Giving jeans a second life: Artist creates beautiful pieces from recycled pants

(Jackson, Wyo.) - Clarissa Howard's family has always gone through a lot of jeans, which turned out to be the inspiration for her business. Howard was born and raised in La Barge, Wyoming, a small town about 100 miles south of Jackson in Lincoln County. When she was young, should would take her family's old jeans and sew them together to make quilts. "I started with just making jean quilts for my family and I really enjoyed working with jeans, so I started weaving as well," she said. Her mother and grandmother helped her learn to sew and her aunt taught her how to weave using a loom. When she took a business class in high school, she made this her mock business. After graduation, she expanded the business beyond quilts and began making rugs, placemats, potholders, backpacks and even flowers out of recycled jean material. [image: Inline image 1] *Clarissa Howard's booth at the Jackson Hole People's Market.* "I make everything from used jeans that usually get thrown away," said Howard. Now, she is licensed as a business in Wyoming and is expanding her sales. She started at a Bazaar in Big Piney and is now selling at the Jackson Hole People's Market. She reaches a national audience through her Etsy store. Now that her business has grown, she has to get materials from more than just her family. "I get jeans from second hand stores mostly. I have gone to a couple stores and asked for the jeans they can't sell," said Howard. "And I get boxes of jeans." You can check out Howard's business, Jeans 'N Things, at the Jackson Hole People's Market on Wednesdays from 4 - 7 p.m. at the base of Snow King Mountain. *Feature Photo: Clarissa Howard at the Jackson Hole People's Market.