By Jen DeRose | Photographed by Elle Darcy
The Owner: Daria Boivin studied sculpture at Portland’s Maine College of Art, but has loved sewing since she was a kid selling her handmade quilts at the Common Ground Country Fair, in Unity. She was a fit specialist for a lingerie retailer and sold a line of fleece stuffed animals before launching her clothing and home-goods business in 2007.
The Vehicle: Tired of renting temporary studio spaces, Boivin sought a work-from-home solution. When a 2001 yellow Bluebird school bus appeared on Craigslist four years ago, she placed the winning $1,200 bid. She and a friend cut out the seats with a grinder and installed new faux-wood flooring, and Boivin recently painted the exterior taupe. When her Bristol yard heats up in summer, she opens the emergency door and ceiling hatch for ventilation; in winter, she fires up a secondhand woodstove. “It gets really toasty,” she says. “Almost like a cabin in the woods.”
What’s Inside: Industrial sewing and cutting machines; a custom metal table and, beneath it, bolts of organic, fair-trade fabric — cotton from California, linen from Europe, double gauze from India; an iron-pipe ceiling rack jammed with hanging paper patterns; and wire shelves stacked with finished garments and throw pillows.
We Love: Subtly patterned cotton-and-linen ikat and batik pillows in Boivin’s signature soft neutrals, fashionably wrinkled chambray-linen shirtdresses, and silky Tencel-fleece (made from wood pulp) cardigans, hoodies, and tunics with thumb holes. “They hug you all the way to your hands,” Boivin says.
The Owner: The daughter of a pastel artist and a restaurant owner, Brooke Knippa took classes at Portland Pottery while working as a manager at local restaurant Eventide. When Alison Evans, of Boothbay Harbor’s Ae Ceramics, began making plates for sister restaurant Hugo’s, Knippa offered to help. She worked for Evans for four years, including while launching her own company (now full-time gig) in 2013.
The Vehicle: A 1978 Airstream Caravanner with new faux-wood flooring and ivory seat covers Knippa and her husband bought from friends in 2016. They planned to crash in it for a few weeks while between houses, then sell it, but Knippa was smitten, telling her husband, “I hope you know we’re going to have this the rest of our lives.” She turned the trailer into a gallery on her Bowdoinham property in 2019 and opened it to customers by appointment last spring, when the pandemic cancelled her crafts shows.
What’s Inside: More than 100 pieces of Knippa’s whimsical, nature-inspired work, including mugs arrayed in the Airstream’s doorless cabinets, earrings (in glass specimen jars) and vases in beehive frames on the windowsills, and planters dangling from the shower rod.
We Love: Textured mugs and vases with 3D animals peering out from circular recesses, upside-down jellyfish-shaped pots with air plant “tentacles,” and Knippa’s generous spirit. She often sets up her pottery wheel under the Airstream’s canvas awning and performs customer demos. 4 Mallard Ln., Bowdoinham. 207-370-5729.