Mara Nelson has worked with fabric for almost 50 years and has upholstered West Marin furniture through her shop in Point Reyes Station for over 30 years. David Briggs

An invitation to move to Inverness in 1971 opened an unexpected door for Mara Nelson, then a 23-year-old early childhood education graduate from Illinois. For nearly five decades now, Ms. Nelson has relied on her skill with fabric—which she first tested sewing doll clothes at the age of 9—to carve out a living in West . . .

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