Rachel Ourada is the fabulous Rachel behind Rachel O’s Fabulous Whimsy (say that 10 times fast!). She’s lovely and funny and used to be a boy scout (ahem, read on…). Take a look at her adorable little pieces of art and learn a bit about this creative lady!
How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about crafting/art?
I design and create original fabric button jewelry. I design my own fabric and assemble every piece of jewelry myself. I like to think of my jewelry as teeny tiny pieces of art that people can wear. All my pieces are original and not to be found from anyone else.
Why do you make/design things?
I am a non-stop creative individual. I create things because I want to see them in the world. If I want something that does not exist, I have to make it happen.
What do you love about your job?
I create and sell my jewelry full time. Being a full-time maker is very similar to any other full time job. The exception is that I get to connect with so many wonderful customers. I love helping someone find the perfect gift or the last touch to a wedding or special event.
Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?
No! I actually went back to school to get my MBA. I graduated and started working as a brand manager for a local business. After working there for 5 months, my Etsy store which I had started for fun, was showing real potential. I was totally shocked and excited. I made a plan, and switched to working for myself full time. I almost didn’t believe it would work, but I’ve been working on Rachel O’s full time for 2 and a half years now and it’s going better than ever!
How do you work, and where?
I LOVE working from home. I don’t think that I will ever have a separate studio location. I live in a former substation. The open industrial space may not seem like a traditional home, but it makes for an excellent live/work space. Working from home means that I have a fuzzy little cat assistant who keeps an eye on my every move. It also allows me to get day to day things like laundry and baking done in between making sessions.
If you could swap lives with another artist and live as them without anyone knowing that you were really you and not the other person, who would that person be?
I’ve read Jonathan Adler’s design books and if I could live in his home, I would be so happy. His style is just amazing and something I aspire to.
What makes a handmade object valuable?
A handmade object carries with it all the creativity and talent of the maker. When you buy handmade, you are supporting a real person. It’s a connection that you don’t get from buying mass-produced goods.
Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?
My dad made me a side table from a repurposed turn of the century sewing machine stand. He restored the iron base and gave it a new walnut top. It’s totally unlike anything else, and it means so much that he made it for me.
Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.
I was a boy scout in highschool. I was part of a teen art group and if we all joined the boy scouts they said we could use power tools. I don’t know what the logic of this was, but we all got membership cards (even us girls) and none of us ever earned a badge.
Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.
I live in a repurposed sub-station in Omaha, Nebraska. It was built to supply power to the neighborhood in 1927.
I married my high school sweetheart. We met at 17 and married at 24, and are still going strong.
I collect vintage Better Homes and Gardens mini-cookbooks. I love seeing how entertaining has evolved since the 50s. Most of the recipes are un-makable due to being horrifying or including impossible to find ingredients, but the photography is amazing.