Category: “Meet Your Maker” Vendor Series
Meet Your Maker:
Jodi Lynn’s Emporium of Doodles

Are you a science buff? History enthusiast? Illustration aficionado? Then Jodi Lynn’s Emporium of Doodles is going to be like heaven to you. Jodi Lynn Burton expertly captures the essence of some of the most important figures of our time in her home studio in Detroit, MI. But she’s not always so serious- anything that might tickle her fancy she captures in ink and line and adds it to her emporium. You’re sure to find something to appreciate in this magical, imaginary place.

1| How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about crafting/art?

I am an illustrator that likes to catalog the things in the world.

 

2| Why do you make/design things?

I make things because as an artist it is my job to collect ideas, and it is my way of recording those ideas through my art.

 

3| Please describe your illustration style. Are your originals made in watercolor or some other medium?

I would describe my drawing style as simple, whimsical,  naive. I just like to draw. I use pen and ink and water color in my originals.

4| How do you choose who to feature on your laser cut magnets? Are you a science buff? Any other series on the horizon?

I love learning about people and history, so if I find someone that I want to learn more about sometime they get drawn. I like to know the stories of people and what they have done in History. I am always working on new ideas for series. I am currently really big into cross sections of animals, but I could see a lady scientist series happening in the near future…

 

5| What do you love about your job?

I love that I can wake up every day and am excited about creating something new.

 

6| Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?

No, my family always told me I was going to be an artist. I wanted to go into psychology, so I ended up doing 3.5 years of psych in college and after taking photography classes flipped the switch completely. I had always made stuff, but never thought it was a career. I actually worked as a photographer before I started as an illustrator.

7| How do you work, and where?

I work out of a 300 square foot apartment in Detroit. I always carry a sketch book with me, and sometimes I go on walks around the city to become inspired.

 

8| If you could swap lives with another artist, who would that person be?

Honestly I wouldn’t want to swap lives with anyone, I feel so lucky to have been given the life I have.

 

9| What makes a handmade object valuable?

Handmade objects tell a story, they come from an individual, and you can talk to the artist about how they made the item.

 

10| Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?

A quilt that my grandmother and I made as a child.

11| Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.

I host a podcast called Detroit Craft Academy.

 

12| Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.

I play banjo, I went to school for photography, I collect wire frame bikes.

 

13| I see you do custom pet portraits! That’s awesome. Would you ever consider doing human portraits?

I do people portraits all of the time. I do custom work for hire, recently I have been doing custom cake toppers for wedding cakes!

 

 

Wanna delve deeper into the emporium? Check out her website or Instagram as well as www.detroitcraftacademy.com. You can also check out her amazing work right here on Mass Ave.! Thanks Jodi Lynn!

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Meet Your Maker
Riley Construction Toys

Something about the combination of care, detail, and imagination give toys from Riley Construction Toys a spark of real happiness. Looking at April’s dolls, you’re transported to your own childhood, each one could easily be a friend with unique details like glasses, hair styles, and stylish clothing. Not only are her dolls glowing with cheer, each unique stuffed toy, print, or pin carries her signature good-vibe. She also has a new business, RileyMade, for patterns and designs for the DIYer. Read on to learn more about this joyful creative!

1| How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about crafting/art?

I create handmade heirloom dolls and soft plush toys that speak to the child in all of us! From plush campfires and s’mores to mermaid and Unicorn Girl dolls, all of my toys are imaginative, charming, and vibrant. I start by drawing and painting silly illustrations that sometimes are converted into sewing patterns and sometimes just stay illustrations. I’ve also started a line of simple plushie sewing patterns for the craft-curious.

 

2| Why do you make/design things?

I’ve been creating and making since I could hold a crayon in my hand. For me, it’s a natural expression of my thoughts and ideas and a concrete way of making connections with others. I was a passionate collector of adorable toys and I remember designing my own toys when I was a kid!   I was convinced that Mattel or Hasbro or whoever would pay big money for my original designs! 😉

I love the way that the distance between the producer and consumer is lessened when we buy/sell handmade.  Connect ions and appreciation is what it’s all about.

