Hi! I’m Kendra.
Below are some answers to real questions that people have asked me when they’ve come into All Hands. I share them with the hope that you’ll let me in on a bit of your story as well when we’re making something awesome together in the studio soon.
What’s your cultural heritage/background?
My father’s parents were Jamaican. My mother’s lineage is Swedish, Danish and German. Both my parents were born and raised in the US, so I’m culturally American.
Where did you grow up and where were you before you settled in Santa Cruz?
I grew up along the East Coast and in Texas. My husband and I have called Santa Cruz home since 2016. We moved here from Virginia, which is where we met while doing youth empowerment work with a strong emphasis on the arts and community building.
Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I studied Romance Languages at Harvard. Italian, mostly.
But wait, how’d you go from studying languages to running a handcraft school?
What can I say, I’m a Renaissance woman. 😅 But seriously, my college degree is only a small fraction of all the life experience that has led to the creation of All Hands. A common thread through it all, though, is the loss of my younger brother Evan when I was 16 years old. I turned to the creative arts and language learning as ways to heal, build resilience and make meaning. When I got stuck writing my college senior thesis years later, a friend recommended I use the tools in the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The Artist’s Way not only helped me complete the thesis (a memoir of my adventures in Italy), it more importantly helped me see my Italian Studies for what they were: medicine for a broken heart. So that’s what I hope All Hands can be in whatever small way for others. Your Italy. A magical refuge that restores you, heals you and brings you back to life. A site for your own creative Renaissance…
What’s your favorite thing to make?
I’m a multi-crafter who loves to make all the things, so I really can’t choose. It’s always changing! I love to give handmade gifts and add personal, handmade touches to my home and to special occasions.
What helps you overcome perfectionism?
Three things: 1) I’m the mother of a hilarious toddler who teaches me daily to go with the flow and to love with abandon. 2) I have fabulously messy curly hair that has a mind of its own (similar to my toddler in that way actually 😜). 3) I’m a big fan of ‘wabi-sabi’, a Japanese philosophy that embraces the beauty in imperfection. Author Richard Powell sums it up nicely: “Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."
This space looks and feels amazing. Can I hire you to style and decorate my house?
Um, maybe?! I’m so glad people feel inspired and at home in the studio. That was my goal - an open-concept, sunlight-filled environment that has the vibes of a Montessori classroom for grown-ups, your favorite lifestyle boutique and chill downtown hangout all rolled into one. When you come in, you'll notice quickly that I'm a plant lady! I really believe we have an organic connection with our surroundings. We’re affected by the people and things that are around us and, we in turn constantly shape and recreate our physical world and our relationships. That’s what I love about interiors and why I’m passionate about crafting a vibrant and soulful one at All Hands.