Monday, November 24, 2008

The Crafty Wren

As I was saying in a prior interview, when the shadows come calling, I feel lucky to gain so much inspiration from my fellow craftisans. We had Wrenay Charlton, aka, "Whimsy" 'and her other business venture "The Crafty Wren" at our first show Craftaluma. I adore Wrenay not just for her positive and creative spirit, but also because she is a joy to be around, and lucky for us joy is contagious. One thing we can promise you is that Wrenay is one crafty chick!

C: Okay, Ms. Wrenay, I'm a big fan of your crafty wares, but tell the folks who may not be familiar all about your crafty self.
W: "I actually have 2 businesses; Whimsy & The Crafty Wren
Whimsy came about as a way to frame all the things I make. I like to dabble in different arts and crafts, so I felt it best to come up with a name that describes the mood and feel of my products."

"The Crafty Wren" developed out of "Whimsy" I started to make jewelry from my art and recycled materials. I wanted to separate the jewelry from all of the other goodies I make, so I decided to create the secondary business. My name is Wrenay, but my friends and family call me Wren, so that's where the Wren comes from.

C: Where are you located?
W: Crockett, California. Never heard of it? I'm not surprised! Crockett is actually in the East Bay, off of Hwy 80. It is the last exit before you cross the Carquinez Bridge into Vallejo. It's really a sweet little town, and home to the C&H sugar factory.

C: Oh, I know where Crockett is! If there's a sugar factory you can bet I know my way there. I can see a visual on those tall sugar stacks in my mind's eye when I cross the bridge! Me and Crockett go waaaay back! :)

C: Hometown?
W: Los Angeles, CA.

C: What is it that you make?
W: I love experimenting with new processes and materials. I always have something in development! Currently, my focus is on paper goods, plush creatures, and pendants.

C: What is your favorite and least favorite thing about what you do?
W: For me, the process is always the most interesting and fun part of creating something. There is always a new discovery along the way, so I am constantly learning how to improve the final piece, or coming up with something new. I guess the least favorite part of creating is the clean up!

C: Amen, to that I'm a bit of a neat freak, but lately my desk has exploded. What brings you creative inspiration?
W: My schedule is pretty hectic, so I tend to appreciate the quiet moments and I give myself at least 15 minutes each day to sketch down ideas, and thoughts. Lots of those seeds turn into my creations. Music, nature, my kid's laughing, all hugely inspiring as well!

C: What advice would you give to a designer who wanted to start a business such as yours?
W: First and foremost, love what you do and be your own biggest cheerleader! When you make the leap from creating for recreation, to creating for business, you spend a ton of time marketing your work. I cannot stress how important it is to do your research, get your paperwork in order and network as much as possible. A great book to read when you are ready to take the leap is Craft, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco

C: Do you have any exciting news or future business plans you'd like to share?
W: My products are now being sold in brick & mortar stores throughout the bay area. One of my goals for this year was to make connections to get my work off-line and into boutiques, so I am very happy to have met this goal.

C: Send me your links to the brick and mortar before you walk away Wrenay. ;) Okay, I'm gonna throw you off track here a bit, Sean Connery or Roger Moore? :)
W: hee hee. Roger Moore

C: What is your favorite midnight snack?
W: Pizza!

C: Favorite book and movie?
W:There are so many…
My current favs:
Fiction book: A Lion Among Men (from the Wicked series)
Fine Art book: By Hand, a look at craft in contemporary art practices
Movie: I'm really behind on movies. One of top 3 of all time is Cinema Paradiso

C: I wanna go see "Wicked" in the city! Love Cinema Paradiso, too! Okay Wrenay,Your throwing a dinner party, who would you invite (living or not living) and why?
W: Mae West-someone has to be brasher than I, since I will be hosting!
Ryan Adams-love his music and he could entertain during any lull in the festivities
Jack Black-for obvious reasons
Yoko Ono-aww, poor yoko…has she finally overcome the Beatles, "killer" stigma?!! I think so. She is an amazing conceptual artist.

