Life took a turn for artist and maker, Kate Funk when she decided to make a birthday card for a friend featuring her mean mugging kitty, AC. Clearly it was a hit and ever since that fateful party picture, Kate has let her imagination go wild and AC’s stardom to the moon. From Pee-wee to the Christmas tree, AC has a long and expansive modelling career fueled by the creativity of Kate, her attention to detail, and absurd sense of humor. Kate has taken her photo series and built a serious business. Coming up on the release of her second book, Kate and AC are as busy as ever but took some time to talk about where they came from and what is happening next.
A beautiful part of the local maker scene is that it is ever changing and always inviting. Long time friends and business partners Kelly Karwoski and Sarah Hudson of Geo Germain are bringing their concrete creations to the table. Taking a common and industrial material and transforming it into beautiful and functional pieces. Thier point of view feels modern and exciting. Starting in 2015 Geo Germain is an amazing addition to the final Maker Market at Colectivo. These fresh faces took some time to talk Geo Germain and their blossoming business.
Maker Market: How and when did Geo Germain get started?
Geo Germain: We have been friends since we were 14, and creativity was always a part of that, whether we were cooking, making jewelry, or taking floral arrangement classes together. After graduating college and working full time desk jobs, it became clear that we needed a creative outlet. We opened a bottle of wine and started planning in early 2015, and knew we wanted to involve succulents and flowers in our work while incorporating unique designs. We had our first show in May of 2015.
MM: What is the inspiration behind the name?
GG: Sarah’s grandpa George Hudson was an artist and professional sign painter in Milwaukee, most notably painting Robert Indiana’s design on the Buck’s floor at the MECCA in 1977. His artist signature was Geo Hudson, and geo also meaning “of the earth” made it a natural fit. Kelly’s family has deep roots in St. Germain, Wisconsin, where she spends many days fishing and beating the locals at cribbage.
MM: How did concrete become your medium? Is it a complicated material to work with?
GG: Concrete was always a medium we wanted to work with. You can make it into anything you want. We liked the idea of a long-lasting planter, and the contrast of a tough material like concrete with the delicate nature of a plant. There are many types of concrete, and we did experiment with different recipes until we found one that we liked. It is a tedious process to wait for the finished product to cure, and of course it can be messy. Kelly’s basement is proven fact of this!
MM: Can you describe your process from concept to completion?
GG: Initially, we used what we could find for molds. We spent a lot of time at thrift stores and rummages to find a good mix of materials that would work. After making our first round of tiny Lost Lake planters, we found that some bottles we had purchased along the way fit perfectly into the mini castings. The tiny vases are now one of our favorite pieces, and a great alternative for our customers who are wary of keeping live plants. We recently started learning how to make our own custom molds. The designs are first sculpted out of clay, and then we create the molds using silicone. We have made concrete beads for our terrariums to add more of our personality to them, and are excited to expand into different items that incorporate just concrete or add a space for a plant to an everyday item.
MM: Why do you think having greenery in your home or office is important?
GG: The great thing about succulents is that they are low maintenance, yet they add an element of the outside to places you wouldn’t expect. Having something that is constantly changing and growing throughout the year can make your living/working space more inviting.
MM: How has Milwaukee treated you as a fresh face in the market scene?
GG: We’ve had nothing but great responses from our fellow Milwaukeeans. People like the idea that they can purchase something locally made and add a bit of green in a ready-to-go package. It makes us excited to keep growing, evolving, and keep impressing all the dads that we cast concrete and carry it all ourselves.
MM: What can shoppers expect to see from you at the upcoming Maker Market?
GG: Our succulents are in full force with the beautiful weather, we will have some unique plants in our classic planters. Featured on some of our terrariums will be our new concrete beads, along with a few new types of air plants.
MM: Are you working on anything new and exciting? Any sneak peeks on new product?
GG: We are perfecting our mold-making skills and our goal is to have a few new items before winter. Some of the molds that we have in the works are concrete business card holders, dishes, antlers…. you’ll have to stay tuned to our Instagram to see what else we are working on. This week our first wedding favor order is being picked up, which we are extremely excited about.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Ig accounts? Books? Music? Artists?
GG: Kelly spent a large portion of the summer in Northern Wisconsin. There she met her current inspiration in a 72 year old woman who creates wool latch hookings out of donated shirts – a skill taught to her by her great grandmother. Sarah recently moved and has been building her maker space in her home, which was brought her a lot of inspiration. The one thing that inspires both of us is the strong group of women who own Milwaukee area businesses. The dedication, support and creativity is unbeatable and pushes us to keep going.
Somewhat illusive online, artist and maker Molly Mckee and her work have a true presence in person. Not to be missed at the upcoming Maker Market her plush creations are truly inspired. By mixing patterns, hand stitching, and painting, each piece has a personality all it’s own. From a young age this creative has been taking skills passed down from older generations and letting her creativity go wild. Her plush started with one sock monkey and has evolved into sugar skulls, cowboys, and creatures. Mckee took some time to talk about her upbringing and share her work with Maker Market.
Maker Market: Where did you grow up? Were you a creative kid?
Molly McKee: I grew up in rural Wisconsin. As kids, my brother and I were free to run wild in the surrounding woods. I think spending so much time in nature supported my creativity. My brother and I were always drawing, painting, and creating little plays to put on too. Our creativity fed off one another. I think I was about six when my grandma and aunt taught me how to crochet. With this new skill, I started making crochet animals. As an adult I didn’t start making plush animals again until Faythe Levine invited me to make a sock monkey for a sock monkey show she was putting on. After that, to my surprise, I was hooked.
MM: When and how did you start Brash Monkey?
MoM: I think I started Brash Monkey on Etsy about six years ago. I don't do a lot of craft fairs but wanted a place to post new work and be able to sell them too. I have to admit, my work is a little less brash than it use to be.
MM: Outside of plush, what mediums do you work in?
MoM: I draw and paint with usually some mixed media. I like to layer surfaces. I have recently been painting and carving into wood. I enjoy the tactile qualities of wood. I like that you can hold it and feel it. This is also what I like about working with fabric. I like the evidence of the life the wood had revealed in its grain and having to work with this in a piece.
MM: What inspires your creatures? What does your process look like?
MoM: Often I have an idea in mind and start from there. Depending on what it is, I do a sketch or two and then design a pattern. Then as I work, it becomes an reaction to the materials that I am using. It might be the color, texture or the pattern that informs the next decision. At this point the piece starts to have a life of its own. There is never two pieces that are alike. I always find that interesting.
MM: Do you name your pieces? They have so much character!
MoM: I don’t typically name my pieces. I leave that to the one who buys them. I like when people come back to me to tell me what they named them. I do like to think of a background story for my pieces and sometimes include it in the description of the piece on my Etsy site.
MM: What can shoppers expect to see from you at the upcoming Maker Market?
MoM: I will have a variety of creatures, human, animal, cowboys. Some are better for adults and some are just right for children. I just started making sugar skull dolls. They have plush bodies and hand painted faces. I like being able to paint and sew in the same piece. I will also have some small paintings on wood and drawings.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? IG accounts? Music? Movies? Artists?
MoM: I am inspired by the work Akio Takamori. I love his ability to move from 2-D to 3-D in a single piece. His work is so beautiful. I also love the work of Kiki Smith. Her use of line is amazing. Her work always feels so raw and very moving. I’m also inspired by my three year old daughter. I love the way she sees the world. I love that dandelions and pebbles are precious to her. I think when you have a child you want to see the beauty and wonder of the world. This is something I want to hold onto and hopefully have it filter into the work I do.
Not to be missed, Molly McKee and her work will be at this Sunday’s Maker Market at Colectivo in Bay View. Come grab one of her pieces and give it a new home and a new story.
As an Illinois transplant, printmaker and designer Jim Kennelly, has fallen for Wisconsin. Starting as a side project and creative outlet his linocut prints of MIlwaukee neighborhoods evoke a sense of true pride that residents have for their neighborhood. His attention to detail and inspired lettering marries traditional methods with a modern twist. From downtown to the Wauwatosa neighborhood and beyond, Kennelly tells Maker Market how he got here and what hood might be next!
Maker Market: Where did you grow up and were you a creative kid?
