Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Melissa McColl - Vintage Baby Revival
Vintage-inspired baby lovelies by Melissa McColl, Vintage Baby Revival
1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?
Ironically it’s not all about making money. People always ask, “How’s your shop doing” and I reply “GREAT” but the sales aren’t overwhelming. What I like most is participating in the opportunity for one person to give to another. One woman in one state entrusted me to give her friend in another state a cute little robot onesie to celebrate the birth of her baby. Wrapping the gift, adding a note, thinking about the child who will wear my art. These are the best things about having an Etsy shop. That somehow I can immediately connect with perfect strangers by each of us taking a role in this one event.
2.) How did you come up with your shop name?
I just wanted my shop name to reflect exactly what it is I do and who it’s for, that is making things for babies. Vintage Baby Revival is about bringing back things from the past that were good like my grandmother’s knitting and crochet patterns, using her old needles, tools and findings. I also incorporate vintage buttons, sewing thread and yarn that made its way out of someone’s stash and into my local thrift shop into my designs.
3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?
I have the very unique opportunity to work very closely with the youngest of our population: infants and toddlers and their teen mothers and fathers. Besides being an artist I am a self-proclaimed “baby whisperer”. Spending time with these little ones brings me great joy and they inspire me to make the very best I can for any baby who wears my designs. All babies are beautiful and I just want to make something to enhance their beauty and unique personalities.
4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?
I was never formally educated as an artist. My days of creating began early. As an elementary school student I would sneak into the supply cupboard at school and steal the shiny paper, lick and stick shapes, paints, glue, scissors and whatever met my fancy so that I could craft alone on the weekends in the privacy of my bedroom. I experimented with a variety of crafts throughout my childhood including woodworking, macramé, cross-stitch, knitting and sewing. I was self taught in many of these areas and needed to be quite resourceful, as my mother could not afford to support my extracurricular activities. I would cut up old clothes, save bits and pieces of scrap wood, and borrow my mom’s old sewing machine to satisfy my creative curiosity. More recently I have delved back into this area of my life full force. I consider my crafts to be an addiction, something I am almost incapable of stopping in spite of injuries to my wrists, arms and shoulders (I’m not joking-you can ask my physiotherapist). There isn’t anything I am unwilling to try making at least once.
5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.
First I buy yarn. I have to love it. I never really know what I am going to do with it until it tells me. Also, I troll thrift shops and collect endlessly. I never really know what I will do with it, but if I like it and it looks useful I get it, because I must have it. Then I play with my supplies. Seriously, I play with them. They may as well be action figures or Lego or something. I sort buttons according to colour. I wind all my yarn into neat little balls. I organize things into bins and boxes and then smaller bins and boxes, and then I reorganize. Because I am also collecting resource material for patterns I look at patterns every day. Then, once in a while I meet something I have to make because I have all the right materials. Then I make it over and over and over again. I have to make one in each colour, or in each size. Then I wonder what to do with them all, so I sell them.
6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?
My plans are to include recovery from my wrist injury (tendinitis), I have to say this or else my physiotherapist will be disappointed. Because I also make jewelery and sew I want to host an event in my home and have a sale just before the holidays. I want to have lots of wine and cheese and yummy nibbles. I’d also like to teach an introductory class at Wise Daughters on crochet. Of course I’d like to keep on creating and building on my offerings for those beautiful babies of the world.
Visit Melissa at A Spring Handmade Market on May 16th
Melissa's blog www.torontocloseknit.blogspot.com
or at her Etsy shop Vintage Baby Revival