C: I'd better be getting an invite to that dinner party! Please seat me between Jack and Mae...or better yet Jack and Ryan, I promise to behave.
Thank you Wrenay Charlton, and we will see you at Mafia Made Holiday Craftacular quite soon!

You may find The Crafty Wrens' goodies right here, lookie.

Crafty wren

Urban Legend (crafty wren)

Ornaments (crafty wren)

Black bird (Crafty Wren)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Velvet & Tweed

Working solista in the creative field certainly has it's highs and lows. Even in this downslide economy, I'd still take working for myself, and all the risks that come with that, then working for "the man" in a corner office cubicle again, le odor of burnt microwave popcorn wafting down the blue industrial carpeted, bad fluorescent lit hallways, the lonnnng meetings that seem to go nowhere, but offer a great excuse to order in Thai food for everyone. And there always seems to be at least one manic and crazy-eyed co-worker everyone is afraid will go off the deep end someday and maybe take a few of us down in the process. Zoikes! Nope, I sure don't miss those days at all, even when it's so tempting to pack it all in and receive a hard earned fat regular paycheck with paid vacation and benefits again.

It's not easy wearing all the hats sometimes, and though it's self imposed, in order not to burn out I often look for inspiration and guidance from others in the creative field. I learn a lot from these women (and men) and am inspired again and again by these generous and talented folks who like me, are risk takers at heart.

Enter, Tina Schreiber of "Velvet & Tweed." Tina found me on one of my blogs, (I've been a bad, bad blogger of late). Tina's shop is an adorable
infant and toddler's clothing shop in the city, and she is one of our many talented vendors joining us for Mafia Made Holiday Craftacular. I liked her and her chosen craft immediately, and though she's made her home in San Francisco, she's a midwestern gal from Cleveland, Ohio, with a midwesterner's sensibility, and a fine mind to dream and create with. Her love of her chosen craft of well-made children's clothing is obvious and her eye for wonderful design and fabric shines through. Psst. I'm a sucker for a finely outfitted dapper little dude, and the lovely laughing little ladies modeling Velvet & Tweed's fine collections.

C: Welcome Tina, please tell us how did you come up with the name of your business Velvet & Tweed?
T: The name came from a passion for textiles, their textures, colors, and ability to transform a simple frock into something that evokes emotion and creates memories. When looking back on photos from a first Christmas or a family picnic, it is wonderful to remember how your little girl twirled in her favorite dress, or how dapper your little boy looked on grandpa's lap. Fabric such as tweed, velvet, pink silk, and crisp cotton can turn an ordinary outfit into something really special.

C: Where are you located?
T: San Francisco

C: Your hometown?
T: Cleveland, OH

C: What is it that you make?
T: "We design and make special occasion clothing for infants & toddlers, intended to be timeless and lovely, heirloom outfits that can be passed down for generations."

C: What is your favorite and least favorite thing about what you do?
T: "My favorite thing about what we do is seeing the reactions of moms & dads to our clothing-- the look of nostalgia and an innocence captured for their little ones. After all, children grow up quickly; there is no need to rush it! My least favorite thing about what we do is finding enough time in the day to do everything we want to do for this amazing brand!"

C: Tina, what brings you creative inspiration?
T: "My creative inspiration comes from my childhood. My parents had lots of diverse interests and I always wanted to be involved: from sewing and baking to camping and woodworking. These wonderful childhood memories inspired me to capture these moments in design: the perfect garden party dress, the sweetest pink birthday party dress, or the coziest corduroy jacket."

C: What advice would you give to a young designer who wanted to start a business such as yours?
T: "Get as much experience as you can in your field. Realize that you can learn a great deal from working for big companies and finding mentors to guide you. Your perfect business will reveal itself with the experience you've collected."

C: Do you have any exciting news or future business plans you'd like to share?
T: "Our most exciting news is how quickly we are growing and how well received we are by the most beautiful baby boutiques across the country and around the world! Internationally, we can be found in Australia and Norway!"

