GeekCraft Expo RDU is just over a week away—have you planned your trip to the Durham Armory December 16? You have just one day to shop more than 50 of the area's coolest crafters, so don't waste your shot!
In the market for a bag that's functional and incredibly cool? We chatted with Erika Martinez of Happy Unicorn Studio about her wide variety of bags for crafters, trips, and everyday use!
GeekCraft Expo: How did you get started sewing?
Erika Martinez: I developed an interest in sewing in my early 20s. I dabbled in it by making simple aprons and pillowcases. About eight years ago I picked it up again and started taking bag-making classes. I fell in love with the process and have been sewing every day ever since.
GCE: What drew you to making bags?
EM: Since I was a little kid, I loved bags. Back then, they were little treasure chests for all my toys and keepsakes. As I grew up, I used bags to stayed organized for various activities (school, art class, etc.) When I decided to start Happy Unicorn Studio I chose bags as my product because of the love I have for them and also because I have found that many commercially made bags lack the features that I wanted. I focus on making bags that are lightweight, loaded with pockets, and that are fun. Being that I work with fabric to make my bags, I have an enormous palette available to me in order to make fun, whimsical, and one-of-a-kind pieces.
GCE: You choose such fantastic fabrics—what do you look for when selecting a pattern?
EM: Color is the first thing that catches my eye. I enjoy working with vibrant colors. Second, I look for patterns that will work for the bag styles I make. When I cut my fabric, I take the time to look at the pattern and find the design in it that I want to be featured on the bag. I work with the pieces of the fabric that folks may normally overlook because it is in the details of the print.
GCE: What makes a Happy Unicorn bag a great present?
EM: Each bag I make is unique. Even though I may use the same main print to make several bags, I don't combine them with the same coordinating fabrics again. As well, Happy Unicorn bags are truly handcrafted. I pay attention to every step of the bag-making process, from how the print is going to display on the bag, to the precise decorative and functional stitching that I add to each bag.
GCE: Do you take commissions?
EM: Yes, I enjoy working on custom orders. It is fun to see a customer's vision come to life. I currently have 10 custom order slots left for orders needed before Christmas.
GCE: What’s your favorite geek movie, TV show, or video game?
EM: I have to pick just one? I am a Marvel girl, so I have seen all the movies. My current favorite geek show is Gotham.
GCE: What are you bringing to GeekCraft Expo RDU this year?
EM: New for this Expo is Penny the Project Pouch. She is perfect for fiber artists to stay organized and make their projects portable. I will be bringing back the Bobby Backpack. This unisex bag is great for trips and daily use, as it allows you to carry what you need and be hands free at the same time. Another returning bag is the Bonnie Bucket bag.
Our thanks to Erika for answering all of our questions! Make sure to stop by her space December 16 at the Durham Armory and find all of your holiday gifts in one place at GeekCraft Expo RDU!