A Reverie for Linen: Founders Notes

A Reverie for Linen: Founders Notes

Jan, Ambrosia's founder, is a child of the 60's who was a pioneer in upcycling and minimalism way before it became Tik Tok trendy. Her love for gardening and green thumb have always been integral to her life, fostering a strong connection with the Earth. Jan's unwavering commitment to sustainability is what drives Ambrosia Bags, as she strives to make a positive impact on the planet, one bag at a time. 

Here's her story on the beginnings of Ambrosia bags, her creative inspiration and how linen weaves throughout it all.

1. How did you start on this journey of creating Ambrosia produce bags?

The simple answer is, I wanted the convenience of a zip lock bag that wasn’t plastic. In 2013 my garden was abundant with lettuces, basil, cucumbers, and lots of beans and I needed a way to store it that would keep it from spoiling too fast.

I refused to store my fresh veggies in plastic for a number of reasons, so the only alternative was to make the bag of my desire.

The truth is, it was a family tradition to store fresh vegetables in damp linen tea towels to keep them hydrated and alive.

The first linen produce bags were made on my industrial sewing machine for myself and to give to family and friends….that was it…end of story….so I thought!

I probably would have stopped there if it weren't for my son who was a great cook and who loved using my linen bags and for my neighbor who insisted that I share my linen bags with the world!

2. What led you to working with linen?

I’ve always had an affinity with linen. My favorite childhood memories are watching my grandmother sew matching linen blouses and dresses for my sister and I. I loved how the linen felt against my skin and how the linen moved with my body.

I started sewing very young…geeze over 60 years ago. Cotton was the most accessible and affordable but I managed to collect a lot of linen over the years. Sewing with linen gives me a sensation that's profound and hard to describe. 

Did you know that natural fibers have a vibration, a frequency that can be measured, Linen being of the highest frequency…..it makes sense why it’s so valued!

I have always regarded linen as special but I didn’t realize how special until the magic began with the Ambrosia bags.

3. What do you love about linen? 

Perhaps my childhood memories or simply intuition gave me the insight that flax linen was more than a textile.  

I loved learning about the inherent beneficial properties and the eco friendly nature of growing flax. I found myself diving into the chemistry and molecular structure of flax. I wanted to find the answer why linen had preserving qualities. I was intrigued by flax being a vegetable fiber, which I considered the perfect symbiosis…. a vegetable fiber preserving vegetables.

Linen became an obsession which led me down a path of study, research and travel to Scotland, Belgium and Holland, immersing myself in the amazing world of linen. 

Aside from its physical features that are so pleasing, I love the ancient stories of linen dating back to the Upper Paleolithic period, 30,000 years ago…. but that’s a whole other chapter to share another time.

4. Where did the design inspiration for the Ambrosia bags come from?

I loved the idea of using an ancient textile that could solve a modern day problem of food waste.  I found myself not only thinking as a creator but as a consumer. 

I actually had no idea what I was about to embark upon but what I did know was my linen produce bag was special so it needed a unique feature that would make it stand out, which is how I came up with the idea of using recycled colored zippers. 

The first proto type bags were actually made with printed linen remnants. They were pretty but I wanted the bags to be as natural as possible. The raw flax linen was a reach back in time and the colored zippers gave the bag a modern classy contrast with the raw natural look.

 5. What are some other creative ways people can adopt Ambrosia bags into their everyday lives?

That's funny you ask, the most unusual was a lady who told me she used her mushroom and berry bag as her travel cosmetic bag. She said the linen prevented the scent of her aromatic ayurvedic face products from penetrating the clothes in her luggage….just another quality of linen….and another linen story to tell!

Technically, you can use the mushroom and berry bag to store potatoes, yams, onions, garlic and even tomatoes BUT outside the refrigerator. And FYI…our design board is full of new creations yet to unveil.

6. What are some other areas of your life that you draw creativity from?

I love nature and color so growing flowers in my yard has been my canvas for many years.  Of course working with textiles is my all time favorite.

It’s fun to think about my creative likes.  My past endeavors range from designing stained glass windows and pottery to creating original design shirts, back in the day, for Loggins and Messina band members, to making jewelry with stone and minerals with healing properties and using the old wire technique used to make rosaries.

I like to write and given the time and space I’d like to write a few short books about life and reflection. 
The first titled “Blood Ties and Bottom Lines” 
About a mother and son business adventure navigating the complexities of their intertwined personal and professional lives. 
In truth, my deep calling is to write my memoir, “Unbroken Path” an adventure story about a girls perseverance and her preservations as a woman. 
My final thoughts….
Life is beyond complex yet so simple given that intention [stretching purpose] is the means of manifestation. 
Ambrosia is my proof and testament!