Jim Kennelly: I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. As a kid, I kind of just assumed I was kind of a weirdo. But looking back now, I realize that I was just expressing my creativity in all ways possible. I loved to draw, write stories, create home videos with my friends. That was my idea of fun. Always using my imagination in new ways.
MM: What medium first grabbed you and when?
JK: I have always been drawing, every since I was a kid. Just a simple pad of paper and a pencil. If I was excited about something, I would draw it. If I was sad about something, I would draw it. It was my way of expressing myself. My grade-school art teacher saw potential from the beginning and she pushed me to learn the traditional methods of drawing as well as different medias.
MM: You are a creative professional! How has working in design in the corporate world treated you? Has it put a fire in you to gain a more personal outlet with your side hustle?
JK: Working for a large corporation as an in-house art director has taught me a lot about myself. It has tapped into sides of creativity that I didn’t even know I had! It has pushed me to become a better designer and artist in so many ways. But it is hard work, and can be highly stressful. Anyone who works in advertising or creative services knows the ups and downs of the industry. A couple years ago I realized that I needed a creative outlet outside of my day-to-day. Something that I didn’t need to get approval on. I just wanted to create things that I like and not worry about deadlines and outside pressures. That’s when I got into printmaking. It was more of an experiment at the beginning, but it quickly became a passion. I found myself constantly thinking about it and getting inspired for new ideas everywhere I went. It has been a lot of fun so far.
MM: What about hand lettering speaks to you?
JK: Every since I took typography 101 in college, I have been in love with type. I love letterforms and everything they symbolize to us as a culture. I love that there are endless ways to draw each letter. And each way can exude a different emotional response. I worked at a sign shop all through college. They specialized in large scale vinyl printing for vehicle wraps, but the owners background was in traditional sign painting. He gave me books to study on the art of sign painting. I think this sparked the initial passion for hand lettering. I have a lot to learn, but I love that there is a whole community out there of hand letterers. These are people I can learn from every day.
MM: How did you get into hand carving block prints? Can you describe your process?
JK: It started as a workaround to screen printing posters. I dont have the facilities or space to do screen printing, so I needed an easy way to make prints. My fiance's mother actually suggested linocut to me as a option. I remembered it from art class and decided to give it a shot. And I actually love the aesthetic that it creates. The process basically starts by hand-carving my design into a sheet of soft linoleum. I then roll ink onto the carving surface and transfer it to paper, fabric, or whatever material I can think of. The result is a very hand-made looking print. No two prints turn out the same. There is texture in the ink that is created from the printing process that you just can’t duplicate.
MM: A lot of your printwork is Milwaukee neighborhood based. It’s a great way to rep your hood! What neighborhood do you live in and why do you love it?
JK: I currently live on the edge of the east-side and downtown. I love the vibrancy and energy of downtown. And I am drawn to the art and culture of the east-side. I have lived in Milwaukee for about 7 years and have always lived on the east-side. As I am getting older, I'm starting to be drawn to other neighborhoods. I can definitely see myself moving to Shorewood or Wauwatosa next! I just love that every neighborhood has its own set of characteristics, and there are so many great places to live in this city!
MM: What is special about Milwaukee and why does it inspire much of your work?
JK: I just feel like there is a strong sense of pride from the people who live in this city. It’s apparent in every city, but Milwaukee really exudes that energy and the people show it. Even beyond Milwaukee there is a real pride in the state of Wisconsin as a whole. I knew that I could tap into that pride through my work. This area has been new and exciting to me ever since I moved here, so it just came natural to capture that energy.
MM: Would you ever consider doing a Cudahy print?
JK: Of course! No neighborhood is off limits. I get a LOT of personal requests. A lot of which come from neighborhoods I have never heard of. When I started my neighborhood badge series, I planned on capping out at two total. I now have a four done and I have a high demand for others. So keep your eye out! Cudahy may be next!
MM: Have you been working on anything new and exciting to be debuted at the upcoming Maker Market?
JK: Well, I will be selling the Maker Market poster I designed for this event. It is a 22x30 two-color block print. I also just finished printing my fourth neighborhood badge (Wauwatosa). I have been quite busy this summer so I haven't been able to pound out as many designs as I would like, but hopefully these two new posters will feel fresh.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Ig accounts? Blogs? Books? Music?
Pretty much everything inspires me! I use Instagram as a inspiration library for sure. There are so many great artists to discover on that platform. I also find a lot of inspiration on the streets. I am always keeping my eyes peeled for vintage signs and lettering out there in the wild!
To see the wonderful Maker Market poster for August and much more from designer and artist Jim Kennelly check out the Maker Market this Sunday August 21st in the parking lot of Colectivo in Bay View!
Comically sad and sometimes grotesque, the visions of artist Erick Knudtson are a new and interesting addition to the lineup of talented artists and makers at the upcoming Maker Market. New to the market scene, his cutout screenprints, printed t-shirts, and original artwork are in his own words a ‘bit more art garage sale.’ This is a sale not to be missed as moving onward for this artist maybe in the near future. Somewhat elusive and full of characters, artist Erick Knudtson shares some of his insights and life experiences from creating on the road to sitting still.
Maker Market: You are kind of hard to creep on the internet...is that intentional?
Erick Knudtson: Ha! It used to be somewhat intentional. Probably from watching Terminator 2: Judgement Day too many times. At the moment, I just don't spend a lot of time on social media and I have a pretty lazy web-presence because i would rather be working in the studio than marketing myself. It’s something I need to get better at. I’m not opposed to social media, it can just be a bit time consuming.
MM: Where are you from? How did you get here?
EK: I’m from Elkhorn, WI. I went to school at UW-Whitewater and then traveled around for a couple years. Then I ended up in Milwaukee. Looking forward to traveling again and making art on the road.
MM: Where did you travel on your first trip? How did it influence your art?
EK: The most influential trip was a couple years ago when I traveled with two very close friends for a year in a motorhome. We stayed at some residencies in Iowa and Tennessee, and moved around everywhere in between. It was incredible! Too many life changing experiences to even begin. A far as how it influenced my art, it made me realize that you don't necessarily need a studio to be an artist. You need to learn to work with what you've got and draw inspiration from every experience you encounter.
MM: Where would you travel to next? Are you a planner or a go with the flow kind of person?
EK: Not sure where or what is next. I will say that I've got a terrible case of wanderlust so hopefully I'll be moving around soon! Absolutely a "go with the flow" type person with anxiety flares when things don't go as planned!
MM: What mediums do you work in and do you favor some more than others?
EK: I’ve tried my hand at a lot of different materials. Painting and printmaking are my favorite mediums to work in. I’ve also worked on some animation projects in the past that have been a lot of fun.
MM: When and how did your creativity first bud? Were you a creative kid?
EK: I’ve always loved to draw. My middle school and high school didn’t have any kind of art program so I think that starved me in a good way. When I got to college I dove right in and have been drawing, painting, printing, etc… ever since.
MM: It is astounding that schools do not have art programs or that art programs are getting cut left and right. How do you think having more experience as a young person would have changed your outlook on art?
EK: It definitely would have been nice to be exposed to more art and creative processes at a younger age. Ironically, I am somewhat glad that I wasn't because it made me that much more hungry to experience every process I could at a later age. Having said that, I do think that it is terribly sad when it seems like the arts are the first to go in schools that need to make some cuts. The arts should be the last to go. Luckily there are a lot of creative programs outside of the public school system that can supplement to a certain extent.
MM: What inspires the people you draw? Are they inspired by real people or inspired by the process?
EK: I wouldn’t say any of the pieces are “portraits” or are meant to portray any particular person. I start with a reference photo of some sort then tend to distort and exaggerate features because it makes the characters… well I guess it makes them become “characters”. It makes the figures playfully comical , yet somewhat unsettling. I’ve always like to juxtapoz the silly with the dire, laughter with sobs, the heavy with the light.
MM: As a newcomer to markets what can shoppers expect to see from you?
EK: I tend to be a little bit more art garage sale than craft fair. I will have t-shirts, cut out prints, buttons, postcards, and maybe a few other things.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Art? Music? IG accounts? Movies?
EK: I guess as far as art is concerned, I’ve been looking at a lot of Hieronymus Bosch, Durer, the Flemish Primitives, Outsider art, and some contemporary artists. I follow a lot of skateboarding on IG so I guess that style makes its way into my work. I also love horror and sci-fi movies which definitely play into some of the ideas and aesthetic decisions in my work.
