As President of Swans Island, Bill Laurita is involved in every aspect of the company — from blanket design to keeping the looms running and managing the creative team of staff and artisans. Bill touches every part of the business and his enthusiasm for the company’s commitment to handcrafted excellence is contagious. It’s not surprising that a customer in the Swans Island showroom recently remarked, “Gee, you’re really excited about all of this stuff!”
Bill’s enthusiasm is part of a lifelong passion for craft. Since childhood, Bill has been enthralled by the plasticity of different mediums and the creative process. After a teaching and administrative career in both public and Waldorf schools, Bill moved to Swans Island, Maine, in order to learn hand weaving and natural dyeing. Having worked extensively with wood, steel and copper, Bill brings the full force of his creativity, fine craftsmanship, and experience to wool yarn and natural dyes. Most recently, Bill designed and developed Swans Island’s newly expanded natural dye house.
Bill has been married to his wife, Jody, for 32 years. Having renovated four homes, they now live in a craftsman cottage, nestled between the ocean and the mountains of Camden, Maine. They have two grown children and a granddaughter.
Michele Rose Orne
Michele Rose Orne, Partner and Knit Design Director for Swans Island, has been designing hand knits for over 25 years. She brings a rich combination of passion and experience to Swans Island’s line of all-natural, hand-dyed yarns and timeless patterns that are inspired by classic favorites and daily life along the coast of Maine.
After graduating from Yale University in 1985 with majors in fine arts and economics, Michele spent several years in the garment industry in New York designing knitwear for many major retailers. She has also worked as a freelance designer in the handknitting industry since then, contributing hundreds of patterns to major national magazines, knitting books and yarn companies.
Michele moved to Maine in 1990 where she continued her design career until the birth of her fourth child in 2002. After taking a few years off to focus on being a mom, she published Inspired to Knit (2008), which was her reentrance into the world of hand knitting design. Michele lives in Camden, Maine, with her husband Matt, four children, and various other domestic creatures.
Before founding the creative juggernaut known as Tether, Inc., Stanley was Vice President Global Creative for Starbucks, where he oversaw all creative aspects of the brand: from new products, packaging systems and seasonal promotions to brand campaigns and advertising. Stanley also spent twelve years at Nike as a Creative Director, working on everything from product launches to the Olympics. After Nike, he moved to Denmark to join the Lego Company as their Global Creative Director. There he directed a total visual overhaul of the brand from top to bottom, including packaging, website, and retail and brand stores.