Editor’s note: this blog post originally appeared on 03/09/2016

 

Joanne Jones believes the past is, in fact, the future.

“My family is Mennonite, and throughout their history they have passed along pieces of furniture that have meant a lot over the years,” the Cambridge, Ontario designer explains. “So not only do these pieces carry stories from the past, but they also become a part of my life and my family’s future.”

As the founder of mined reCREATIONS, Joanne ensures her products are an embodiment of her mantra by using quality reclaimed clothing to create one-of-a-kind handcrafted designer accessories to suit her diverse clientele’s unique styles.

“Once a person has worn out a piece of clothing, then its purpose has been served, but the story doesn’t end there,” adds Joanne. “By repurposing and redesigning it into something new, you’re writing a new narrative for it in a different form.”

She allows potential customers to follow suit by repurposing clothing items of sentimental value, such as an old varsity jacket or wedding dress, and transforming them into a Memory Bag in one of 22 available styles. She adds: “It’s better than just letting them collect dust!”

 

Joanne-Jones-02-Memory-Bag-LG

Memory bag by mined reCREATIONS

 

Joanne also believes that one’s past shouldn’t necessarily dictate his or her future.

“I am where I am now not necessarily because of my accomplishments or my talents, but more so because of where I was born and how I look,” says Joanne. “To me, having those natural advantages isn’t fair, so I need to make sure I use those advantages to help others.”

Those beliefs led her to devote the work produced at mined reCREATIONS as a means to provide funds for the education of young women and men in developing nations and communities. Joanne and her colleagues Tania Pickard and Trish Lamb have volunteered their talents on a full-time basis, raising more than $97,000 since 2005. Presently, they sponsor nine students hailing from South Africa, Lesotho, Tanzania, and inner city Winnipeg, respectively.

 

Current students sponsored by mined reCREATIONS (L-R) - Yusuph (Tanzania), Amani (Tanzania), Joyce (South Africa/Lesotho) and Nawasa (Tanzania)

Pictured from left to right, current students sponsored by mined reCREATIONS are: Yusuph (Tanzania), Amani (Tanzania), Joyce (South Africa/Lesotho) and Nawasa (Tanzania).

 

With a formal education in political science, and a natural talent for sewing that has been honed since age five, Joanne’s ventures with mined reCREATIONS could perhaps be seen as predestined. However, her message reaches far beyond what she has accomplished so far.

“Sometimes, for simplicity, we tend to remove ourselves from a situation by holding onto stereotypes, but we need to challenge ourselves to really get to know someone,” says Joanne. “We need to see people as complex individuals worthy of being known.”

No matter where in the world you are – past, present, or future – that will always be a noble message to live by.

 

Find Joanne Jones’ mined reCREATIONS at the 30th annual Originals – The Spring Craft Sale in booth 418 at the EY Centre from March 31 to April 3, 2016.