Sue Reed is the talented artist and seamstress behind the brand Dreamscape Studio, which specializes in custom, unique, and individualized handbags, wallets, purses, and more. Based in Ootischenia, the community on the eastern side of the Columbia River across from Castlegar, Sue designs accessories using a variety of materials from vinyl and leather to cork that’s specially imported from Portugal. She has been sewing since she was seven years old and turned her attention to creating personalized bags a decade ago.

We caught up with Sue as part of our monthly series that celebrates and showcases local artists to discover how she got into sewing and what she loves most about it.

“The Guardian” backpack done with a custom print panel.

Hi Sue. You’re in Castlegar, right? Did you grow up here?

Yes, we live on an acreage in Ootischenia and absolutely love it. We moved here in 2012 from Kelowna to open our family restoration business. We have never looked back and always say we should have made the move sooner.

Every one of Sue’s creations has a personalized message inside.

What’s your favourite part about living in the region.

I love how green it gets here in the spring and summer, and the fact we’re surrounded by mountains. And the people are so friendly, we’ve gotten to meet so many. Also, it’s so awesome to be able walk out our front door, jump on the quad or Side-by-Side and take off on the many trails surrounding us.

His & her toiletry bags done as an anniversary gift.

How did you get started in design?

I have been sewing since I was seven years old when my mom taught me on my great grandmother’s sewing machine. I have never stopped and have made everything from doggy apparel, wedding and bridesmaid gowns, custom adult clothing, and I had a children’s clothing line for a few years when my kids were born. I have always loved the fashion industry and handbags go hand-in-hand and are the final piece to complete the outfit. So my next step was obvious and I started making handbags about 10 years ago. It’s my passion.

A custom order of the Rudeneja bag and the Kuoria iPad case modelled by a friend of Sue’s.

What are your favourite types of accessories to create?

There are so many! I love making all styles of handbags, of course, but I also make toiletry bags for both men and women out of leather and cork from Portugal. I will usually add some embroidery as well if it is suitable. Same with men and women’s wallets — I have personalized both.


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What’s different about accessory design versus other forms of artistic endeavours?

I am lucky enough to work with different materials that make each bag or product unique and one of a kind. I can have custom printed vinyls made specifically for me, as well as genuine cork from Portugal and leather. Each piece of hardware I choose is specific to the bag I’m creating and of the best quality.

The Zephyr wallet.

What do you do when you’re not working?

My husband and I have 2 sons and a daughter. We are a very close family, so I love spending any spare time I have with them. We also enjoy riding our quad and side-by-side on the trails around us.

Sue with her urban tote.

What’s your advice to kids wanting to get into accessory design and creation?

I actually used to teach kids to sew and I taught my three as well. Best advice is to start simple. As you get comfortable with sewing and following a pattern, try something a little more difficult and working with other materials. Keep at it, experience teaches you skills. There are no mistakes, just lessons learned. Each piece is unique so make it your own. And always remember, have fun and let your creative juices flow.

Customized men’s toiletry bag made of waterproof canvas.

Where can we learn more about your work?

If you want to see my products in person visit the Yes Please Artisan Gift Shop in downtown Castlegar. They carry all my product. I also set up at the Castlegar Annual Trade Show in April, except this past one. I took a bad fall and broke my kneecap and couldn’t participate unfortunately. But I will be there next year for sure. I also have a Facebook page and Instagram feed, which I post to when I complete a product. I do have a website which is in the works as we speak and hopefully will be up and running shortly.