C: That is wonderful news! Velvet & Tweed going international. And speaking of inernational, or international man of mystery that is, Sean Connery or Roger Moore?
T: "Roger Moore (but actually, I'd like to nominate a candidate: Daniel Craig!")

C: LOL! I'd have to agree with that one, Roger Moore is infinitely more interesting then Sean Connery, devilish glint in his eye as though he is in on a private joke with you. And Daniel C. isn't too shabby either, we almost share a birthday!

C: A lot of us creatives burn the midnight oil, I'm one of them and often find myself on a weird eating schedule not in sync with my 9-5 friends. What is your favorite midnight snack?
T: "Cheese & Crackers!"

C: Thatta girl! And in my book, the stinkier the cheese, the better! Favorite book and movie?
T: Favorite Book: "Water for Elephants."

C: I loved Water for Elephants! I read it when it first came out, it was my inspiration for Craftaluma. Plus, I have a major soft spot for Elephants, and am sickened by how they are mistreated in captivity and hunted down for their tusks in the wild. Do you have a favorite movie?
T: (at the moment) "Miracle on 34th Street."

C: Your throwing a dinner party, who would you invite (living or not living) and why?
T: "My closest girlfriends (4 of the most inspiring, fun, professional women ever), Martha Stewart (my role model), and my boyfriend (lucky guy to be surrounded by such amazing women!). Oh, and Julia Childs as the chef, and Bing Crosby to sing while we dine."

C: It's so important for women and entrepreneurs to surround themselves with supportive great gals and cronies, I'm totally down with that. Thanks Tina. I can't wait to see you soon at Mafia Made Holiday Craftacular!

You can find boutiques that carry Tina's delightful wares at:

Velvet & Tweed

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Have you been Naughty or Nice?

Just thirty-six (3-6) more days until Mafia Made Holiday Craftacular!! (le Gasp)!!

I feel like a multi-tasking Elf amped on caffeine, stress and red vines, busy putting the Holiday Craftacular site together, swag, vendors, sponsors, canoodling around town with the crafty famiglia handing out posters, postcards and charming and okay some extortion of our local and very supportive sponsors. :) Kidding, really, no "protection fees" have yet been mentioned.

Crikey! I haven't even pressed one single Moxieville card yet! Why does this seem familiar? Ack! It's just my job to stress a bit, I suppose, whilst hatching and making the crafty plans come to fruition. Yes, some pretty busy elves we be.

We have a great show planned! We've assembled some of the hippest and awe inspiring professional crafty DIY'ers you ever saw, (they are SO together!)- I'll betcha a hot butterered rum that your shopping list items will miraculously get checked off one -by-one before you know it. Don't go for the bland, go for the grand, unique handmade this holiday season. Our crafty vendors can dish it out. This ain't your dear granny's craft show, but y'all know that by now! But certainly bring your dear granny to the show, I'll bet she'll be inspired by how much craft has progressed.

And the question is, have you been naughty or nice? A little of both? Regardless, you owe it to yourself this busy holiday season to join Petaluma's Crafty First Famiglia for some holiday crafty merrymaking and mischief. Meet the Petaluma Craft Mafia under the mistletoe with your favorite beverage and get down to some serious, awe-inspiring shopping with local talent and some inspiring gorgeous crafts from some of the most prolific DIY'ers south of the north pole. Dang!
We have a super talented photographer who will be a vendor this year, and rumor has it she'll be taking holiday pictures, so you'll want to be sure to get some holiday memories all the while grooving to some Sonoma County's finest homegrown bands.

We're counting the days here at the Petaluma Craft Mafia until Mafia Made Holiday Craftacular, and we can't wait to see you December 13th at the Petaluma Veteran's Hall!! Don't forget we have some mighty fine raffles,so save your ticket receipt at the door for a chance to win some way cool swag and prizes.

Don't forget to bring a toy for tots and get an extra raffle ticket!

P.S. Happy Birthday to all you November peeps in the house! Scorpios , just rock! xoxo!


Ms. Moxie and the PCM