Our MissionTo create beautiful and artistic growth charts, in an earth friendly way, that allow families to easily mark moments in time.
How It Began
I will never forget when my son said, "Mommy....I picked you as my mommy before I was born." How's that for saying something memorable?
Kids say and do the most amazing things. And every day with my kids brought more magical moments like this one. I tried keeping a scrapbook because I loved photography, but at the end of the first year, I had two whole scrap-booking pages completed.
"A journal!" I thought. Surely I could (and would) write everything down that mattered. Well, at the end of a year, I had four journal entries. Not what I would call a huge success.
All along I had been keeping height marks of my children the old fashioned way....on a door jam. But we were going to renovate (lead paint in the old New England home), so I copied them down and vowed to find a growth chart that went with our family décor. And what happened for me...with this growth chart installed in my space was nothing short of miraculous. Not only did I capture height marks when it mattered, I also had a journal that hung on my wall!
Every time my kids did something memorable, I picked up a pen and wrote it down.
My neighbors loved our growth chart so much that they began requesting different designs. At the time, I was one of three master trophy fish carvers in the world and a four-foot tall, meticulously carved and painted fish was leaning against the wall in my painting studio. Standing next to it, Nathan (age two) was dwarfed by the piece. Struck by the contrast, Evelyn said, “Nathan, you’ll have to eat a lot of protein if you want to be as tall as that fish!”
That was the moment Headwaters Studio was born. I had been searching in vain for an elegant growth chart that I could hang in my kitchen -- a piece of artwork that would maintain its beauty and relevance even as my children grew up. Growth charts mark individual moments in time and capture our memories. I wanted to design growth charts that were so cool, that if the house were burning down, it would be something you’d grab on your way out.
And it was Headwaters Studio and the blessing of creating heirlooms for others that brought me through the worst experience of my life.
In 2012, my husband was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Seven months later, he died leaving our family bereft and me with two young children. Being able to work in my business during the difficult years that followed was a blessing because I got to experience all the love my customers had for the children and grandchildren in their lives. And making them something special filled my cup.
Today, HWS is a family run business that caters to the celebration of life, family and friends. We know how precious every moment is.
Ellen McCaleb Founder & CEO, Artist-In-Chief
lover of color / mom to two / trophy fish carver
Shop Manager, Customer Service
boy mommy to three / best customer service person ever
Designer, Manager Graphics Dept.
mom / designer / food lover
Wood Shop / Production
Veteran / Son / Friend
chief shop dog / snack stealer extraordinaire
Our Core Values
SIMPLE IS BETTER: Life seems to flow when things are simple. At Headwaters Studio, we started with the imperative that our products be made in the USA. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing how a growing business impacts a community. And, unlike many factories in other countries, we do not dump our waste into the river out back… no two-headed frogs here.
DO NO HARM... to the environment or people. As such, we make products that last a lifetime. They won’t spoil, go bad, or fall apart in hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic or be tossed in a landfill. All of our products are printed on birch plywood. Birch is the fastest growing hardwoods, which is why birch plywood is one of the most sustainable wood products on the market. Our inks are solvent-free and UV cured. And, the final special sauce that makes our beautiful satin finish, well, that’s a green product too.
CREATIVE DESIGN: Have you ever cleaned out your closets? Well then, you’ve come across things you’ve outgrown. Things that just don’t fit anymore. We wanted to design products that would hang in homes well past the date when the children who used them leave the nest. Timeless. In many cases, real art prints by real working artists.
GIVE BACK: We believe that our work should contribute to others beyond the value of simply offering a terrific product. That’s why Headwaters Studio donates 10% to child-centric non-profits.