Reclaimed wood is the medium and Eric Beneventi is the maker. His company Hounds Tooth Wood Werk takes inspiration from the material itself and the sky above. His handmade swings with inlaid constellations are beautifully crafted alongside more rustic live edge pieces. This juxtaposition is what really makes Hounds Tooth Wood Werk exciting and so fresh at each market. Beneventi speaks to Maker Market on how he got his start and how HTWW has truly evolved.
Maker Market: How did Hounds Tooth Wood Werk get started and what inspired your name?
Eric Beneventi: I started it as a creative gift giving outlet. I would make small kinetic sculptures using simple machines like levers, cranks, pulleys. These first pieces were from the heart and mimic my illustrations. I then started building furniture to furnish my own house, and a few small pieces for friends. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback I got and decided to try my luck with selling it. The name was inspired by two things really. First my dog, a coon hound named Raisin. I still have the first tooth she lost. Secondly, an old phrase about a saw "as sharp and as clean as a hounds tooth".
MM: How were you first introduced to woodworking?
EB: My Grandfather first introduced me to woodworking as a child. He was a gifted woodcarver and I would watch him in his workshop or sitting out on the back porch as we talked about life lessons.
MM: How would you describe your aesthetic?
EB: My aesthetic is ever evolving. As my skill set has grown in the past few years, the feel and quality of my work has evolved as well. I started out doing very rustic reclaimed tables and have grown into more refined pieces with a rustic feel. I want to keep as much of that feeling as necessary to highlight the other life the material has had.
MM: Where do you source your materials?
EB: As far as the materials I use, I try to come by most of it by accident. I am more picky than I used to be. I would pick up anything and everything I could get my hands on. Now I try to pick out wood with more history. I have used reclaimed flooring from the Turner Hall and wood from the Avalon Theater remodel as well as oak barrels that Lakefront Brewery used to age their beers in. I have also been working with the Urban Wood Lab, they cut down trees in Milwaukee and turn them into wonderful live edge lumber.
MM: Do you find inspiration from the material itself? What about using reclaimed wood excites you?
EB: I love the warmth, feel, and character that reclaimed wood has on its own. I try to keep that in doing as little processing as needed. The colors and defects from the natural weathering is what inspires me the most about this material.
MM: What does your creative process look like? Where do you work out of?
EB: Since I use reclaimed wood I come about the process differently than some other crafters. The materials dictate what I can make. Some pieces are sitting around for a long time before they "speak to me" and tell me what it would need to be to give it new life. Other times I know exactly what I want to make as soon as the materials come to me.
MM: Love the new swings! Have you got to swing on one of these beauties yourself?
EB: I have not personally tried them. The first two I made were gifts for my niece and nephew for Christmas last year and they seemed to love them. The newer ones I have for sale are inspired by constellations and each one has a different Mythical star formation inlaid on them.
MM: Do you create custom work? Any favorite projects of late?
EB: I mostly do custom work. It has been truly beneficial to speak to new customers at Maker Markets and most of my business comes from people seeing my work and contacting me about custom pieces in the days and weeks after each market. My favorite projects are the custom live edge pieces I have done.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Music? Movies? IG Accounts? Blogs?
EB: Inspiration hits me at the strangest times. I can’t pinpoint my ideas from any real media but a spark will always ignite from the star gazing and cloud watching. I’m really into the mysterious side of the universe and the unseen. I have just stumbled upon a very intriguing podcast called Tanis. I won't go into it but it’s quite bizarre.
For artist Samantha Schmitz, sunset walks lead to moonlit evenings that come alive. This painter, illustrator, and jewelry maker uses color and crystal to take her lucid dreams and turn them into paintings and wearable art. As an advocator for taking sleep seriously these pieces are first recorded in dream journals that serve as inspiration of the truest kind. As a child, Schmitz was inspired the night sky and continues to find its allure and imagination. This Moonchild speaks on growing up outside, being chased by the moon and chasing dreams.
Maker Market: When and what drew you to your artistic side? Were you a creative kid?
Samantha Schmitz: I was most definitely a creative kid! Some of my first memories are of coloring with my Mom and Dad. I don’t even know what initially drew me to my artistic side, I think I just always had it in me. Making art was always my favorite thing. I remember the first things that made me want to specifically want to be an illustrator though, were Ren & Stimpy, and those “Scary Stories” books. The illustrations in those books were so exciting to me. As for Ren & Stimpy, there are a lot of moments in that cartoon where they’ll have a still frame watercolor illustration that is super detailed and sometimes grotesque - that would just amplify emotion of the characters in a certain moment. Those still frames still give me chills and make me want to draw!
MM: What about the female face do you find inspiring? Does each piece have its own identity?
SS: In most of my paintings, the female face is a representation of me in my different dream states, and also different aspects of my higher self. I also gravitate towards the feminine because, to me, it embodies our connection to love, intuition, creation and creativity.
I think each piece does have its own identity though during the actual creation process. I start with a message or dream memory that I want to bring to life, but while I’m making the painting I really let it lead me to where it wants to go - like it is its own being that talks and shows me where to put each line and brush stroke.
MM: Do you do custom work? How does doing custom work different than creating from your own ideas?
SS: I do custom pieces! I’ve worked on tattoo designs, custom illustrations/paintings, and jewelry pieces for people. Most of the people that ask me to do custom work know my style and are interested in pieces that reflect that. Doing custom paintings is obviously different than letting my dream memories fly - but I love a challenge and really end up digging the problem solving that comes along with all custom work. Custom jewelry work is so fun for me too. I have the resources to get a vast array of different crystals and materials, so there are tons of possibilities.
MM: What about the moon and stars inspire you creatively?
SS: The night sky is just one of those things that has always played a big role in my life. I’ve always been immensely fascinated by it. Some of my favorite memories are playing in the summertime at night in my old backyard when the moon was so bright it almost seemed like daylight. That calming blue moonlight was always something that made me happy, and I realized at a young age that I was my most creative self during the nighttime hours.
I’m also extremely interested in otherworldly things…like UFOs and aliens. Having so many dreams involving these subjects has only deepened my fascination. Staring at the night sky is something I could do for hours, especially when I’m watching and waiting to see something flash or move in the sky. I’ve even been UFO hunting in Sedona, AZ with military-grade night vision goggles in the middle of the desert. I’m really into it.
MM: What does it mean to be a "Moonchild?"
SS: I think “Moonchild” means something a little different to everyone. For me, it’s something I think I’ve always been. I realized at a young age that I felt most like myself and was the most creative and happy at night. I always have felt that my vibration rises when I’m in the presence of the moon, and “Moonchild” was a term that resonated with me instantly. One of my favorite songs by Dave Matthews has lyrics that go:
“It’s funny when you’re small
The moon follows the car
Does no one but you see?
Hey, the moon is chasing me”
(I always thought the moon was chasing me while riding in the car, too.)
I think if you can find an aspect of nature that makes you that happy, energetic and creative - you need to surround yourself with it and incorporate it into your life the best you can.
MM: Can you describe lucid dreaming and what it means to you and your process?
SS: Ever since I was really young, my dreams have been so vivid they’ve felt real. I have remembered most of my dreams almost every night of the week for as long as I can remember. I have so many old dream journals, and I still keep up with them to this day.
Most of the dreams I’ve had have been wild, colorful, and exciting (flying through space, meeting yetis, talking to sea creatures, chatting with blue aliens) but some dreams haven’t been as fun. Around ten years ago I started having really intense nightmares. They were so draining and terrifying that they were affecting me in my daily life. I decided I needed to do some research and see if there was anything that could help - and that is when I came across lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming is something a lot of people have actually experienced at some time or another. Have you ever had a dream where you knew you were dreaming? That is lucid dreaming - being aware inside of a dream. The research I was doing was looking into taking lucid dreaming to the next level, and actually controlling your dreams after becoming aware - which can be hard because once you realize you’re dreaming - you get so excited you usually jolt awake! But this was exactly what I needed because my dreams were so bad - and now I could learn to change the negative events if they began to take place. Being aware inside of a dream is unexplainably incredible - but manipulating your dreams too? You can do anything you want!
