Beth Ann Whittiker, and I formed Matrushka in 2002 with the idea of exploring different possibilities of design and fashion. We wanted to combine our love of nature, travel, and fashion with our store. We had the idea of going to different exotic locations and making clothes to be sent back to LA and sold at Matrushka. For the first experiment I went to Camp Nelson California in the Sequoia National Forest. It is a remote mountain village surrounded for miles, and miles by trees. A good friend of mine had just started a non-profit called “WildPlaces” in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I rented a cabin and lived in the small town of Camp Nelson. I rented the old Post Office in the main part of “town” which consisted of a bar, a market, and a hardware store with a population of 150. I brought as much fabric as my car could hold, 2 industrial sewing machines, and proceeded to get to work. The people of the town thought I was nuts, but soon developed an affection for me, thank god they didn’t run me out of town! Everyday I would show up at my little store and make pieces to be sent back to Los Angeles to be sold. Then in the afternoons I would go exploring either on foot or mule, which seemed to be a popular mode of transportation. I stayed there for 2 months and sold enough pieces in my little shop in the mountain to even cover my rent! It was an amazing experience, and I will never forget.