Christmas stockings that sock it to you
It’s not hard to find an interesting Christmas stocking, from predictable stores such as Michael’s to off-price retail giants like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.
But it’s hard to find a stocking that makes you do a double-take and wonder where it came from. That’s what happens when you see one of Jeannette Chamberlin’s uncommon and eye-catching designs.
Interestingly, Ms. Chamberlin’s Sassy Classy Christmas Stockings look like footwear. They are as roomy as a deluxe-size Christmas stockings, but they look like something you’d want to shove your foot in and start walking.
“A few years ago I made a high-heeled Christmas stocking for a friend,” said Ms. Chamberlin. ”It was such a hit, the next year I made two.” The following year, in 2000, the Pittsburgher she made a few more and took them to Patricia Boutique — a tony women’s shop in the eastern Pittsburgh suburb of Aspinwall — where they “sold out in a few days!” (I wrote a story about them for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)
Now there are about 20 styles, including cowgirl, bride, and multiple “diva” designs. There are also cowboy and bridegroom styles for the fellows. “I have nothing against Santa and snowmen,” she says, “but why not have a Christmas stocking that reflects your personality or your alter-ego?”
Ms. Chamberlin also paints and designs jewelry. She has taught both, instructing jewelry-making classes at the Society for Contemporary Art in Pittsburgh and teaching art classes and counseling for a while at The Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.
The artist began making the stockings as gifts in 1998. On average, they take about three hours to complete from sewing and piecing together to embellishment and hand-painting. Sometimes the painting, particularly on the cowboy styles, can take more than two hours alone to look multi-dimensional.
She loves hearing stories from people who buy the stockings, which are hand=painted or hand-embellished and usually made of silky-soft fabrics. “People tell me how they have given them as gifts. ‘My mother used to love her high heels, but hasn’t been able to wear them for years. When I gave her the high-heeled stocking with the feather cuff, she was so excited. I laugh every time I think of it.’ Or people will say, ‘Oh, this is SO my sister!’ I think people also love having a fun choice of stockings for men.”
In the development stages now to launch for Christmas 2010 are sports-inspired stockings that resemble a golf shoe, a hockey skate and a motorcycle boot. Aside from Patricia Boutique in Aspinwall, Pa., the stockings are sold at Sweetheart Gallery in New York City, Co Co Milano’s in Mesa, Az., and at American Craft Gallery in Cleveland.