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Jenna Wilson of Ace & Jig’s Textile-Filled Home

STORY BY RACHEL SCHWARTZMANN – FOLLOW JENNA – PHOTOS BY NICHOLAS PETER WILSON FOR THE STYLE LINE

Jenna Wilson’s home is made of interior poetry.

As a fashion designer, Jenna has made the most use out of her space to inspire creativity, and outside of her work-related endeavors, she also believes in the importance of creating an environment built on memories. As she mentioned in our interview below, “I guess that a place that feels safe is essential for most creation to happen. I have lived in all sorts of homes, but my favorite has been the least fancy and the most cramped… I want to wake up in a place that feels safe, warm and amongst the people and things I love.”

It’s easy to feel that way upon stepping through the threshold of her intimate space. A maximalist at heart, Jenna’s more-is-more aesthetic is artful and present in every corner of her Portland abode. Textiles from her brand Ace & Jig assume positions in both the closets and on the walls. What may otherwise be unoccupied nooks and crannies are instead adorned with artwork from her kids and thrifted treasures from her adventures around the world. This ever-growing collection of items serves as a liveable scrapbook featuring moments (both big and small) from Jenna’s adventure-filled life. And behind these objects are stories that are meant to evoke warmth and nostalgia for all those who set foot inside, and we instantly felt connected to this thoughtful approach during our recent visit.

While at her home, we got to catch up with Jenna since our last chat, who kindly delved more into her life in Portland along with how she’s using her creative platform as a designer to create a positive vehicle for change. Without giving too much away, enjoy our conversation with Jenna and take a tour of her gorgeous home featuring exclusive photos from our time together captured by Nicholas Peter Wilson for The Style Line.

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“It’s filled with color, textiles, textures, treasures, my kids’ art and creations. Nothing is precious, almost everything is inexpensive, thrifted or handed down. We use everything to the fullest and beat stuff up a ton. Functional, effortless and joyful like the clothing we make.”

Hi! I’m Jenna Wilson – Canadian gal living in

Portland, Oregon now after a long stint in New York. I’m a solo mom of two: Adah age 6 and James (JIG!) who just turned 9. We live a simple, colorful, chaotic life. We don’t have much and we don’t want much. My favorite days are ones filled with spontaneous adventures of all sorts: winter beach, berry picking, art galleries, food trucks, train rides, star gazing, picnics, rummaging through thrift stores, kitchen dance parties, library afternoons, and on and on. Textiles are poetry to me. I value peace.

From Brooklyn to Portland, Ace & Jig seems to take you all over the world. Why does Portland feel like home and how does it inspire you personally and professionally? 

I fell in love with Portland years ago and it keeps growing. I love the grey days, the overly abundant flora, the shabby houses, the food, walking everywhere, the activism, the artists. Definitely feels like home. The kindness of strangers happens a lot here and it inspires me to want to do better myself.

After long periods of travel when you return home what is the first thing you do or part of the space that you engage with?

I take a walk to the coffee shop around the corner and get a cup of tea and sit and read the newspaper. I walk my neighborhood. Make some art or origami at the kitchen table with my kids. Curl up in bed with my cats.

Talk to us about your current home. How does it embody your personal style, personality, and creative preferences?

It’s filled with color, textiles, textures, treasures, my kids’ art and creations. Nothing is precious, almost everything is inexpensive, thrifted or handed down. We use everything to the fullest and beat stuff up a ton. Functional, effortless and joyful like the clothing we make. My Ace & Jig is hanging on hooks in my bedroom or folded on shelves because I realized that for me hangers + closet =piles on the floor. So, in our house textiles are the art on the walls. And then you get to take that dress down off the wall and wear it. It warms you, it fills you with memories and cheer and nostalgia.

As a creative, why do you think it’s important to have a space that feels like home? Can you share any anecdotes that really speak to the role home has played in your life?

I guess that a place that feels safe is essential for most creation to happen. I have lived in all sorts of homes, but my favorite has been the least fancy and the most cramped (i.e., the most lived in and the least isolating). I want to wake up in a place that feels safe, warm and amongst the people and things I love.

[CLICK EACH THUMBNAIL IN THESE GALLERIES TO EXPAND IMAGE]

“I guess that a place that feels safe is essential for most creation to happen. I have lived in all sorts of homes, but my favorite has been the least fancy and the most cramped… I want to wake up in a place that feels safe, warm and amongst the people and things I love.”

What are your thoughts on the synergy between fashion and interior style and do you feel you have a similar approach to both your wardrobe and interior preferences? Do you think Ace & Jig would ever expand into this category?

We make home goods when the mood strikes – I have our quilts and pillows, flags and napkins strewn through my house. We also have collaborated with artists like Pauline Boyd of Counterpane and Lisa Dorr of Le Bouton to make really special one-of-a-kind home goods (out of our scrap textiles since we are a no waste company) – those are some of my favorite things. Much of my clothing hangs on my walls so there are definitely blurred lines between interiors and fashion in our little home.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

Cary and I had the amazing experience of speaking about our business this past winter at a design summit in Santa Fe… so maybe more about the business side of things? (PS – currently completely obsessed with the NPR podcast How I Built This).

How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role do you hope your creative play in this shift?

We have seen the power of clothing and textiles bring people together. There are so many stories of women meeting through a mutual love of Ace & Jig and becoming friends, meeting up and supporting each other. We have also started to mobilize our business to be a force for good. We have run over 20 fund-raisers in the past 12 months for nonprofits ranging from the ACLU and SPLC to a local Portland women’s shelter. We use our voice. We are pushing ourselves to be more sustainable in every way. We are holding events where women can swap and repair their clothing to extend the life of a garment. Our decisions are driven by the desire to make less stuff: let’s get better, not bigger. Our audience is engaged and cares and pushes and inspires us to continually improve.

How would you advise the next generation to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?

Oh man, I feel so ill-equipped to advise anyone! But I tell my kids: Simply doing what you love is not enough. Be kind and fight for what is right. Let that be your first love.