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Handmade Portraits: Reiter8

Apr 11, 2008

by Tara Young

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Like all of our videos, feel free to re-post and embed this video on your blog!

(Music by Jukeboxer and Lineland)

Katherine Rasmussen of Reiter8 rescues sailboat sails that would otherwise sit at the dump for thousands of years and upcycles them for her innovative line of bags and pillows. The idea came to her during a trip to visit her family in Maine. She wound up collecting sails all along the East Coast during her drive back to New York City.


Katherine gets excited every time she unfolds a discarded sail. Each of the sail lofts use different types of stitching and lettering so it’s always a surprise to see what’s uncovered. Katherine considers her line of products upcycled rather than recycled. Recycling is where you take a discarded item and through a process make it into more of that same item, for instance: paper. However, upcyling takes a discarded item and makes something completely new and different from the original product. Reiter8 has come up with an unusual and exciting line that is not only beautifully crafted, but also good for the Earth.

Have you ever heard the term upcycling? Do you like to purchase recycled or upcycled products? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Handmade Video Portraits | Earth Tones Series | Team Eco Etsy

Search for Upcycled Items on Etsy


  • Itybitybags

    Itybitybags said 9 years ago

    Wow! What a wonderful video portrait! I am now in love with her bags! What a unique and beautiful piece of everyday art!

  • weirdwolf Admin

    weirdwolf said 9 years ago

    Katherine your my upcycling inspiration! I love your fantastic use of unusual materials. Thanks for sharing your story and opening our eyes to the resources all around us.

  • nydampress

    nydampress said 9 years ago

    So beyond fantastic! p.s. The handmade portraits are by far my favorite feature of the Storque. Keep 'em coming!

  • bittystarr

    bittystarr said 9 years ago

    this is like!

  • PickalaPoopa

    PickalaPoopa said 9 years ago

    Such a nice story, handmade portraits are great. Liked seeing the dutiful mate helping when needed. And an artist helping the environment.

  • 1ofmykind

    1ofmykind said 9 years ago

    Wow...just WOW. Fabulous story, gorgeous product and just can't wait to see more of these handmade portraits...especially those involving environmentally friendly vendors. Best wishes reiter8!

  • DinnerTimeChimes

    DinnerTimeChimes said 9 years ago

    This is great! Love seeing the faces and workspaces behind the stores on the EcoEtsy team

  • cloud9designstudio

    cloud9designstudio said 9 years ago

    Awesome video and article! I love to see The Storque highlighting eco-friendly etsy sellers! You can search "teamecoetsy" to find more likeminded sellers! :)

  • pouch

    pouch said 9 years ago

    love this article, congrats! It's a good job you have such a lovely big room to work in :)

  • LoucheLab

    LoucheLab said 9 years ago

    This is such a cool video and it's awesome to see other people at work - thanks so much - Tara, you rock!

  • reiter8

    reiter8 said 9 years ago

    Thanks, Tara for your wonderful video magic! Thanks, Etsy for shining the light on upcycling! Would love to hear from other upcycler - recyclers! Also check out the Storques new featured column Earth Tones:

  • spittingimage

    spittingimage said 9 years ago

    I think that is amazing and I am quite impressed. This is definately a case where upcycling is used at it's maximum potential. Reiter8 - good name too! Way to turn waste into beauty.

  • youmeyou

    youmeyou said 9 years ago

    So inspiring.....Thank you for sharing!!...xo

  • bobnstitch

    bobnstitch said 9 years ago

    All of these videos are wonderful!!!

  • daniellexo

    daniellexo said 9 years ago

    Great work!

  • missbatch

    missbatch said 9 years ago

    What a great piece, thanks for sharing!

  • zJayne

    zJayne said 9 years ago

    Absolutely, positively enjoyed this piece. Thank you so much for sharing! Love your bags...especially number 5's! Best, zJayne

  • beachyrustica

    beachyrustica said 8 years ago

    Wonderful work and video! Thanks for being a part of JustBeachy Team!

  • BululuStudio

    BululuStudio said 8 years ago

    I looooooooooove this shop

  • ruthely

    ruthely said 8 years ago

    Is amazing how the lives of people like us (hand made) are so alike. I live it. is like a big family.

  • judemcconkey

    judemcconkey said 8 years ago

    Actually very inspiring! Excellent to watch and read about.

  • sudiosu

    sudiosu said 8 years ago

    Great video, love the shop, too!

  • parltradet

    parltradet said 8 years ago

    Nice portrait. Inspiring work. Great idea to make such good-looking and probably durable bags made out of used sails. Both practical and eye-catching! Congratulations Reiter8! (You make me want to start a shop for sewn products. Maybe I will.)

  • AmyJaneClayAddict

    AmyJaneClayAddict said 8 years ago

    Reiter8...your work is inspiring! Thank you for educating alittle on recycling vs upcycling! Fab bags...keep it up!

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 8 years ago

    Wow, what a great story, so inspiring too~! Enjoyed the video as well, continued success with your shop too~! Love your bags & shop~!~!

  • MyArtShoppe

    MyArtShoppe said 8 years ago

    Wow, What an inspiring story! I grew up in Maine! I love Maine ,I love boats, what a cool idea this is!

  • MyJunkyTrunk

    MyJunkyTrunk said 8 years ago

    Really amazing work!!!

  • gutsche

    gutsche said 8 years ago

    Where on earth do you get used sails?

  • Fishstikks

    Fishstikks said 8 years ago

    That is truly fantastic!! What a great story!

  • reiter8

    reiter8 said 8 years ago

    I get a lot of my sails through my donation program: Donate a sail and get a free tote made from your sail in return. :)

  • orangepoppy

    orangepoppy said 8 years ago


  • ZuzusPetalsCreations

    ZuzusPetalsCreations said 8 years ago

    Such an inspiring story! Love your bags and the video! Makes me want to sew!

  • leuckit

    leuckit said 8 years ago

    Hip, Hip, Hooray for upcycling!!!

  • Emburr

    Emburr said 8 years ago

    That is fantastic. It warms my heart to hear a story like this one. Hoorah for recycling.

  • woolhug

    woolhug said 8 years ago

    So impressed how she use the material beautifully!

  • sewsillydesigns

    sewsillydesigns said 8 years ago

    I had alreay hearted your shop, my daughter and I love your bags, they are awesome! Thanks for sharing your video, it was interesting!

  • jodieflowers

    jodieflowers said 8 years ago

    Awesome shop!

  • SleepDreamPlay

    SleepDreamPlay said 8 years ago

    i fell in love with this shop the first time i saw it. She has just absolutely great products

  • PDXfabricdeli

    PDXfabricdeli said 8 years ago

    Totally inspirational - thanks for sharing.

  • cicadastudio

    cicadastudio said 8 years ago

    Utterly fabulous!

  • whimsyandspice

    whimsyandspice said 8 years ago

    yay! I love our flea-mates and Brooklynites, Reiter 8!

  • Artdefleur

    Artdefleur said 8 years ago

    Love your bags!

  • saraaires

    saraaires said 8 years ago

    Great video! Upcycling seems perfect, how could we let these wonderful materials waisted outhere? Lovelly basement too, so much light!

  • JuliaMichell

    JuliaMichell said 8 years ago

    Really interesting to listen to how someone has made it work, thank you very much.

  • karenmeyers

    karenmeyers said 7 years ago

    Loved seeing your process!

  • handloomin

    Manju G from JaipurHandloom said 3 years ago

    these handmade process is gorgeous.

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