Learning to lucid dream is easier than you might think. There are lots of different ways to start, but my favorite (and I think easiest) way is to just go to bed and relax. While laying in bed, make sure you have peaceful music on or no noise at all, whatever works best for you. I then bring my hand in front of my face, and just focus on the palm of my hand. I repeat in my head, “When I see my hand in my dream, I will know that I am dreaming”.
I just relax, breathe, and well, stare at my hand and repeat that mantra. I use my hand as a tool, because most of the time - you will come across your hand while you’re doing something in a dream. Some people focus on a light switch, and then when they turn a light on or off in a dream - that activates the lucid state.
Whatever way works best for you - keep practicing it, even if it seems like nothing is happening. If manipulating and remembering your dreams interests you, seriously don’t give up. So much can change in only a week of practicing. And I promise you, it is the most INCREDIBLE and untapped experience that we can have as humans (in my opinion).
I know a lot of people who always say “I never remember my dreams”…but I promise you, you can! Also, keep a dream journal. Even if you wake up in the morning and only remember a color, or an object from the night before - write it down. Every night you’ll remember more and more.
MM: In addition to your illustration you also make jewelry. What inspires this other medium and how is the process different?
SS: I just recently began working with jewelry last year, and am so in love with it! I love painting, drawing, and illustrating…but I started having a craving to create tangible objects that also reflected that certain magic that I try to express through my 2D work. I’ve always loved crystals - even since I was a kid. So, working with raw crystals and their natural energy was my first gut reaction when I was thinking about 3D magical objects. I wanted to bring my artwork to life - and to me, my jewelry is wearable art. I also cleanse all of my crystals with sage (and sometimes in the moonlight!) so that their energies are at their peak when going to a new home.
MM: What can shoppers expect to see from you at the upcoming Maker Market?
SS: Lots of jewelry - necklaces, rings, bracelets, and anklets! I’m also going to have a bunch of prints of my paintings, and some original paintings - old and new. Outside of jewelry and paintings, I’ll have some other handmade crafts - like painted zodiac log slices and hand painted boxes filled with crystals (and moon magic).
MM: What have you been working on lately and where else can people see your work? Do you have any shows (aside from Maker Market) coming up?
SS: Lately I’ve been really caught up in experimenting with my jewelry making. Each piece I make is more exciting to me than the last - its addicting! I love working with all of the crystals and their energies. There is always an ebb and flow to the way I work though - I’m so excited to breathe for a second from the jewelry - and dive into a new series of paintings later this month.
As of right now, I don’t have any other shows planned for a little while - I’m getting married September 9th, so I’ve got a lot of wedding planning to finish! After the wedding though, I’ll be moving right back into my jewelry and painting, and hopefully showing again before the end of the year. People can always view my Etsy shop - www.etsy.com/shop/geminiandsage to view and purchase my jewelry and artwork, and can go to www.samanthaschmitzart.com to view more of my paintings.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Blogs? Movies? Music? Books? IG Feeds?
SS: Currently, I’ve been inspired by just walking. I started taking really long walks this summer along the lake, and I try to go around sunset to see all the beautiful colors. It’s amazing what putting your phone down for a few hours and breathing in some stinky Lake Michigan air will do for your mind! It feels nice just being physically next to trees and flora. I think you soak in more of their energy than you think when you’re near them. I always feel very creative after my walks.
Besides walking, I’ve been reading a lot of books about Near Death Experiences. It sounds daunting, but the stories are so beautiful and powerful. Hearing about people’s brilliant experiences of the afterlife, heaven, or whatever you resonate with calling it - makes you
really want to take life a little less seriously, and just do what make *you* happy. So I’m going to keep working with my crystals, practicing lucid dreaming, and painting my dreamtime characters - all in the loving company of my fiancé and my three funny cats..
To meet artist and maker Samantha Schmitz, talk UFOs and see all of her amazing new pieces check out the upcoming Maker Market at Colectivo in Bay View this Sunday July 17th. Im sure there will be Pokemon to catch too..;)
Pattern designer and illustrator, Allison Bielke creates patterns full of life, color, and classic kitsch. Taking both inspiration from mid century mod and her travels in life, Bielke has created some amazing iconic patterns that can be seen all over Milwaukee. From her amazingly adorable Colectivo Coffee bibs to a holiday ornament made for the Milwaukee Art Museum, her work can be seen in so many different forms. Bielke designs can be bought by the yard which takes the creative process on a whole new journey. On her own journey, Bielke speaks about how she got started, Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and what is on the horizon.
Maker Market: When and how did Allison Beilke Pattern Design and Illustration get started?
Allison Beilke: For years I wanted to learn how to make patterns and design fabrics, but I really had no idea how to get started. I stumbled upon a textile designers blog 7 or so years ago and in her frequently asked questions someone asked her how to get started doing that kind of work. She directed them to spoonflower.com - a website that allows you to upload your own pattern designs, have them printed on fabric and shipped to you. Once I figured out how to make a repeat tile and ordered my first swatches, I was hooked. For a few years it was just a fun hobby, but then I created a design of Milwaukee's skyline for a city scape design contest and it later spawned into my own small business when I started getting some positive feedback on that design from quilters and other people in the community.
MM: What kind of creative kid where you? Where you drawing at a young age?
AB: Yes, I was drawing a lot as a kid. I was lucky to have a family friend who lived down the street that gave me private art lessons. I learned so much from her at a young age.
MM: Many of your designs are holiday themed, including an ornament made for the Milwaukee Art Museum. Do you have a soft spot for such traditions? AB: Part of designing patterns for surfaces is determining what other people will want to see and purchase on products and the holiday market is huge. I really enjoy designing patterns for the holidays that have a little bit of a different color scheme or a modern twist than traditional holiday designs.
MM: Your designs have a mid century lean. Is there something that draws you to the past?
AB: Yes! I have always been drawn to mid century design. I remember watching older Hanna-Barbera cartoons as a kid and being drawn to the bright colors and flat shapes, which to me looked more interesting than the highly rendered, detailed cartoons of the 80s. Later I got more into the textiles and furniture design of that era and it's something that continues to inspire me. I liked that this style of design is sophisticated and understated, but also full of character.
MM: What does your creative process look like?
AB: I usually start with sketches and an idea for one main pattern design and then sometimes I create other coordinating fabrics afterwards. It's always fun to see what color schemes and collections can come from one design.
MM: With your pattern designs a customer can order yardage. Do you get to see any of the finished products from customer purchases? Does it inspire and excite you to see what people do with your patterns?
AB: Yes! I sometimes get to see people's finished products through social media and love seeing what people create! One of the coolest parts of designing fabric is that it inspires other creative people to make things with it that I never would have though of!
MM: What has been your biggest seller?
AB: Definitely the My Fair Milwaukee design.
MM: What have you been working on lately? What can shoppers expect to see from you at the upcoming Maker Market?
AB: Last year my new item was tea towels with my Milwaukee pattern on it. I am continuing to sell those along with other items like postcards, note cards and coasters.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Music? Blogs? IG accounts? Artists?
AB: Traveling really inspires me! One of my favorite things is coming back from a new city I visited, going through my photography and seeing what ideas I can come up with from there.
To see the My Fair Milwaukee print in person check out Allison Bielke and her work at the upcoming Maker Market on Sunday June 19th at Colectivo Coffee in beautiful Bay View.
From within dreams, literally, come the beautifully handmade pieces from AnnKat Designs. Metalsmith and creative entrepreneur, Ann Kathryn Kehoe puts so much time and energy into the design of each piece as well as what each piece truly represents. Incorporating hidden messages and empowering energy into each design is a subtle, unique part of her process that adds a personal touch and connection between the artist and wearer. Between creating custom wedding jewelry to be worn til death and developing her own line, this busy maker took sometime to talk about her journey, her philosophy, and what is next for AnnKat Designs.
Maker Market: When and how did AnnKat Jewelry Designs get started?
Ann Kathryn Kehoe: I started AnnKat Designs five years ago. At the time, I was the lead jewelry designer for a company in Kansas City where I designed & fabricated hundreds of pieces. Although I worked in a studio all day, I craved creative freedom and wanted to explore my own design ideas. I built up my own collection of tools, began playing around with some unique concepts and opened AnnKat Designs. When I moved to Milwaukee a few years ago, I transitioned to working on my jewelry full-time and it’s evolved from there.
MM: What attracted you to metalsmithing? What is your workspace like?
