Heidi GagneNettyPreat was founded in 1987 in Harwich on Cape Cod while I was still in high school. I have always loved being in the woods the most and there were not a lot of woods one could get lost in where I lived that I can recall. I did find one place though next to a cranberry bog that had enough of a wooded area that I could hide out in to get away from it all and think. I went there often and always alone until one time I brought a good friend there with me. Soon as we entered the little copse he looked around then said "Hey this is netty preat." I laughed aloud not at him but with him. So from then on my little refuge became known as Netty Preat and was one of my most favorite places to be. When I was trying to find a name for my creative work it just seemed natural to bring that name back into use again. It is even more dear now that I live very far from my little copse on Cape Cod. I have found many more forest hideaways but none will ever be as special as that first one.

In the beginning NettyPreat was only creating tie-dye t-shirts I would sell during the gorgeous Cape Cod summers. I loved unwrapping each shirt to see what the final design looked like. I did some shirts for a local band a few times - Tripp Lullaby - and I sold them at their shows. I always sold out and then after I was able to enjoy the show with my friend Jay. Mostly though I sold to strangers that had seen my work and came to me via word of mouth often. I also sold some to friends of friends from time to time. However life always changes and after high school I moved back in with my mother for a year and then moved onto Texas finally out on my own. My creative pursuits took quite a hiatus for a while as I tried other areas of interest including automotive repair, house restoration, learning more about living with the land largely from old Mother Earth News magazines I had discovered, and many other pursuits. I worked at a plethora of interesting jobs and always enjoyed what I was doing - especially my job as a maintenance technician for a condominium - but I always wanted to get back into creative pursuits again.

In 1998 - 8 years after high school - my hiatus ended when my mother sent me a computer and told me about the internet. I had no idea what it was but I was curious to find out so I found a dial up internet provider and logged on for the first time. I felt like a kid in a candy store with everything that I was seeing. I quickly learned I could not only read it but I could add to it. I set about learning how to make a website by learning how to code HTML. I found many sources of free graphics but I wasn't ever really satisfied with them so I started to learn how to make my own graphics so I would get exactly the look I wanted for my website. That started a pattern of using the internet to learn new things that were of interest to me.

That learning led me back to my creative pursuits. I found many websites with information on jewelry making which is something else I loved to do. From there I found information on making things with polymer clay, resin, stained glass paints and so on. I also rekindled my love for making tie-dye shirts. In 2006 I found YouTube and found more creative information there that I could learn from. I can learn in many ways but in creative pursuits it seems video is the best way for me. Pictures with text descriptions come a close second. Now NettyPreat Designs is many more things than just tie-dye shirts. It has been a wondrous journey and one not yet finished...