Journey 2020: Shantilla Nash has knack for creating exciting new designs

By BY RECARDO THOMAS STAFF REPORTER,

If you are ever looking for something that is simply unique, then you should probably look no further than Shantilla Nash.

We all know that Indianola and Sunflower County are loaded with talented people of all sorts, and Nash’s name definitely needs to be on that list.

The self-taught seamstress has stitched her creativity and her love for crafts together and turned them into a full-time vocation. “I got started by decorating my home,” she said. And when people started seeing what she could do, the phone calls started coming in and the requests for decorative and custom items took off.

Nash’s knack for creating unique designs and such is not something she’s had to spend countless years developing, it simply comes naturally. “It's just something I picked up. I went to the store and got a sewing machine and started making my daughter's clothes and it took off from there,” she said.

Even though she has only been sewing for about two years, Nash has developed a strong following and her clientele list is constantly growing. Recently she was contracted to produce masks for medical personnel on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nash said, “So many people were  in-boxing me, because I do a lot of seamstress work anyway, asking me was I making masks. I wasn't at the time, but I had a call from Hattiesburg, the hospital, one of the ladies from the hospital called and asked me about a mask, so I started making them.”

Not only were hospitals and other personal care facilities calling for the masks but individual citizens also. She said the masks are made out of a 100 percent cotton material and either have a pocket on the inside where a filter can be inserted (which is how she designed the ones for the hospital, so the filters can be swapped out daily), or they have a filter sewn into the middle of the fabric. "CDC-95 filters," she said. According to her, she can produce a mask in around 15 to 20 minutes. She credits Pam Chatman, local mentor and consultant, with helping her acquire the filter material needed to make the masks. “I put them out there and I just went from there,” she said.

The masks and many of the other items that she produces are usually themed for everything from cancer awareness to sports logos.

In addition to the masks, Nash said she has also been contracted to sew surgical gowns and caps for various medical care facilities.

Although making items for assisting with the coronavirus issue is her main focus at the moment, Nash produces her unique crafts all throughout the year. "Whatever season it is, I always do something during that season."

From wreaths for all occasions to Easter baskets and everything in between, Nash is always sewing and creating. “Also, I decorate for parties (and) weddings. I just do all types of crafts.”

Out of the variety of custom requests that she gets, Nash said being asked to do the hospital gowns and prom dresses have to be the most unusual.

She had plenty of orders for prom gowns this spring, but with the schools being closed and all of the activities being canceled, she had to return all of the deposits.

“It is a loss for me, but I know God will give me more,” she said.

Although she helps out at a local personal care facility, Nash said distributing her creations has become her full-time job and it all got started when she decided to sew some dresses for her daughters.

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