3| Do you ever do custom work?

I used to – but I don’t any more; I work full time and it’s just so hard to keep up with.  I’m always happy to tweak something like a skin color or hair color tho, easy-peasy 🙂

 

4| What encouragement would you offer to first time sewers using your patterns?

Don’t stress – there are no “right” or “wrong” outcomes and your finished project  will be unique to you.  Don’t forget you have resources if you get stuck – YouTube is chock full of simple explanations and how-to’s.  Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the simple pleasure of creating!

5| What do you love about your job?

I get to be a kid again! I love when the adults who come into my booth at an art show get excited about my work and feel, even if it’s just for a minute, like they’re kids again, playing in their blanket forts. I love when kids bond with my toys because it is supremely validating –it means I’ve found that magical formula that makes the pretend play happen and that’s an alchemy you can’t force – the magic happens when it happens.

 

6| Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?

That’s hard to answer! I always wanted to make and create interesting, colorful art. I wanted to design toys when I was a kid, then I wanted to be a children’s book author and illustrator… but this was pre-internet and nobody I knew did these things for a living and I didn’t know how to start doing these things, so I just went to school and did regular people jobs instead.

Somewhere in my twenties, my husband and I moved to St. Louis. I started making accessories to sell for fun, discovered the world of indie craft online, and started a St. Louis chapter of the Craft Mafia because I knew the crafties were out there and needed to band together.

When my son was two or three, I started making some stuffed animals for fun. I’d been longing to do it but I worried that I might not be taken seriously as an artist and designer. But once I started, I couldn’t stop. I started making rag dolls about a year or two after I had been making animals and objects. The very first batch of dolls was so magical and adorable – I still have my first rag doll – that I knew I would be making them for a very long time after that. I’ve been making dolls and stuffies ever since.

7| How do you work, and where?

I have a day job, so I work on evenings and weekends. No holidays for this maker! It’s craft season all year round for me. We live in a two bedroom flat, and the “dining room” is my maker space. I’m a champion at storing my materials, tools, and inventories in a small space.

I don’t like routine so I jump into whatever process feels right and gets me in a flow – designing new patterns, tedious routine work like embroidering faces, putting in safety eyeballs, product photography, whatever suits my frame of mind. I have several different projects going at once, so I have lots of interesting tasks to choose from. I can’t work in silence, so there’s either music or Netflix happening, and there’s usually a cat or two nearby.

I’m always sketching, writing notes to myself, thinking of new ideas… it’s hard to turn that channel off when I’m doing other things.

I love to draw and paint and I try to incorporate those other artworks into my product photos – sometimes I draw a scene on a big sheet of paper – there is almost always a cat that wanders by and sits on the paper. I also love to design original display pieces for craft fairs and art shows – it’s kind of like a giant grown-up version of a playhouse or blanket fort full of cute handmade props. I put my jigsaw and drill to good use in the month before a big show and I rarely use the same setup twice. It’s labor-intensive to decorate a booth or tent this way, but my philosophy is “go big or go home!” If you don’t want to be noticed or seen at an art exhibition, why else are you there?

 

8| Where do you go for inspiration?

I’m most inspired visually – I love looking at children’s illustration and fabric design – but I’m also inspired by music.  New music is like candy for me!  Somewhere where those two types of sensory input intersect.

I need a jumping-off point sometimes – I might have a nebulous idea that needs fleshing out so I’ll go on Pinterest or Instagram and swim through the images until I see things that start to help me tell a story and then I’m able to put my pencil to paper and start sketching.  If I can fully visualize a design, I know I’m ready to move forward.

9| If you could swap lives with another artist, who would that person be?

Maybe a surface pattern designer – because their work has the potential to be seen in a lot of ways and because they are so prolific. I would especially love to create multimedia artwork that is digitally manipulated to become surface patterns from the comfort of a high ceiling-ed, well-lit studio full of coffee and cats!

 

10| What makes a handmade object valuable?

