We always love when our crafters have a lot to say about themselves, the craft world, and how they ended up crafting the person they've turned into now. Michelle from Geeky Caticorn was kind enough to let us in on a few personal goals and how she came to be the geek you see before you. See what she has to say about her crafting journey.
GCX: What or who first peaked your interest in arts and crafts?
GCM: I've always loved to draw, but it was my grandmother who first got me into crafting. She used to crochet and paint and when I was about 8 or 9 she taught me how to crochet, getting me hooked on crafting. She would always encourage me with drawing and always made sure I had blank sheets of paper and crayons. When I showed interest in crocheting, she was more than happy to teach me.
GCX: Why did you decide that you would make a specific type of craft?
GCM: I couldn't decided on any one type of craft because there are so many amazing crafts out there that I want try, but I do try to limit myself so I don't get overwhelmed. I love cute things and so I love to create cute things. I love creating my own patterns for my plushies, and the creative process that goes along with making resin charms and decoden phone cases. I love creating my own amigurumi patterns and watching as the amigurumi comes to life. The thing I love most is the process of creation.
GCX: How do you feel about the artisan crafting community and their ability to benefit from GeekCraft Expo?
GCM: I am so super excited about it! I thinks it's just fantastic that there's finally a craft expo that focuses on geek culture. I always find that there's never enough geekery at craft fairs and bazaars. I love that with GeekCraft Expo, you don't have to wait for a convention to get some awesome handmade geeky goodness! I especially love that it focuses completely on the artists and artisans.
GCX: We believe in the success of our crafters and want to make sure the main attraction is their creations.
GCX: Are you from the Portland area? If not originally, what brought you here?
GCM: I am from the Portland area and have lived here my entire life, except that one year I spent freezing in Alaska. I love living in the Pacific Northwest and couldn't imagine living anywhere else!
GCX: What is your favorite thing about creating your product and being able to sell it to people personally vs. through sites like Etsy?
GCM: I don't think I have any one favorite thing about the creation process, I love the entire process from start to finish. I get so excited watching my idea take physical form, it drives me to hurry and finish because I want to see what it's going to look like completed.
I do prefer selling at physical venues versus online, I love interacting with people. I love seeing the smiles when they walk up to my table or booth and see everything I have to offer. Even if they don't buy anything, I love the interaction and the feedback. One of the other things I love about it, is getting to geek out with other fans.
GCX: What is the story of how you got to this point (beginning to now)?
GCM: I didn't realize it until recently, but my creative journey all started when I was a kid with my grandmother. She taught me to crochet, taught me to paint and always encouraged me to draw. Her and my grandfather would always attend craft bazaars and on occasion, I would get to go. Seeing all those amazing artists and artisans, selling their creations helped to inspire me, I always thought it would be the coolest thing to help support myself and my family by selling my art.
I eventually learned to sew in home ec and continued to draw and crochet. After high school, I got a job and went to a few trade schools, tried a few things there, but nothing really stuck or felt right. It just didn't make me happy, but I had a child to support, and it was too risky trying to support the two of us on irregular paycheck, so I stuck with my job, I had good benefits and got paid well. I continued to draw, sew and crochet here and there, but it was more a hobby at that point. A few years ago, I read about this new form of crochet called amigurumi and when I saw how cute the dolls were, I immediately took up crochet again. Then, I discovered decoden and fell in love! I loved how everything was so bright and colorful and how it looks like decorated cake frosting, shortly after, I started sewing again, but this time, I wanted to try making my own plush. I tried to come up with a simple pattern of something to create,thus, my first ninjas were born! I had forgotten how happy creating made me and about five years ago, with all these little amigurumi, decoden frames and ninjas floating around my house, I decided to apply to my first artisan market. I had such a great time and such a fun experience, I decided to look for other venues to sell in.
It had been recommended that I try selling at anime conventions. So four years ago, I applied to my first anime con in Seattle, it was a small con and I'm so glad it was, if Sakura con had been my first con, I think I would have been so overwhelmed and so under-prepared, I'm pretty sure I would have gotten discouraged. It's just been within the last two years that I've really gotten serious about my art and have been putting more focus on it. Next year, I plan on taking the biggest risk of my life. I'm quitting my job and going to be putting all my focus on my business. I'm with an amazing man (soon to be husband) who is nothing but supportive and does as much as he can to help. My daughter is almost 18, so it's time to take my life off the back burner and be the artist I've always wanted to be
It's taken me many years to finally realize "what I want to be when I grow up", and now that I have I'm going for my dream!
GCX: Is it important for people to understand that your product is not “mass produced’? Why?
GCM: Yes, it is. So many things are mass produced anymore, everything looks the same. I want people to know, that with things not being mass produced, you're going to get imperfections, no two items are going to be exact. For example, if someone was to buy two of my bat plush, they are going to look different. Each one will have it's own personality. The heads might be shaped slightly different, the eyes might have different placements, etc. Even though I cut them from the same pattern and I sew them the same, each one looks different.
GCX: What is the most special thing to you about your business?
GCM: That everything is 100% made by me. I create everything from start to finish, from the first draft of a pattern to the last closing stitch, it's all done by me. Of course, getting to be my own boss and deciding what I make and sell is pretty awesome too!
GCX: What do you want to do with your crafts long term?
GCM: I want to be able to support myself and my family, to grow my business into something bigger, all while getting to do what I love!
GCX: What do you like about the overall arts and craft experience?
GCM: I think the best thing is seeing the joy it can bring to others. I love knowing that what I make is going to someone who is going to love it! Even if someone doesn't buy something, I love watching their reactions to seeing my creations, the big smiles it brings to their faces and the squees I hear when they see something super cute!
Thanks so much for answering our questions, Michelle. We absolutely adore how excited you are about geeks, crafts, and GeekCraft Expo PDX! We can't wait to see your creations!