Category: “Meet Your Maker” Vendor Series
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!

Comments (0)
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.

 

Comments (0)
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!

Comments (0)
Meet Your Maker: NStar Studio

Nicky Ross of Nstarstudio makes pottery that you would think too perfect to be hand made. Which isn’t to say its without a unique and lovable character that you won’t find in your box store ceramics. Bright, crisp colors and intricate detailing make these modern pieces stand out. Her aesthetic effortlessly carries over to her fabric and embroidery work; a beautiful interpretation of modern quilting for every room of the house (check her website to see her quilts). We’re so glad to see her pieces shining on our shelves!

 

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

Fortunately, most people are familiar with ceramics growing up with dishes in the cupboard and plants around the house.  Mostly I emphasize the fact that every piece I make is made by hand, one at a time.  With a lot of mass produced ceramics, people are often surprised that I throw, trim and glaze each piece individually.

 

2| Why do you make things?

I make because I always have.  Because it is a force and motivation within me.  Because I love it.  I have always loved the beautiful nuance of handmade things and gravitated towards crafts as opposed to painting and drawing.  I’m actually terrible at drawing and way more successful with 3-D design.  Once I started to create with clay, it clicked.  Not to say that it was easy in the beginning, it took a long time to be able to make what I was envisioning, but I loved the process and that drove me to practice the craft.  There is a long history of ceramics in culture and craftsmanship.  As I learned more about this connectedness between art and necessity, it made me appreciate how dishware is an elegant balance of design and function.  I strive to add my own happy imprint to simple and needed objects.

3| How do you work, and where?

I work out of a small studio about 1/2 mile from my house.  After working in many studio throughout the years, It’s truly a dream to have my own private workspace.  I generally go into the studio several times a week to make, finish, glaze and fire.  Usually anywhere between 1-8 hours depending on what needs to be done and how it coordinates with my teaching schedule.  Because my schedule is all over the place and varies from week to week, I try and make the most of the time I have at the studio.  It also helps that based my my production background, I’m usually pretty efficient by nature.

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

I’m not sure that being an artist was ever my plan.  I’ve just never stopped making or being curious about crafts in general.  I guess you could say that I never grew and in always pursuing my heart, I’ve had a fortunate path so far. I had a ceramics minor in college and decided to move to Madison, WI after I finished.  I started working at a community ceramics studio shortly after I got here and learned the real ins and outs of running a studio.  It’s a lot of work and I wore a lots of hats, but it taught me everything I would need to know to have my own studio now.  The 10 years I spent designing and decorating for a local pottery company gave me the opportunity to hone my production skills and fall in love with the influence of design on everyday things.  I also teach at several studios in town and I love being able to share these skills and inspire others.

5| What do you love about your job?

I designed and decorated for another local pottery for 10 years, so I love that I can now concentrate my creative efforts on my own line of pottery!  I love that I can try out new ideas.  I love that I have flexibility in my schedule.  I love that I get to create things that serve a purpose in other people’s lives.  I love the personal connection I have with my customers.   I’m so fortunate that I get to do what I love and I don’t take that for granted!

6| I love how your work is modern, yet fun and almost whimsical. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I would say that my inspiration comes from all kinds of places, the shapes of japanese functional forms, scandinavian simplicity, traditional folk art quilts, Art Nouveau illustrated posters, modern art paintings, wall paper patterns.  And, of course the gorgeous work of so many makers, new and old.  I just wish that I had more time to experience more influences on a regular basis.  It can be a tough balance between being inspired and trying out new ideas!

7| You work with textiles as well, creating bags, quilts and more. What brings the two processes together for you?

I started sewing when I was about 10, basic things to start, then really getting into the concept of making things that I needed.  Simple skirts, tote bags, and eventually quilts.  I guess the same idea of functional design drew me to textiles as it did with clay.  And my love of color and pattern tie the two mediums together even though they are very different to work with.  I have aways been drawn to graphic quality of textiles (probably because I’m terrible at drawing!) and find it fascinating how the scale of a pattern can have a huge impact on the finished item.  I try to incorporate that graphic element in my pottery and make sure all the colors get a little love.

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

Tough call!  Either Eva Zeisel  or e.e.cummings.  Eva was an industrial designer who worked in ceramics as well as other mediums.  She brought a sense of sensuality to common dishes and elevated them with stylized beauty while maintaining their everyday function.  e.e. cummings is my favorite poet and would have loved to see the world through his eyes and heart.  He was able to capture the beauty in the overlooked tiny moments of life and not only put them on paper, but make his poems visual artworks as well.

9| What makes a handmade object valuable?

Most simply that it’s made by hand, not mass produced, but made with love and intention by someone.  Sentiment and stories can of course enrich the value of a handmade object, perhaps something made from someone who is no longer with us or something made especially for us.  Choosing to make and using the knowledge and skills you have available at the time plus the intent to share that something with others make a handmade object very special.

 

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

Anything that I have that was made by someone I know holds a soft spot in my heart.  And all of the handwritten notes, letters and cards from my love, Rob are priceless.