Scarcity – the scarcity of time and materials used to create it. The feeling it evokes. Its story and its journey paired with your story and your journey. The way that a handmade object is embedded into your everyday life, not hidden away behind glass. The way it’s meant to be enjoyed and used up.

11| Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?

My vintage Strawberry Shortcake dolls. They’re out of production, they created a lifelong love of toys and pretend play, they inspired me to create and design. I spent many happy hours playing with them, creating with them. Oh, and they still smell nice!

 

12| Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.

That my childhood idols were Elvira, Mistress of the Night, and Strawberry Shortcake. Those two characters combined pretty much sum up my personality. I am equal parts silly and dark.

13| Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.

-I write poetry, mostly for kids. I started writing poetry for kids when I was a kid, LOL. I think maybe it will end up in a self-published book of poems about weird, wonderful, angsty kids.

-I just teamed up with two other fiber artists to curate and sell fabric bundles – we are all three hugely passionate about quilting cottons and modern designs. Modern fabrics feature heavily in our own individual designs and products and we love curating new collections and coming up with creative ways to use the different fabric combinations. (Bundles + Bolts) www.bundlesandbolts.etsy.com

-I have a ferret. His name is Jack Bauer. He steals dry cat food, small potatoes, and earbuds and hides them behind the curio cabinet.

-I love planning indie craft shows and helping other makers tell their stories.

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Wanna feel like a kid again? We’ve got a whole slew of dolls in all kinds of designs that you won’t find online here at the shop. Come and check them out and get one for your favorite little- or maybe even yourself! And be sure to follow April and Riley Construction toys on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

 

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Meet Your Maker: Megan Lee Designs

Megan Owdom-Weitz is the Megan behind Megan Lee Designs. She creates quirky, state themed, hand-printed goods that are classics here at the shop. Read on to learn about her passion and her process, and stop by to check out some of her lovely (and funny) creations in person!

 

1| How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about crafting/art?

This is actually really hard for us — we are constantly trying to figure out a way for people to understand what we do. We often say that we are a screenprinting company, but really we are a design company that chooses to print our designs using silkscreens. I like to also think we could use the terms fashion and illustration to describe our business.

 

2| Why do you make/design things?

I have always been a maker since I was young, I’m one of those weird people that likes to put together IKEA furniture. In college I got a design degree at Kent State and learned so much about the importance of negative space and many more design concepts like training your eye. It took me awhile to realize that I was happier making and designing by hand than just moving objects and type around on a computer.

3| What do you love about your job?

I love the flexibility most of all, but seeing smiles on peoples faces when they are shopping in person and finding shoppers that “get” my designs is the best feeling.

 

4| Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?

In college I had decided that I was going to work at a design firm and work on things like Annual Reports — which I did for awhile, and then I discovered the DIY movement in Chicago and began selling things that I had just been making on the side as a hobby. This was all before I learned to screenprint, but it planted the seed that I could possibly work for myself and started to change my ideas about what success could mean to me.

5| How do you work, and where?

This is always changing — we have a studio in Berwyn, but we actually just moved to Ohio (Westerville just north of Columbus) a few months ago and will eventually move our studio here. I used to do all of the printing and now I do almost none of it. I would like to do a bit more, but right now I am focusing on design and lots of day to day business tasks, along with taking care of a new baby and a toddler.

 

6| You are the maker behind our popular “I’m IN Love” tees- do you make a design for all 50 states?

I DO have designs for all 50 states, and a few of the states have more than one option. I started with the Midwest and then branched out when Nordstrom picked up our line and wanted to sell all 50 states online.

7| Tell us about your design aesthetic. What words would you use to describe your drawings?

I would say fun, quick, sketchy, whimsical…I try not to try too hard because I feel like that’s when they don’t work for me. Often its my first go at a new subject that looks the best.

 

8| If you could swap lives with another artist, who would that person be?

I think it would be fun to be a “REAL” fashion designer for a bit — maybe Betsey Johnson? She always seems like she is having so much fun and I love her style.

9| What makes a handmade object valuable?

