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Carrie Schenck pieces it all together

Carrie Schenck outside of the Perham house she purchased for her quilting and massage therapy businesses.1 / 2
Quilter and massage therapist Carrie Schenck with her industrial size quilting machine.2 / 2

If it's a complicated quilt design--or a sciatic condition--Carrie Schenck has the solution.

With a massage therapy business running alongside a quilting business, Schenck has found a way to balance two of her greatest passions, all while making a living off of them.

Although she currently lives in Wadena, Schenck has transformed a Perham residence into a spacious environment to run her quilting and massage businesses out of. The house is located at 237 4th Street SW. She plans to permanently move to Perham this summer, and continue to work out of the house.

In the basement is Schenck's 12-foot-long quilting machine. It has a large table and roller system. The sewing machine itself is secured to a frame with a bearing system, helping to keep the quilts stable while the machine is moved to create the designs on the quilts.

On the main level of the house, Schenck has converted two bedrooms into massage rooms. She has found that many people enjoy the opportunity to get a massage in a quiet neighborhood, free from the often loud salon environments with their chemical odors.

A spring and summertime bonus Schenck is excited for her clients to utilize is an extensive perennial garden, located in the backyard. "It's a fine place to relax and renew before going out to tackle the tasks of the day," Schenck says.

Although she's been quilting since she was 16 years old, Schenck just recently decided to pursue a career in massage therapy. "I've always been interested in health and alternative healing methods," Schenck explains.

After a combination of chiropractic treatment and massage helped her resolve a painful sciatic condition, Schenck developed an interest in how massage techniques can be used to benefit the body. Last May, she graduated from massage therapy school.

"A lot of us aren't that aware of our bodies," she says. "Massage helps you get more aware."

Schenck says that she's always been interested in the therapeutic aspects of massage. She is currently studying Myofascial Release and Bowenwork. Schenck explains that both of these treatments involve specific work with soft tissue to encourage muscles to return to their normal relaxed state.

Bowenwork, a nationally board-certified massage therapist, works with the electrical system in the body. It is especially beneficial for people with chronic soft tissue injury. By the end of January, Schenck will be a certified Bowenwork instructor.

She also offers chair massage, where she takes a specialized massage chair to a workplace environment and offers onsite massages to employees. Another option Schenck offers is Reiki, a Japanese technique for relaxation. She is available for massage by appointment.

Her other business, artisan quilting, has also led Schenck to explore new territory--this time in the quilting sector. After making her first quilt at age 16, Schenck was hooked on the hobby, now turning it into a successful business.

"The journey has been an interesting trail of quilt construction classes, many books read, and many quilts pieced and quilted on a home sewing machine," Schenck recalls of the journey that led her to pursue quilting as a business.

Although she's been quilting for decades, Schenck has only had her industrial quilting machine for the past few years. In order to familiarize herself with the machine, she started out by donating many hours of free quilting to a Brainerd quilt guild that was making lap quilts for community service.

Once she had mastered the complicated machine, she started charging customers for her quilting services. Schenck does heirloom techniques including feathers, ferns, and something called "McTavishing" which she learned from Karen McTavish in Duluth. She continues to take classes to improve her quilting knowledge.

Her favorite part of the quilt making process is designing the quilts, which range in size from small baby quilts to full size adult quilts. There's also the enjoyment that comes from being able to work in a peaceful, residential environment.

Whether it's completing a complicated quilt in her basement, or helping someone relieve muscle tension in an upstairs massage room, Schenck's new Perham house is the perfect place for both business and relaxation.