 

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

I was a poet.  I went to school for creative writing.  I spent many years writing poetry, edited several poetry journals and used to perform at poetry slams.  Since focusing on ceramics, it’s fallen by the wayside, but I always think about getting back into it.

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

-I’m terribly uncoordinated.  I got kicked off my t-ball team when I was little because I couldn’t hit the ball!

-I don’t like bacon or avocadoes. (I know, crazy!)

-I love to travel.  If I had more money, I’d spend it seeing the world.  I’ve traveled to 12 countries and can’t wait to experience more!

 

13| Any new product lines on the horizon? Plans for 2017?

I had a couple of studio moves between 2015 and 2016, so I’m actually really excited to have a more permanent place to be able to experiment with new ideas.  Business-wise, I’d like to try out a few new shows and grow the business now that I have a stable studio.  Creatively, I would love to play around with some new colors and develop new patterns to keep those timeless functional pieces fresh.

 

For more NStar, check out her website, Etsy shop, Facebook, or see her work in person here at the shop!

Comment (2)
Meet Your Maker: Manayunk Calligraphy

Kimberly Shrack of Manayunk Calligraphy has a magic pen. Or so it would seem after escaping into her world of art prints, calligraphy kits, DIY wall art kits, mugs, totes, and wedding calligraphy. Her story is one of triumph; inspiring not just to artists, but to those struggling through what life has thrown their way. Read on to learn more, and enjoy the playful tranquility of her work.

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

Calligraphy is just a fancy word for fancy handwriting! I use this technique to make word-based illustrations.

 

2| Why do you make/design things?

There’s nothing quite like creating something totally new. Something that’s never existed before now, something totally unique.

3| What do you love about your job?

Literally everything. I get to do new things, I get to play with pens and ink and paint and paper all day. With weddings and custom work, I get to be a little part of people’s lives.

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

It was something I always wanted – when I was in grade school, I would come dressed in a smock and beret for career day (realistically, I should have come in leggings and a pullover, since that’s what I wear pretty much every day). But as I got older and realized how much things cost, I pretty much resigned myself to the idea it wouldn’t happen. I painted and drew and scripted in my free time, selling pieces every now and then. But then there was an aha moment. 

A few years ago, I took FMLA from my full-time job in public relations to participate in an intensive treatment program for a mental illness. Sexy, I know. I have lived with obsessive compulsive disorder since I was a kid, and by my mid-twenties it was so severe that I needed to be under constant supervision. I was accepted into a study at Penn and underwent intensive treatment for months. Through a combination of new medication, daily exposure/response prevention therapy and a lot of hard work, I was able to get my shit together (that’s a technical term). For me, every moment without a compulsion is beautiful. And as obsessions quieted and compulsions took up less and less of my time, I began to appreciate minutes and hours and days more than I ever had before. And it was then that I realized I didn’t want to spend those precious minutes and hours and days doing something that didn’t bring me joy. And so I took the leap. Honestly, even during the leanest, scariest times as a working artist – and there have been plenty of lean times! – I have never, ever regretted that decision.

5| Why are you called Manayunk Calligraphy?

Manayunk is the name of the ‘hood I lived in while I was in Philly. It was jam packed with small business owners who all encouraged me to go out on my own – they supported my business before it was an official business. I never ever would have had the guts to quit my job and pursue an art career had I not lived in that place at that time.

 

6| How do you work, and where?

I work out of a studio in my home in Irvington. When I’m not in the studio, I’m usually at the coffee shop 10 Johnson Avenue – in fact, I’m there right now! Best pistachio muffins ever.

7| Tell us about the White Wall Rebellion!

It’s a partnership between myself and HGTV’s Monica Mangin! Here’s a blog post with more info.

 

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

Banksy, because how kickass is he?

 

9| It looks like you’re a teacher, too. Tell us about the different ways people can learn calligraphy from you.

There are two ways! The first is an in-person workshop, which I host at Oliver’s Twist in Carmel. Folks can sign up here.

I also teach online courses that you can take at your own pace.

10| What makes a handmade object valuable?

The time, the care and the human contact. I know this sounds new age-y, but when someone makes with joy, little pieces of that person and their joy is transferred into the object. It glows.

 

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

In college, I studied art history. My now-husband, then-boyfriend would help me study for exams with flashcards I’d make with paintings stuck on the front of index cards with notes on the back. Toward the end of my college career, he pulled together a little collection of his own cards featuring works of art that I loved and that he remembered from our study sessions. It’s been a little less than a decade since he made those and they are dogeared and faded – but I still look through them when I need inspiration, a smile or a laugh.

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

I use a PC. I know, I know.

 

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

  • I have a cat named Piggy.
  • I love the Muppets (see above).
  • I’m a podcast junkie.

 

If you need some Manayunk if your life, we have a selection of her work right here in the shop. You can also see the full range of what she has to offer on her website. You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for a daily dose of inspiration. Thank you Kimberly!

 

 

Comments (0)