AKK: I became interested in metalsmithing when I was 12. I met a jeweler at an art fair and would save up to buy gemstone rings from him every summer. Over time, we developed a friendship and he taught me how to forge & manipulate metal. He inspired me to attend college for metals and I later apprenticed under several jewelers before taking on a design position.
I think what attracted me most to metals is the personal connection & sentiment that jewelry holds. I love the idea that I can create a piece of artwork that is intended to be touched and worn. I love that working with metals is challenging and takes a lot of patience, but what I love most is that there is always more to learn and improve on!
My studio is a humble and beautiful space in our home with lots of natural light. I have a workbench for each station: design prep, fabrication, soldering, polishing and shipping. Organization is my key to productivity, so I have a lot of shelving and keep it pretty tidy!
MM: Where do you take inspiration from?
AKK: I’m mostly inspired by nature, textiles, antiques, art, my dreams & music. I'm attracted to antiques and gain inspiration from vintage clothes and textile patterns, but at the same time I like to follow current artists working in other mediums besides metal to gain a fresh perspective. I'm also greatly inspired by my dreams. Often times, solutions to a project I'm stuck on will appear in a dream and sometimes an entire new design will come to me. When I'm inspired by something, I'll take elements from it that I’m attracted to and approach the idea from my own perspective.
I think the most important part in the design process is to keep in check with my own vision and not get pulled into making something that feels fake or just fits a current fashion trend
MM: When selecting the gemstones for your pieces, what qualities are you looking for?
AKK: When selecting a gemstone, I look for it to have a nice balance of shape, size, quality, and color- but most of all the stone has to feel right! Basically, if I get inspired immediately from a gemstone, it’s coming home with me.
MM: How does symbology intersect with your aesthetic?
AKK: My work is full of symbolism, as every design has a meaning & empowerment infused into it. Every gemstone has it's own healing properties and I also like to include symbols and hidden words just for those who wear the piece. A lot of my rings will have sayings on inside of the band, or images underneath the stone. It is the wearer's choice to share with others or keep it to themselves for a little extra power. I like to think these secret empowerment can breathe light into dark spaces and bring a little extra strength to the wearer.
MM: Do you do custom orders? Have any favorite custom pieces?
AKK: I love making custom designs. My favorite part is figuring out what the right design is for the customer. The process usually starts with a few keywords, material/stone preference, and initial sketches, then it just evolves from there. Many of my custom designs are engagement rings, and I feel honored to make objects that hold so much meaning and sentimental value!
This 14K gold, amethyst & moonstone engagement ring is probably my favorite to date. This ring was designed for a woman who is a yoga teacher and we wanted to focus on the theme of balance. The number seven was symbolic, representing the 7 chakras & balance within the body. The Moonstone & Amethyst are symbolic of maintaining balance in mind & spirit, and the ring overall is symbolic of balance & everlasting love between the couple. This ring was completely hand-fabricated out of 14K gold, with hand-engraved details on the edge of the band. Even more unique, I made a gold midi ring that she wears as her wedding band.
MM: Are you currently working on new projects? A new line or lookbook?
AKK: I’m currently focusing on making one-of-a-kind, hand-fabricated designs combining cast elements, hydraulic die-formed pieces, mixed metals and unique gemstones.
You can expect to see many of these new pieces at the upcoming Maker Market, along with many new gemstone pendants and rings!
Join featured artist, Ann Kathryn Kehoe and AnnKat Designs at the upcoming Maker Market for Bay View Gallery Night this Friday from 5-10 pm. Maker Market for Bay View Gallery night features a brand new line up of talented artists and makers for a truly unique shopping experience.
Quarter Saw is busting into Maker Market with wonderfully crafted and inspired home goods. Quarter Saw combines industrial and modern design to create pieces that are both beautiful and functional. Owner and creator Scott Fleming has taken his youthful love of woodworking, passed down by his father, and started a blooming business dedicated to his unique style and high quality craftsmanship. This soon to be groom took a little time away from Quarter Saw and the insanity that is wedding planning to talk about his new business and the everlasting impact of Zelda.
MM: When and how did Quarter Saw get started?
Scott Fleming: After a failed start up in Arizona, I found myself out of a job back home with my parents. I always loved woodworking as a hobby and figured I'd try to make some cash with it.
MM: Is Quarter Saw a full time gig or a side business?
SF: Even though it started out as a money making venture, it's now a side business for me. I work a steady day job as VP of sales for a small electronics wholesaling biz outside of Milwaukee. Electronics and woodworking don't exactly go hand in hand....or maybe I'm a Renaissance man. It's all good.
MM: When and how did you pick up woodworking?
SF: My dad is a master woodworker by hobby; grew up on a farm, engineer, knows how to build just about anything. From a small age I gravitated towards that and was operating a scroll saw by the time I was in 5th grade...mostly making Zelda swords and whatnot.
MM: Where do you source your materials?
SF: Wherever I can find good stuff. For big box stores it's mostly junk besides Menards. Craigslist has also been pretty fruitful for me. Just need to be willing to take a little drive out of the city. My live edge slabs are from Hoppe Tree Service.
MM: What are some of your top sellers?
SF: My top sellers are, hands down, record stands. Closely followed by essential oil diffusers and triangle shelves. I've put up 2 live edge coffee tables and they've both sold which is awesome. I'll have a black walnut table at the next market so hopefully somebody wants that one in their house too.
MM: How do you develop your designs? What is your process like?
SF: Creative process is really up and down for me. Sometimes I want nothing to do with woodworking, other times I'll see something and immediately the gears start turning in my head. My biggest motivator is probably just learning how to do new things, putting new tools in my belt is a great feeling.
MM: How did you create your essential oil diffusers and their modern meets mad scientist design?
SF: Well organic chemistry was my favorite class in college so I do know my way around a Bunsen burner, but the idea was actually belongs to my fiancée- she's really into essential oils. She basically said "hey you should make an oil diffuser" and the design is just what I came up with.
MM: Why do you think buying handmade and local makes a difference?
SF: I think buying handmade local is cool due to the personal nature of it. Meeting people is awesome. This kind of stuff forces people to meet face to face and chat. I like that. It's easy to click a few buttons on Amazon and wait a couple days, but when you leave a market with something handmade you also go home with a story and a new friendship. It's cool.
MM: Will you be debuting any new products at the upcoming Maker Market?
SF: I'll be displaying my live edge black walnut table/bench with maple inlays. It's pretty rad. I had a lot of people asking me about benches at the last Maker Market. I threw more rigid and sturdy legs on this table that can support a few people sitting on it.....and there you have it, a table/bench hybrid is born.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Books? Blogs? Music? IG accounts?
SF: To be honest I'm getting married in less than 2 months so that's really been my focus lately!
In the market for a killer new record stand or a industrial but modern oil diffuser? Come see Scott and Quarter Saw at the upcoming Maker Market this Sunday in the parking lot of Colectivo in Bay View!
On May 15th, Maker Market welcomes the new season with a stellar roster of veteran artists and makers alongside some exciting fresh faces. Among these newcomers is one of the youngest creative entrepreneurs to ever set up shop at Maker Market. Eleven year old Mara Gramling, of Dye Young, will be offering shoppers hand dyed and one of a kind t-shirts for the fashion forward. With creative luminaries for parents, Mara is following in their footsteps but in her own unique and youthful voice. This busy lady took some time away from school work to spill the beans on how she started Dye Young, Arnold’s face, and the inspiration behind her wild designs.
Maker Market: How did you come up with the name Dye Young and when did you start making?
Mara Gramling: I have been making crafts and selling them since November 2014 when my school Highland Community School had a holiday craft fair. The first products I made were ceramic magnets. Then this past November for Highland's craft fair, I decided I wanted to make t-shirts and my mom said she would help me because she likes dying and printing and stuff like that. We were brainstorming names for my business and my dad came up with the saying "live fast, die young." Then I said "print fast, dye young" and then I just shortened it to Dye Young.
MM: Can you describe what you make and what methods you use?
MG: I make wild colorful creative t-shirts in men, women, kids, and baby sizes. I make them unique by dying them using different tie-dye methods and bleach methods. I also print on them using stencils and stamps that I make myself.
MM: What about hand dyeing gets you the most excited?
