Codi Josephson, 31, Iowa City
Co-owner @ Home Ec Workshop
Stop by Home Ec Workshop, the cozy craft boutique a few blocks north of Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall, and there’s a good chance you’ll run into Codi Josephson.
“I can’t even tell you how many hours I work here,” says Codi, who opened the shop with knitting buddy Alisa Weinstein in February. “We’re open every day, and then I teach classes… I can’t even put a number on it.” Not that’s she’s complaining. The shop is a dream come true for the longtime artist, teacher and craftster. It’s a place where people can find high-quality yarn, unique fabrics and other do-it-yourself supplies; rendezvous with friends for coffee, quiche and crafting; and learn new skills in almost daily classes on things like scarf knitting, screen printing and corduroy skirt making.
Merchandise fills the front of the store while the back features a workshop with sewing machines, industrial irons and a large cutting table. In between the two, a kitchenette/coffee bar offers hot drinks and made-from-scratch sweets and breakfast goodies from Iowa City caterer Heidi Anderson, aka Sugar Lovin’ Mama
“We were inspired by that old home ec classroom style,” says Codi. “I love the aesthetic of vintage style, but I also love that there’s a fresh and new way to use materials.”
Codi never really dreamed of owning her own business, or being her own boss, but she has always had a mission to spread her love of all things handmade.
“There’s something about the time invested in them, they’re just uniquely beautiful,” she says. “There are so many different things you can make. We’re so happy to help people learn.”
And there’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment that comes with DIY projects.
“You’re making something from nothing, and you see a very concrete result of your work: You’ve made something. You’ve accomplished something,” she says.
She’s learned this both from personal experience - her own home is filled with one-of-a-kind drapes and pillowcases, and she has fond memories of sewing skirts with her grandmother as a child – and from watching others.
Before opening Home Ec Workshop, Codi worked as a high school art teacher in Cedar Rapids and the Visual Art Coordinator at United Action for Youth in Iowa City. She’s also taught classes at Cornell College (her alma mater) and for the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. These days, she’s teaching an undergrad class at the University of Iowa, where she’s currently working toward a master’s degree in art education.
Sound like a busy life?
“I’m sleepy a lot,” Codi admits. But, again, she’s not complaining. It’s all a labor of love.
“I am really lucky that this is what my job is,” Codi says. “It’s really exciting.”
What’s in it for you: Stop denying the urge to DIY. Learn more about Home Ec. Workshop, and get a schedule of upcoming classes, at www.homeecworkshop.com
Did you know: Codi and her husband, John McWilliams, a 4th-grade teacher, have only one car and some days neither of them has to drive it. She almost always walks to work.