I think just the intrinsic fact that it IS handmade — I am obsessed with handmade plush and cute art that almost always involves animals or everday objects with a face…I know there’s a word for that but its not coming to me (I need more coffee).

 

10| Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?

Hmmm…I don’t know that I could narrow it down to one, but I love all of the items that I have gotten from craft shows over the years, whether its jewelry, clothing, art or even food.

11| Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.

People probably would not believe that I can deadlift more than 200 pounds.

 

12| Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.

Well in the same vein, I am an avid crossfitter and LOVE to lift. I also love to cook, especially Mexican food. I love to dye and cut my own hair, its a bit of an obsession.

13| Where do you see Megan Lee Designs in the next 5 years?

Wellllll…we moved to Ohio recently to be closer to family, and actually just signed a lease on a new studio space that has a retail component. Its located in Westerville, Ohio, where we bought our house, so we are super excited about finally having a location where people can shop in person. If you ever come to Columbus be sure to look us up, there are some surprisingly hip bars/restaurants/shops in Uptown Westerville — I’m proud to now call it home!


Need more Megan Lee? Come check out her goods right here in the shop, or check her out online, on Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Thanks, Megan!

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Meet Your Maker: Stinkybomb Soap

Megan Green of Stinkybomb Soap definitely has a sense of humor and an appreciation for the eccentric. Whether your looking for a laugh or want to give someone the heebie-jeebies, this soap company is the place to go. Learn more about what their aesthetic and why they love to create the creepy.

1| How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about crafting/art?

Our elevator speech is simple: We take iconic shapes and turn them into ironic soaps. Shapes like hand grenades, baby heads and state shapes.

 

2| Why do you make/design things?

I love the process of design and seeing an idea out from start to finish. Tinkering around with not only the product itself but also the packaging becomes a challenge I like taking on. The end result from raw materials to an item that can sit on a store shelf then find itself sitting on a bathroom sink is very rewarding.

 

3| Describe your typical work day.

My day starts with kids and getting them ready for school. Then I’m either off to my production space producing or packaging and order or at home working on my other creative endeavors..Craftin’ Outlaws a craft show held twice a year here in Columbus and putting on the other DIY inspired events which helps build up the handmade community keeps me pretty busy with emails. As does, Midwest Craft Con, a non-profit which holds a 3 day creative retreat at the beginning of the year which I am 1 of 3 directors. Then it’s back to after care for the kids, homework, meal prep and some downtime.

4| Can you describe your process a bit? How do you make a bubble bath or one of your soaps?

The soap we focus on is a melt and pour process. The prep has all been prepared for us, we melt blocks of it down at a time and then add it the scent and fragrance into one of our custom made molds. Each soap takes about 1-2 hours to harden before we can release it from the mold. I can prepare the hand stamped box with all the labels needed. We then release it from the mold when it’s fully set up and place it into a plastic, heat sealing container. This keeps the scent fresh until a customer is ready to open it.

 

5| You hear the name Stinkybomb and you know you’re in for some laughs. Any new product ideas on the horizon?

At this time I am exploring getting back into cold process soaps. A process I haven’t explored in a while. It’s such a formula based creation so it would require more time and lots more trial and error. These would be less mold specific but still a great scented experience that Stinkybomb has been known for.

 

6| Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?

Working for myself was always the dream. Stinkybomb itself was an “aha” moment. The idea came to me from no where and it’s been a fun ride that has giving me a chance to travel and opened up many doors.

7| How do you work, and where?

I had a production studio in a warehouse in Columbus, Ohio. We are currently moving from one space to another. Until then we have had to shut down our daily production. We hope that we are only down for a few months.

 

8| Glitter, baby doll heads, honey bear bubble bath: describe the perfect person and occasion for a Stinkybomb gift.

Definitely anyone with a sense of humor! It’s been fun to learn that each product carries it’s own customer type. We still tend to attract those people who are looking for a quick gag gift.

9| If you could swap lives with another artist, who would that person be?

I could throw a dart at many of my friends but I like living in my head just fine.