MG: I am excited by the colors! I like choosing colors to dye with according to the color that the shirt is already. Tie-dye and shibori (a method my mom taught me where you fold and clamp the shirts in certain ways) always gives you a surprise! It's super cool to unfold the shirts after dying and be see the patterns you made!
MM: How would you describe your style? Do you wear your own designs?
MG: My style is just being comfortable. That’s all I care about! Yes, I love wearing my weird shirts!
MM: Where do you get the shirts that you print on?
MG: All the shirts that I use for my business are second-hand and most of them I get from Value Village because it's really close to our house so we can walk. We use second-hand shirts because it's good for the environment.
MM: If you could pick one person to wear and represent Dye Young who would it be and why?
MG: If I could choose anyone to wear Dye Young I would choose Arnold Schwarzenegger because it would look really funny to see him wearing a colorful shirt with his big serious face. Also, I also couldn't think of any other good celebrities and I'm just watching the Terminator right now.
MM: Why did you want to start your own business?
MG: I started my own business because I needed something important to do other than schoolwork because it's boring... and I want to make money.
MM: What are you gonna spend all your dough on?
MG: Some of my money I will reinvest into my business and pay my mom back for all the shirts she bought for me. The rest of it I'll save for something big, I don't know what it is yet. Also, Mom and Dad make me give 10% of all my money to charity all the time. I am going to give to the Humane Society. Oh! and I'll buy myself and my brothers popsicle every time the paleta cart guy comes by our house this summer!
MM: What has been inspiring you lately? What are you watching, listening to, reading??
MG: I am inspired by colors and I get ideas for designs from things that I see in books and stuff. Right now I'm watching The Terminator movies like I already mentioned. My favorite album is the new Animal Collective. I like to read graphic novels. I read a lot of manga. I am inspired by illustrations I see.
To meet the creator and designer Mara Gramling and shop the exciting Dye Young line don’t miss the Maker Market spring opener on Sunday May 15th in the parking lot of Colectivo in Bay View.
I have been organizing craft fairs since 2010 when I first organized Hover Craft with three of my friends. Since then, I have had the pleasure of creating many craft fairs and get asked for advice all the time. At one point, Maker Market was even hosting classes called Maker Sessions aimed at utilizing the knowledge available in our community to educate artists on business topics. While I still have plans for Maker Sessions in the future, I thought for now it could become part of our blog. This will be the first installment of Maker Sessions intent to share secrets for success for people who are interested in making their crafty hobby their business.
Topic #1 : Simple Steps to a great craft fair application!
There are about as many ways to jury a craft fair as there are craft fairs, but when you get a few craft fair organizers in a room we cover this very important topic every time. It sheds light on my own habits as an organizer, we share secrets and then ultimately come up with the fact that there is no great way to jury a popular show! As vendors, you should keep this in mind. Your application should be simple, to the point and definitely on time.
Here are some tips to make your application help you (instead of hurt you).
1. Make sure your application is early. Not even on time, submit it early. I have had a number of discussions with people who jury craft fairs from all over the United States and it actually is important to get your application in early. First, many craft fair jurors go through the applications as they come in, chronologically. If you are the first well-done geometric jewelry company with beautiful branding and gorgeous product shots, you will be the first to go into the tiny accepted pile with all the vendor spots still open. If you apply on the day of the deadline, chances are you will be unknowingly competing for a spot against many geometric jewelry companies with beautiful branding and gorgeous product shots with less spots available. Many other factors go into who gets accepted and who doesn't, but it certainly will not hurt your chances if you just submit your application as early as you can.
2. Make sure you follow the directions. I know it sounds so simple! But it needs to be said. I try my best as an organizer to keep applications as simple as possible so will be as easy as possible to submit your application, but I cannot tell you how many applications are not submitted correctly. Just go down the list and make sure you follow all the directions. Then, before you hit send - just give your application a look and make sure you followed all the directions.
3. Apply with descriptive product shots. I have often opened applications with images attached and simply cannot tell what I am looking at. Your image should be able to communicate at a glance what the object is and what size it is. If it is an accessory, you should put your product in its environment. If it is a handmade book, I should be able to tell it is not a card or a poster. These product shots are the most important part of your application and if you need inspiration, just head on over to Etsy and search for a product similar to yours. Ultimately thousands of products will probably come up. Go through them one by one and take notes on why some images are successful and why some rely on a description and then use that list as inspiration to design your own very descriptive product shots.
Also, if you are applying to a show you apply to every year include new product shots. No organizer ever wants to be accused of putting on the same show every year. Include new pictures of what you are currently making in your application for a boost. If you are excited about it, chances are I will be excited about it too!
4. Explain the breadth of your product line. I cannot tell you how many similar businesses there are out there. How do you set your business apart? Make your product line make sense, but make it varied and then make sure you showcase that in your application. As an example - I receive many applications from vendors who make soap. I receive few applications from vendors who make soap, lip balm, beard oils and facial lotions. If I am jurying a show with limited space and I know I am going to have to turn people down, the soap maker carrying a common item supplemented with items no one else carries is much more attractive. Another example - I love it when a vendor has a supreme talent making something crazy articulated and super special. I love it even more if their product line starts at cheap, continues through gifting price and then tops out at expensive. Like a woodworker who sells wooden pins for $1, simple cutting boards for $40 and then amazing custom tables for $400.
5. Make your application easy to read. Understand that jurying a craft fair means organizers have to wade through applications. Imagine what a day of looking at 200+ applications feels like. It is hard and overwhelming and there is no way to do it besides just doing it. So, make your application easy to look at. Don't apply in paragraph form. If the applications asks you to list your name, your business name, etc - just list it. If you are accepted, the organizers will be copying and pasting that information into a spreadsheet - so make it easy for them. If you need to explain something, try to explain it in one sentence or two.
Maker Market is now accepting applications for the wait list only! But we use out wait list every month and it is a great way to jump on board if you missed the call for applications. If you would like to be notified of applications for vending opportunities in the Milwaukee area, click here and fill out the form on the right.
NEWaukee's Night Market is accepting applications until midnight on March 21st. Click here for information on how to apply!
A pet is a family member, a loyal companion, and truly a best friend. Pets can add joy and happiness to the lives we lead. In the same vein they can be totally weird and sometimes hilarious. Pets have personality. Valerie Miller, founder of WowieGoods, knows the love and loyalty and also the comedy that pets bring. Partnered with nostalgia for the classic “Best Friends” necklace, she created a line of pet tags that can be shared between two pets or pet and owner. These hand stamped tags allow the owner to show off their pups attitude with charm. Between volunteering and hanging with Ernie, Jake, and Pickles, Miller took some time to talk about her relationship with animals and the fun she is having with WowieGoods.
Maker Market: When and how did WowieGoods get started?
Valerie Miller: My fiancé, Ryan, and I bought a house and fused our dog families together about 2 years ago. Prior to that, my dog Pickles hadn't been the nicest to his dog Ernie. Once we moved into our new house, that all changed and they started to get along very well. One day I looked at Pickles and Ernie and I said to Ryan, "Do you think they'd wear those Best Friends broken heart necklaces if they could?" "You know, the ones from the 90's." And then I thought....why not? So, I started making Best Friends sets for dogs. Then, I realized everyone's dog is their best friend, so why not make a set for a human and dog to share and wear too. Shortly after, I decided I should offer more, so I started thinking of some more unique tags to make. We've got 3 dogs, I'm involved in dog rescue, and most of my friends have dogs, so it wasn't hard to come up with new sayings to stamp on the tags – inspiration was everywhere. This all happened about a year ago. I opened my Etsy shop in April of 2015.
MM: Is WowieGoods a hobby at the moment and if so would you like to turn it into a full time gig at some point?
VM: It's a hobby/side business at the moment, but I think my ultimate dream would be to be able to do WowieGoods part-time and still work as a graphic designer part-time, which is my full-time gig now. When I started, I was mostly driven by the fact that I thought the Best Friends idea just had to be done. I didn't pursue it in order to make money, but it's been nice to be able to tackle some projects that come along with buying a home.
MM: What inspired you to make pet tags and what is your process like?
VM: Pickles and Ernie were the ones that really inspired me. From there, Ryan and I would randomly think of other sayings for the tags. Usually it just happens at our house. Pickles will be doing something crazy and I'll look at her and say, "you're such a weirdo" and then realize that "weirdo" would be a good tag to stamp. I also get a lot of suggestions from customers when I'm out at local events. That's very helpful and I appreciate their input.
