Rocking Chair Ranch – Sewing
Article from the North Simcoe Community News
Dec 2010/January 2011
Rocking Chair Ranch – Sewing
Artisan Column —by Candy Potter
My husband has always wanted a real shearling hat and recently at the Orillia Farmer’s Market we found it. In the stall of Rocking Chair Ranch we admired sumptuous and cosy shearling mittens, hats and vests. We bought a hat there and he adores it! While I was talking to Carol McIsaac (the artist at Rocking Chair Ranch) I wondered if she could help me with a problem. I have a beautiful shearling coat that is way too big for me and no one will fix it because it requires specialized equipment and techniques. Apparently this was no problem for Carol and I brought my coat to her house. Well, I was to discover that solving the fashion dilemmas of Steve and me only scratches the surface of what Carol can do!
Carol can and does sew just about anything. Her saying is “no job is too big or too small, from horses to horsepower.” This saying hints at McIsaac’s specialities: horses: saddle covers and bags, hay bags, pommel and cantle bags and repairs to horse blankets. And horsepower: car upholstery and interiors. Presently Carol is popular with snowmobilers who need their seats repaired.
I was impressed by these industrial sewing applications, but of course I mostly have eyes for the fashion. Nothing beats shearling for warmth, comfort and beauty as we struggle through the Canadian winter and McIsaac’s creations stand out in so many ways. I learned that the patterns she uses for vests and coats are the original Lola Gentry patterns. She was the costume designer for Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie. The buttons on the vests are made by Rocking Chair Ranch from antler; they are stunning.
OK, as if this was not enough, Carol also creates popular quilts. Carol thinks challenging jobs are fun, likes to express her talent and creativity in a variety of ways and loves seeing people enjoy the fruits of her labour. This zeal for sewing projects is a reflection of Carol’s approach to life. She started sewing because she was a rider as a child but couldn’t afford the fancy clothes for horse shows that were for sale; so she bought patterns and figured out how to do it herself. She turned what looked like an obstacle into an opportunity. This approach foreshadowed something bigger to come...
Three years ago Carol broke her foot and found herself, as a result, unemployed. Most people would be defeated by such a blow but instead Carol found the opportunity. By taking advantage of the Self Employment Assistance (SEA) program to the fullest Carol was able to get the tools and support to start her own business.
Carol solves problems. So whether you need a problem solved (coat doesn’t fit, snowmobile seat torn), need things for your horse, or you just want to stay warm in style you should check out Rocking Chair Ranch. You can find Carol at the Orillia Farmer’s Market Craft Show every Saturday in December, on Facebook or online at www.rockingchairranch.ca.