 

10| What makes a handmade object valuable?

Knowing the craftsmanship behind an item. How it’s made but also who makes it and their own backstory.

 

11| Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?

The first piece of art my husband and I purchased, we were then dating. It’s a photograph of a hand carved female wax mannequin from the turn of the century. The mannequin had striking features and real hair was used. The building which housed many forms had caught on fire so a portion of the face was burned and broken. Leaving behind a beautiful but scared portrait. The photographer learned of the warehouse and captured the “soul” if you will of the form.

12| Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.

One day I’d like to complete a marathon but then again I enjoy my couch and Netflix too much to start training any day soon.

 

13| Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.

-I have two kids a daughter, 8, and son, 6, who remind me that life is adaptable but will constantly change on you, so learn to be flexible.

-I love to cook but my family dislikes most foods so there are always leftovers.

-I enjoy window shopping for industrial furniture and like owning things that require tetanus shots.

Need more Stinkybomb in your life? Get over here to Homespun and buy some, or visit them at their website or on Instagram @stinkybombsoap.

 

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Meet Your Maker: Terrific Friends

Attention reader friends: Diana Shafer of Terrific Friends is an artist you’re going to want to know more about. She creates expressive, quirky, characteristic portraits of all the big names in books, and they’re perfect to fill the walls of your library. Learn more about her life and style and be sure to browse her extensive collection right here at Homespun.

1| How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about crafting/art?

I illustrated a collection of famous author portraits in my own style and sell them as prints. It’s not uncommon for an avid reader to buy three or more and decorate their house with them.

 

2| Are you an avid reader? Who is your favorite author?

I do try to read regularly. Some seasons I fall out of the habit and some I can’t get enough, but I’m always working on something. I can’t easily choose a favorite author. Some that have left an impression are Steinbeck, Carson McCullers, Raymond Carver, and modern author Jonathan Lethem.

3| Why do you make/design things?

It’s just a natural desire that I’ve had my whole life, something that makes sense to me and excites me. If you put a pen or marker in front of me, I have to use it.

 

4| You definitely have a very characteristic style, how do you think this style lends itself to portraits, specifically?

I don’t have to worry about flattering my portrait subjects which lets me have a little more fun drawing them.

5| What do you love about your job?

With drawing, there are few limitations. I don’t have to worry about cost of supplies or wait on other people. I can just sit down and do it. The idea that it’s all up to me to make something happen is pretty freeing.

 

6| Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?

It’s always been there. I went to school for fashion design but the most appealing part of it was drawing. I thought fashion design would be more practical but that’s turned out not to be the case as the world of illustration has opened up to me.

7| How do you work, and where?

My workday never looks the same, so some days I’m working on new ideas, others on commissions, and sometimes I’ll spend a whole week printing and packaging prints for retail. I work from home with a busy toddler so most of my work is done in little blocks of time.

 

8| Any plans to offer your illustrations in other mediums besides prints?

I’ve considered other mediums, and would just have to find the right approach. I’m working on some new prints right now and also some non-literary/kid-friendly products, so keep an eye out for those.

 

9| What makes a handmade object valuable?

Usually I purchase handmade objects from people I know or people I follow on social media and that alone makes it so much more special and interesting. It makes me think about how it was made, what kind of materials were used, or where the idea came from. You usually don’t spend that much time thinking about something that was mass produced.

10| Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?

We had a friend build custom furniture for us last year and it’s beautiful and definitely worth the money. I would have no attachment to something I purchased elsewhere, but I want to show off these pieces and take care of them because I know the maker.

 

11| Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.

I got married when I was 19 and we will be celebrating our 12th anniversary this spring. We just really liked each other and figured we’d get along pretty well. And we do- we’re best buds.

 

12| Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.

-My husband and I own a coffee bar in Boise and just celebrated our first year in business.

-We’re expecting another baby in April.

-I’m pretty obsessed with children’s picture books and love having an excuse to collect them.

 

Follow Diane and Terrific Friends on Instagram @dshaferillustration to see all the new portraits!

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