AT THE HEART OF EVERY HOT SKWASH IS THE MARRIAGE OF NATURE AND DESIGN.
When a "Hot Skwasher" creates each unique gift, she looks at the silky velvet pumpkin body that has been hand cut, hand sewn and hand filled, and she begins that magical process of selecting just the right real stem to make a true work of art. "A thick one? Twisty? More speckled or smooth?" Only she knows. Keeping our women well stocked with outstanding stems is a labor of love that is core to our business. Hot Skwash partners with local farmers of pumpkins, squash and gourds to glean their woody stems and create unique works of decorative art. Every harvest is different and each of our farmers takes great pride in growing the best. Decades of choosing just the right seeds, knowing the right location and the right time to plant contributes to an ever changing journey with mother nature that we are privileged to take. From Woodburn to West Linn to Sauvie Isand, Oregon, we have developed long lasting wonderful relationships with honest, hardworking, conscientious tenants of the land. We have evolved from cleaning up their unwanted stems from the barn floors to creating ongoing fruitful business relationships where we share our successes together. This is why we do what we do. Developing local businesses that share mutual success is key to making our world a better place.
Once an artist, always an artist. It started in childhood and continued through motherhood with no evidence of the passion ever diminishing. A self-proclaimed “textile junkie” and avid knitter, Daria has always yearned to combine texture and color; to blend nature with the manmade. The world provided her inspiration and materials. Her role would be to put them together in interesting and beautiful ways. Back in the 1990’s, Daria’s creative momentum formed as she entered into the exciting time of motherhood. What began as custom knit pins, hats, scarves and sweaters that she showcased in her home to friends and family, quickly expanded into handbags from high-end home decor brocades, silks and velvets. Her community loved them, and her desire to create continued to flourish. Always paying attention to all her surroundings, she’d find new elements to blend into her pieces. And then on one ordinary day, Daria was shopping at a small boutique and came across a fabric pumpkin. The first seed of Hot Skwash by Daria inspiration would take root, and the rest … is our story.
Every business adventure and artistic inspiration has a story. Most entrepreneurs set out to build a business. “I didn’t”, chuckles Daria Knowles. “I was looking for something to feed my creative appetite and contribute financially to my family in a way that still allowed me to be a present and active Mom.” As a mother with young children Daria was always sewing drapes, making pillows or knitting something for the kids. She was a busy mommy, active in the community and volunteering at school. It was around this time that Daria came across the pumpkin idea while shopping. She found a fabric pumpkin with a crude , natural stem and knew that it could be turned into something very special. She began to play with the idea of selling some of her crafts to friends and family. This would allow her to stay home with the kids and earn a little money. The community quickly supported the idea and the “home shows” began. She grins and shakes her head modestly “It kind of just evolved. I’m constantly amazed by how far we’ve come. I never set out to be a business owner, I just wanted to create beautiful things.”
To create the highest quality collectible art that enhances the spirit and energy of your home, stands the test of time, and most importantly, invites you and your guests to smile. We believe that family does not have to be sacrificed for prosperity, which is why we’re so proud of our roots. A cottage business that supported local West Linn, Oregon mothers who needed additional income and the work flexibility to support their children’s schedules and family priorities. We believe that everything we do makes a mark on this planet, and therefore it is our responsibility to make sure that we reduce our impact on the earth and give back what we take in a sustainable way through the careful selection of materials. We believe that the best of innovations surround highly flexible and collaborative teams. We want to stick to what we do best and to support local community partners whenever possible.