Hello! My name is Tammy Franck, and I’m the artist behind Rock River Stitches. I make primitives and patterns in Rock Island, Illinois. My shop is named for the Rock River, which is nearby.
I got started with primitives by searching the internet for antiques, which I love to collect. I also love birds, so you will find crows, owls, doves, robins, eagles, and even some imaginary bird creatures in my shop. I really enjoy turning my creations into pieces that look old, worn, and a bit whimsical.
My mother is a huge inspiration for everything I make. She was a ceramicist and seamstress when I was young, and she made all of my clothing throughout grade school. Now, at the age of 78, she’s an avid quilter. I made several quilts myself before I started making primitives, but I didn’t care for the process as much. It seemed to take forever; I wanted to see my finished creation within days instead of months.
I usually think of new things to make while I’m in the process of making something else. Ideas just pop into my head, and I‘ll start plugging away. My process is fairly straightforward. I use a lot of muslin and osnaburg to create the shapes of my creatures; whenever possible, I choose recycled fabrics. Next, I apply stains and paints to give my pieces an antique feeling. The final step is hand-stitching the details: eyes, ears, wings and noses.
I’ve been part of Etsy since 2007, and it’s been rewarding for me from the beginning. I love putting a smile on my customers’ faces and developing friendships with my fellow artists on the site. Selling on Etsy allows me to bring in a little extra income, set my own hours, and work in the comfort of my home. The future of Rock River Stitches is constantly evolving – all of my items were sparked by imagination, and I hope to continue coming up with new ideas in the future. I take it one day at a time, one creation at a time, with the mindset that as long as I keep loving what I do, I’ll continue to be successful.
All photographs by Rock River Stitches.