintage Inspired Posable Octopus – Made to Order – Vintage by Crystal

Ever the artistic innovator, she developed her own technique to recreate the antique figures. “There’s really no way to know how they were made back when it was a cottage industry in Germany,” Crystal explains. “It became a lost art because the post-war German economy didn’t support this kind of craft.” Things are different these days. Since 2004, her designs have found eager buyers all over the world through outlets such as Anthropologie, Bergdorf Goodman and Crystal’s own site, Vintage by Crystal.

Vintage Inspired Spun Cotton Owl Couple for a Wedding Cake Topper or Ornaments. Read more about how this creator is reviving a lost Victorian Art!
Owl Couple – Wedding Inspiration – Vintage by Crystal

She designs decorations for everyday enjoyment and themed ornaments for holidays or special celebrations such as weddings. “The part I love about it is working with so many different materials,” Crystal says. Many of the components of her designs are sourced from flea markets, garage sales and walks in nature. They are things that other people would overlook, that can be given new life.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf Spun Cotton Fairy Tale Characters - Vintage by Crystal
Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf Spun Cotton Fairy Tale Characters – Vintage by Crystal

 

you might also enjoy...