MM: How were animals a part of your upbringing?
VM: As a child, we had a dog, but now that I look back on it, my family didn't know what they were doing at the time. She was loved, but we could've done a better job raising her correctly. My connection and passion for dogs didn't really blossom until about 7 years ago when I started volunteering with MADACC (Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission). I started walking the dogs at the shelter and also got involved in advocacy for MADACC's animals and especially pit bulls. Walking the dogs and interacting with the poor animals at MADACC definitely taught me a lot about the connection a pet makes with a person and vice versa. I was always astonished when I'd see dogs that were clearly abused, with actual scars, possibly from being forced to fight, and those dogs were always the happiest to see humans. It made no sense to me. Here I was, the species that did that to the poor animal, and yet, the dogs still loved unconditionally, and wagged their tails with excitement. These dogs didn't know me, but within 5 minutes most of them would nuzzle up to me as if I had been in their life for years. The ability for an animal to immediately love and trust like that is amazing. Humans certainly aren't capable of that.
MM: Do you think that the relationship between humans and their pets has changed for your generation?
VM: Absolutely. Just think about how many restaurants/bars/hotels allow dogs now – it's great! More people are treating their pets as family and that makes me very happy. I think the rise in adoption has influenced this as well. Rescuing a pet can bring a different kind of connection, especially in cases where you really did save their life or rehabilitate them. I didn't even know there were dogs in need like that when I was growing up. Where I lived, you either bought a dog at the pet store or got a puppy from a farmer who's dog had given birth. I'm so glad people are bringing their pets inside and caring for them as best they can. Statistics show just that. My full-time job is also pet-related. I'm the graphic designer for a company that makes dog treats and grooming products, so I'm also aware of how much money people are spending on their pets theses days, and that number keeps climbing.
MM: Is there a special pet that has your heart at the moment and what tag is your pet rocking?
VM: I have 3 special dogs in my heart and home. They all have one of my custom ID tags right now. They read, "I'm a Jake," "I'm a Pickles," and "I'm an Ernie" on the fronts, and my phone number is on the back. I hate to admit it, but my orders come first, before my own pups. I actually didn't make those for them until about a month ago!
MM: What are some of your top sellers?
VM: The Humper & The Humped (set for two dogs), Best Friends sets - particularly the bones, Ladies Man, Mom's Favorite, Dad's Favorite, I Got a Second Chance, Big Brother, Big Sister, and Dumb & Dumber (two pet set).
MM: You take custom tag orders. Have you had any hilarious requests?
VM: I most recently had a custom request for a tag that says, "slut." I thought it was good enough to keep in the rotation, so that will be a regular now.
MM: Will you have any new and exciting new offerings at the upcoming Maker Markets?
VM: I definitely have more variety. I did add 2 new shapes since the last market - I have badges and bone sets now. One badge says "Fun Police" and there is also a 2 badge set, "Sheriff & Deputy." The bone sets are Best Friends sets - your dog shares half of his bone with his best doggy friend. I also have refined my process and found the best materials so I'm more confident with all of the products.
MM: You also use your business to spread the word about animals in need. Are there organizations or causes you would like to recognize for rescuing animals in the Milwaukee area?
VM: As I mentioned before, MADACC is Milwaukee area's neediest shelter. Many people aren't even aware that MADACC exists. It is a government agency, with a non-profit (Friends of MADACC) support system. There is a physical facility (35th & Burnham) and they have officers that canvas Milwaukee county as well, picking up stray, abandoned, and abused animals. They currently rescue and assure safe, temporary shelter, basic veterinary and humane care for over 12,000 stray, unwanted, abandoned, mistreated, and injured animals each year –– more than any other animal control organization in Wisconsin. Unlike other facilities, MADACC will take all animals, even ones that are sick, injured, and who may exhibit unsafe behavior, because those animals need a place to go too. Rescue groups and humane societies pull some animals from MADACC and then adopt them out, but not all animals get pulled and that's one of the reasons the shelter is so full. My own Pickles (as seen in the WowieGoods logo) was picked up as a stray but no owner came forward for her. She was passed up by rescue groups and humane societies and spent over a month at MADACC. She was scared, and possibly formerly abused, and all she needed was love and patience. She is a completely different dog today.
I also volunteer with Canine Cupids rescue group. The majority of the dogs we take into rescue come from MADACC. Cupids is a foster-based rescue group, meaning there is no physical shelter. We rely on foster families that open their homes, time, and love to these dogs. The foster families work with dogs to help them adjust to living in a home, often with other animals. They help train and socialize them so they are ready for adoption. Cupids takes a lot of dogs with medical issues, treats them, and nurses them back to health so they have a better chance at finding their forever home.
Here's my plug....if you have ever considered fostering a dog or cat, I strongly encourage you to reach out to MADACC or Canine Cupids. Fosters SAVE LIVES and make room in the already overcrowded shelters. OR if you're looking to adopt, check out their available animals.
MM: Where can people find Wowie Goods outside of Maker Market?
VM: WowieGoods has a store on Etsy and aftcra and can also be found in the following local stores:
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Blogs? Movies? Music? IG accounts? Ect?
VM: Mostly the dogs - my own, my friends' dogs, dogs I see on Facebook and Instagram.
Find Valerie and WowieGoods at the upcoming Maker Market at Discovery World this Saturday March 5th. And to all the tiny dogs out there…..Spring is almost here!
It is easy to watch magical things happen when you are near Flying Ox Creations. Rachel Lewis’s felt masks, wings, and tails can turn any kid into a superhero, a dragon, or a kitten. These quality handmade costumes foster the imagination and spark creative play. In a high tech world it is a delight to see how simple it is to excite and engage children and adults alike. With a focus on soft textures and a penchant for humanitarianism, Flying Ox Creations is a simple concept with a lot of substance. Busy bee and creator, Rachel Lewis, took some time to dig a little deeper on what it means to don a mask and transform.
Maker Market: How and when did Flying Ox Creations start?
Rachel Lewis: My daughter can be really sensitive to the way things feel, and mass-produced costumes tend to make her itchy and super crabby. But she loves to dress up, so what is a mama to do? I made a couple sets of butterfly wings and a flamingo Halloween costume for her a couple years ago and then started giving them away to friends and family. I realized that I really LIKE making costumes, and a business was born. I put up an Etsy shop last March, so officially, I started not quite a year ago.
MM: How did you come up with the name Flying Ox Creations?
RL: Without getting too much into the specifics, I feel like oxen pop up a lot in my life. And I like them – they’re a solid, hard-working, get-things-done kind of animal, and these seem like good aspirational qualities for someone whose thoughts are usually bouncing around in a million directions. But I also love the idea of one of these strong, earth-bound creatures getting wings and a chance to fly. It’s a silly visual that brings me joy.
MM: What inspired you to start making kids masks and costumes?
RL: In an increasingly digital world, there are so many really cool ways to play that involve technology – but it’s also so important for kids to engage in imaginative, creative, active play. I want this for my daughter, and for as many other kids as I can stick my costumes on! Additionally, having a child who is sensitive to the way things feel showed me that there is a hole in the costume market – and while my masks/tails/wings are not necessarily specifically for kids with sensory issues, I want them to be comfortable and wearable for all kids, especially those who may have trouble finding something comfortable at a large retailer. I was also unimpressed by the quality of a lot of the mass-produced costumes I was seeing – kids play hard, and from a parental standpoint, it really sucks when that thing your kid is in love with falls apart after a little while.
MM: How do you decide what to make? Can you describe your creative process?
RL: My daughter is full of suggestions, and as she is my target demographic I really appreciate her input. I try to pick animals that have distinct, easily-identifiable facial characteristics that will translate well to felt. And then I look at a bunch of pictures of the animal, including cartoons, draw them out on paper, trace onto felt, cut, sew, make adjustments, repeat. Everything is hand-cut, and I do most of the sewing on the machine. It’s a really fun challenge to take something that is originally 3-D, the animal, and translate it to the 2-D flat mask. In a way it will become 3-D and animated again when the wearer puts it on their face.
MM: Did you play “dress up” as a kid? What kind of kid were you?
