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Meet Marija Thomas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marija Thomas.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I am what some people in this town call “a dreaded multi-hyphenate.” I have made a living as an actor for most of my adult life which has afforded me the luxury of being around to raise my kids and also the union health insurance to, you know, have the kids in the first place. You’d think an acting career, two kids, two rabbits, seven fish, and a husband would keep me busy enough. But I have found that I do some of my best thinking and also doing whilst avoiding all of the above. Also, a lady needs a break from all that hoopla and being an extroverted person who can’t really deal with people. I took to hand sewing when my kids were very small. It allowed me to be present while waiting around for hours on set, or while little kids were playing, in a way that my previous first love, books, would not abide. I could tuck a small piece of embroidery into my bag and hand sew without taking myself out of the loop completely.

As the kids got older, I loved the idea of making hand made gifts for teachers and friends. I have always been a bit of a craft hoarder and started repurposing old linens, men’s dress shirts, and other collected textiles to make girl’s dresses, waterproof bags, and quilts. Pretty soon friends were making custom orders, and Clovercita was born from there. My husband and I have two boys, but we had always thought if we had a daughter we’d name her Clover. I called the company Clovercita because it is a diminutive version of all the girly things I thought I’d be doing with a daughter. My boys are game for me painting the whole house puff pink and even making nests in my garage office to keep me company while I sew custom orders. So, me being the only girl around here turned out to be a fine deal for all of us.

Please tell us about your art.
The world of fast fashion and throw away consumer products really makes me bananas. It’s hard not to give in to the abundance of new and cute things every week. But I began Clovercita with the ideals of sustainability and up-cycling as basics in everything I do. I do purchase new textiles, and love to collect fabrics when I’m traveling. But I also love taking old clothes and linens and other items I find to remake them into something new and useful. Friends are forever surprising me with things they’ve found or set aside because they know I’ll put it to good use. The average American will throw away around 80lbs of clothing every year! This kind of waste is bad for our planet and for our pocketbooks. I have made pillowcases from a beloved crib sheet, a quilt from dress shirts, jeans, and chinos, and countless reusable swim bags from all kinds of vintage and upcycled fabrics.

The dresses I make are all one of a kind custom items, and that can be passed down to younger siblings or cousins. They are well made with all the internal seams lined and covered so even my most rough and tumble toddlers never complain about anything being itchy or pokey. I was a tree climbing little kid and loved to dig up worms, but refused to wear shoes and only wanted to wear pink head to toe. I make my dresses and play pants for that kind of kiddo in mind. They are pretty but also sturdy, machine washable, and ready for play, with pockets in each dress for collecting pebbles, caterpillars or whatever they stumble upon on their adventures.

My best selling set is the swimmy and zippy bag set. The swimmy bag is the bag that everyone gets and then says “I had no idea that I needed this, but now I can’t live without it!” The swimmy bag is great to replace plastic bags in a diaper bag because new moms always find themselves with wet or soiled items. They are lined with my signature mint green waterproof lining. It’s machine washable too. Now I find a lot of moms who purchased them when their kids were little are using them for hot yoga, travel, and swimming as they are completely waterproof. With custom monogramming, they make great gifts for bridesmaids and teachers as well.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
Making something sustainable that is both pretty and useful has given me so much comfort in the last few years. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless when looking at current events. For me making small changes like riding my bike more, getting in the car less, and creating something that I know will take a little bit of plastic out of the equation gives me both artistic satisfaction and a little bit of hope. I’m also someone who needs to be doing something, or I go crazy. My husband says that he sees my work as making order out of chaos. Sometimes all we need to get on track is a little bit of system and when we can put beautiful pieces into the world that are also useful that feels really good.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I have an Etsy shop as well as a stand-alone website. I often do local events and pop-ups and have plan to sell my XL Swimmy bags at Urban Exhale Yoga beginning this summer. You can find me on Instagram at ClovercitaLA. I post any upcoming in-person events there. I welcome custom orders.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Marija Thomas

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1 Comment

  1. Kay Dawson

    April 9, 2019 at 17:35

    This is a lovely article about a lovely, talented young woman with commendable values! Congratulations Marija! At long last I know what to do with my vintage Ralph Lauren skirt that I haven’t been able to part with because I love the fabric sooooooo much! It’s coming your way for swimmy bags for all!

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