story and photos by michael prochaska
Most of us give little thought to the natural color of a russet, wooden shelf or an aging windowpane slowly losing its snowy shade. But nothing irritates Madison resident Montana Smith more than an eroding or bland color of a once luminous piece of furniture.
“You can do a lot of little things that people never think to do to make stuff look completely different,” she says of a once solid, white table that now sports a bright, golden square. It matches the yellow walls of her small dining room and decorated doorknobs that give life to the old and quaint. Though her house flaunts many colors, Smith’s affinity for vivid paints goes way beyond home furnishings and décor.
Smith’s constantly eyeing recycled clothing and digging through the vintage treasures of antique stores for inspiration on her next project.
So what does she do, exactly?
Well, Smith works at Godfrey’s Feed during the day after having graduated several years ago with a degree in equine science and agriculture. But after hours, she’s sewing and matching and designing, but most of all, innovating.
Smith makes her own hand painted signs, handbags and clutches out of recycled materials such as T-shirts, placemats and used fabrics.
Placemats make good clutches while plaids make good bags, she says. But clothes at Goodwill are the jackpot.
“I love the idea that old things can once again be beautiful, and I find it easy for me to see something that might look like trash to someone else and re-invent it into something inspiring,” she posts on her blog.
Her items range a spectrum of pink, teal and green floral, among others. As of now, Smith sells her homemade bags on consignment in Statesboro and on a website called “etsy,” but she hopes to one day run her own gift shop. Bags typically run between $10 and $20 and can be custom made out of almost anything. You can find her items at www.etsy.com/shop/saramontanas.