Monday, August 15, 2011
Craftaluma Vendors: Mend by Ruby Grace
We love our veteran Craftaluma Vendors, and Natasha Smith of Mend by Ruby Grace is a talented Craftaluma vendor from waaaay back. We heart her. With two young daughters keeping her busy it is amazing this graceful, beautiful woman has time and energy for creative pursuits, and as she says, it's not without guilt. We are pleased that she does make the time. Any creative person needs to be able to carve time to create, or we are just plain miserable! I know this from experience. Natasha makes the most adorable dolls, softy, hand-painted faces (which I adore) with bits and bobs from formerly loved vintage fabrics, frothy and whimsical crocheted pieces and lots of love and imagination. She makes me wanna have little girls or BE a little girl again.
Our gal, Natasha is also a musician, and plays the Ukulele... and I've decided she and I are going to have to jam together with my Piano and her Ukulele's, maybe write a crafty song! LOL. She thinks I'm kidding, but y'all know, I never joke. Never. Welcome her please. We can't wait to have her join us Sunday at Craftaluma for fun.
Interview with Natasha Smith of Mend by Ruby Grace
By Petaluma Craft Mafia
What is the name of your business and how did you come up with that name?
Mend by Ruby Grace
Mend is pretty self explanatory, I "Mend"things to lovely, Ruby and Grace are my daughters middle names!
I have always love those names. Where are you from?
I am from Sonoma County, my family has been here for many years, to give you an approximate idea let me just say, my parents and I graduated from the same high-school.
How long have you lived there?
I have been here for 25 years!
Tell us what kind of craft you do and where you see yourself in 5 years:
I am a distracted crafter. I love to try new things, but the joy I get from creating for children especially my own keeps me headed in that direction. I find myself wanting to braid together the old and the new. Nostalgia is my fuel. This nostalgia also plays into the idea of custom made re-purposed items I often create. The desire to share those sentiments of old with my own children and children of that generation is an idea I am passionate about. The ability create a dreamer doll from fabric and a crochet flower somebody created thirty years ago amazes me to this day. I love the thought that I can make a grandmothers handkerchief a friend for her great granddaughter to hold close at night. It's just plain sweet.
I have come to accept that I may just keep evolving and never stop changing, but I would hope in five years that I will still be contently crafting.
Nostalgia. Me too! I often say it's the "story" in something I'm attracted to. Your favorite thing to do with a chunk of spare time?
When a Mother has two children under five a chunk of spare time is scarce and rarely comes without guilt. Hypothetically if I were to have child free, guilt free time, I would find myself connecting with grown-ups, or scouring the thrift shops for inspiration.
Favorite spice in your cupboard?
Chosen music to craft to:
My husbands new indie finds. Music is his craft. Seeking it out, always on the hunt for that next find. Some may call him an addict, I call him a musical mastermind. His latest find...East Harlem by Beirut, album The Rip Tide. I could listen to that song a thousand times and still keep it on repeat.
How do you start your day?
I have a feeling there may be a few questions that include this answer; COFFEE! How does your crafty self reconcile with the bottom line business side: It doesn't, I am terrible at balancing it out...it's always a challenge! How do you unwind at the end of a stressful week? Time with my honey!
Writing music, playing my ukulele, learning the guitar! Stress free fun...
Best thing about living in Sonoma County?
Since I grew-up in this area, the familiarity is comforting.
"I was a Good Mom before I had kids” the book is an instant stress reliever, and as a mother makes the day to day chaos seem quite typical..
Other crafts you would like to explore:
My husband owns a Dremmel, the tool that has changed my life, the idea of carving wood or metal really interests me.
How has the craft boom influenced your own craft?
The craft boom has helped me to work through feeling misunderstood as an artist. I know so much of my hesitancy had to do with the way I felt about myself, but to find a place where you belong as an artist is so valuable. I believe in discovering the beauty of how diverse the craft market can be, is empowering.
Your favorite comfort meal is?
Easy, bruschetta and pillows of yummy gnocchi, hmmmmmm!!!
What's in your handbag?
Many many things, let's start off with the cute stuff...lip-glosss, compact, nesting doll key ring, ipod with earphones, babyTylenoll (random), baby wipes (like a brick of them, really not necessary).
What is always in your fridge?
Vanilla Caramel Coffee Creamer!
I"m so happy to know another fellow coffee sister. What inspires you?
My brother he is a musician, and takes his “craft” to heart, he is seven years younger than I am. I find that everyday he inspires me to appreciate that I have a gift. Watching him play reminds me that nurturing our natural gifts equate to loving ourselves and recognizing our self worth. That love then bleeds to all those around us, it's an undying act of generosity.
What still holds wonder for you in this world?
I couldn't go a day without...
another coffee answer “Come on!”
What really ticks you off?
“The fact that I can never find a pair of scissors when I need them” really ticks me off:
Where would you love to travel next?
I dream of traveling to: Germany, I was born there, I am also very interested in the history, it's pretty amazing.
George, John, Paul or Ringo?
How do you feel American craftyprenuers have shaped craft and the craft industry?
I feel we have always been pioneers bringing new ideas to the kitchen table just to fine-tune them.
What advice would you give to crafters wanting to support themselves through their craft?
I would encourage them to persevere through the times that may seem to stand still. It is a difficult process to put yourself out there in the form of art.
I really love “to see:
the responses of the children who appreciate my work, I love it when I see they get me.”
Name a movie or poem or song that particularly moves you:
I would have to say the first song I learned to play on the ukulele holds a very special meaning for me, the bridge of the song reads, when you let me fall grew my own wings, now I'm as high as the sky, and when you let me drown grew gills and fins now I'm as deep as the sea, and when you let me die my spirits free there's nothing challenging me, got to keep awake to what's happening I can't see a thing through my ambition I no longer feel gods watching over me... Ring the Bells by James covered by Judson Clayborn.
What puts that special hop in your giddy-up?
A fantastic find! Anytime I discover something incredible from a store that doesn't appreciate it's value.
Miss Emmy Pie, joined the Smith clan one year ago when we rescued her...
Thank you Natasha, a pleasure as always and see you at Craftaluma!
For more of Mend by Ruby Grace you can find her at her links above.
(Photos courtest of Natasha Smith ©Copyright Mend by Ruby Grace)
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