Sep. 23, 2014
When Esther comes into a room, you know she’s there, not because she’s loud or demanding, or stirring up a commotion, but because she has an energy you can feel, like sparks in the air. She’ll say hi to a co-worker, ask if someone needs help, move some fabric out the way, clear a space, all the while organizing her project before it starts, planning out the steps.
Although Esther has only been with Santa Fe Awning for 3 seasons, she has known Jeff forever, and has been sewing for decades. She has 5 sewing machines at home in addition to those she works on with us. Over the years she has made everything from broomstick skirts to leather purses, costumes for the Greer Garson Theater to contract work for catalogue companies like Coldwater Creek, private tailoring and period style coats. And as if that’s not enough, she also likes to teach sewing.
The shade sails Esther is working on are huge, and the rolls stretch the length of the long work table. At one end is a hot welder, a sort of sewing machine/heat sealer. It’s a tricky job, not just because there’s so much fabric to maneuver, and the finished heat sealed seam must be straight, but the fabric is a poly-mesh which stretches, and cuts across the weave make it much more difficult. Pull the fabric too much and the seam will leave a ripple or waffle in the fabric. Don’t pull it evenly or too quickly and the seams are not sealed properly. And while she manages this, she’s talking about all things she’s done in her life, telling jokes and making humorous, quirky observations which are infectious.
Before Jeff gets back to check on the finished shade sails, Esther has pounded in corner rings through the thick webbing on the perimeters with a hammer (“Miss and get your hand and it’s a problem!”), rolled up the sails, and clowned around with a vast green patio cover which nearly defies her attempts to roll up. Experience, self-assurance, great work and a healthy dose of hilarity make Esther go round. You’re the cat’s meow!