RL: I did, yes. I don’t think I ever in my life had an actual store-bought costume, and my mom was kind of a wizard at turning household items into costume props. We lived in Yemen, where you couldn’t just pop over to Target and get a superhero costume, so we had to get creative. I also spent a TON of time with my nose in a book, and I really liked stories that featured talking animals or time-travel.
MM: What do you think it is about putting on a mask that fosters imagination?
RL: I think that when you put on a mask, you get to be something or someone else for a minute, and we ALL want a chance to escape our own identity from time to time. Obviously, you can pretend to be a lemur without having a lemur mask on your face, but I think the mask is a little spark that gives you permission to really go for it.
MM: Last year you donated 10% of your profits to Big Home Academy. Can you describe your connection to this school in Ethiopia and why you decided to donate to it?
RL: We went to Ethiopia last year to visit my sister and her family, who live in Addis Ababa. The gentleman who started Big Home Academy works as a guard at the international school where my sister works, and she has gotten to know him that way. We visited BHA, and I was blown away by the love and passion I felt there. Basically, the founder is just a regular guy who saw a dire need for a school in his very low-income community and works really hard to make it happen. He is not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but he is so committed. He inspired me, and I wanted to help, even in just a small way. Getting to play dress-up is kind of a luxury compared to having a safe place to learn.
MM: What are some of your top sellers?
RL: Pink and purple kitties, all the live long day.
MM: Will you have any new and exciting offerings at the upcoming Maker Market?
RL: Yes! Super adorable bunnies and carrots for Easter baskets (down with jelly beans, up with masks!) Also making their Maker Market debut are beavers, lions, giraffes, cows.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Music? Film? Blogs? IG accounts? ect…
RL: The list is long. We watch a lot of Wild Kratts in this house, and I would be lying if I said they didn’t inspire some of my animal choices. I have a life-long love of National Geographic and am straight-up obsessed with the National Geographic IG feed. There are so many unbelievable artists on IG – a few I especially love are @helenahpornsiri, who makes the most insane illustrations out of pieces of fern and @blrothshank, an incredible miniaturist. The Milwaukee Public Museum. Anything narrated by David Attenborough. Richard Scarry books. Lots of kids books, actually. I think that masks make beautiful gifts when paired with a book about the same animal. It’s really fun for me to look at books and think about masks that could go along, and vice versa.
Find Rachel Lewis and Flying Ox Creations at the upcoming Maker Market this Saturday at Discovery World. Or to find these amazing adorable creations online head to https://www.etsy.com/shop/Flyingoxcreations
If you have not tasted the locally produced caramels from Cream City Caramels then you are truly missing out on a delicious morsel. If you can continue on and read this interview with business owner and caramel extraordinaire, Gregg Hutterer, and not feel the sweeping urge to eat a buttery and soft caramel then you may be not of this earth. These beautifully packaged delights are a perfect gift for someone you love or better yet yourself. With seasonal offerings, confection classics, and the more creative caramels such as salted potato chip there is something for the sweet and salty tooth in everyone. Owner and caramel creator, Hutterer took some time to answer some questions about his process, business, and everyone’s favorite gift, the sweet treat.
Maker Market: How and when did Cream City Caramels get started?
Gregg Hutterer: The idea for Cream City Caramels began about 5 years ago. I had a job where I had time to make cookies and candy during the holiday season. It was the end of the recession; and Milwaukeeans were getting into the local food movement. I started making more and more caramels each holiday season to see if people really liked them. They loved them! From there it was a matter of finding a commercial kitchen, getting licensed by the state, branding, packaging, and so on.
MM: What were your favorite sweet treats as a kid?
GH: My favorite treats were always the ones that contained fat! Things like chips, cheese, chocolate, caramels, donuts… things like that.
MM: How and when did your interest in candy and caramel making begin?
GH: I began making caramels back in the mid 80s, when my sister acquired a family caramel recipe. I love caramels; so I decided to give the recipe a try. They were delicious! Immediately relatives told me that I should sell them. I didn’t take that advice seriously until about 25 years later. Since then, the basic recipe has improved, and we’ve developed variations for other flavors.
MM: How did you decide to take this from hobby to business?
GH: At the time, my job was in sales. If I didn’t sell, I didn’t make a living. It was also the recession; so I figured I didn’t have much to lose by trying to make a living making and selling candy. I’d always been an entrepreneur; so aside from being a bit scary, this was right up my alley! It also helped to get encouragement from other people I knew who had started businesses of their own.
MM: What ingredients can you source locally? And why is that important to you?
GH: The main ingredients in caramels are sugar, milk and butter. Living in Wisconsin, you have to figure that we source all of our dairy products locally. It would be silly not to. Aside from having lived most of my life in Cream City, we also chose the name because of our location in the America’s Dairyland. Instead of using cane sugar, we choose to use beet sugar whenever we can, since it can be produced closer to home. Our spices come from Penzey’s. The ribbon on our packages comes from Cream City Ribbon right here in town. We want people to support us because our caramels are really delicious; but we’re a local company and we want people to support us for that reason too. In turn, we try to support our local economy and local small businesses as much as possible.
MM: What inspired you to do traditional German candies?
GH: Well, first off, we don’t make our German candies. Our German candies are produced in small batches by a family-owned German candy maker… a company much like ours in many respects.
Many of our customers remember these candies from their childhood. We wanted to import and sell these candies, in traditional flavors and shapes, for a couple reasons: One reason is that, being of German descent, one of the types of events that we wanted to get involved in, to sell our caramels, is the European Christmas Markets that we’re beginning to see happening in our area. There’s a big one, the Christkindl Market in Chicago, the Old World Christmas Market at the Osthoff Resort at Elkhart Lake, and now the Best Christkindlmarket Milwaukee, taking place at Best Place at the Pabst Brewery development in Milwaukee. Our feeling is that we’ll have lots of fun selling there; and we think they will be profitable for us! They’re much like the NEWaukee Night Markets in many respects… entertainment, culture, food, drink, and shopping! So, that’s one reason… they fit into my heritage.
In addition to our German candies being produced in small batches, by a family owned candy maker, they contain only natural, gluten free and dairy free ingredients derived from plants. No animal products are used, and no GMOs… and they’re really good!
MM: What are some of your top sellers? And do you have any new treats for shoppers at the upcoming Maker Market?
GH: Our top selling caramel flavor will probably always be our Salted Vanilla Caramel! They’re so sweet, buttery, and smooth; and that that extra salt makes them so yummy and delicious!
Our best selling assortment is our Chocolate & Vanilla Assortment. You just can’t go wrong with chocolate and vanilla!
We’re hoping to have our holiday flavors available at the Discovery World Maker Market. The best selling holiday flavor from last year is our Peppermint Bark Caramel. To make them, we take our salted vanilla caramel and flavor it lightly with peppermint, then we layer chunks of chocolate in the middle and top it with crushed peppermint sticks. Delicious! Other flavors that we’re working on are Dark Chocolate Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Eggnog, and Orange Cranberry.
We have a wonderful assortment of autumn flavors too, which will still likely be in stock. Those flavors are Pumpkin Spice with Pepitas, Caramels Apple, and Vanilla Pecan.
MM: Outside of the upcoming Maker Market where can people find Cream City Caramels?
GH: The best way to find our caramels is to go to our website CreamCityCaramels.com. They can place orders there; or they can click the “Find Us” tab to find out where we’ll be selling in the Milwaukee Area!
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Music? Movies? IG accounts? Blogs? Cook Books?
GH: Our inspiration for our caramel flavors come mostly from things we eat, or are seeing other people eat. During this time of year, you can’t help but be inspired by all the scents of the seasons, cooking magazines and shows, even advertising.
MM: What is your favorite holiday tradition?
GH: My favorite holiday tradition is being with friends and family… not necessarily big elaborate gatherings, but smaller, more informal ones, where we feast on our favorite foods and drinks, near a fireplace if possible. Gift giving is a favorite too; but as I’ve gotten older, what I give has changed. I spend less money now; and I buy more local things… art, crafts, foods.
Try a tasty treat of your own at the upcoming Maker Market at Discovery World on November 14th or to order online find Cream City Caramels at http://www.creamcitycaramels.com/
Locally sourced wood is the source of inspiration and medium for maker Melissa Scherrer Paré. Her line, Moraye, is built on laser cut, etched, and hand painted wood jewelry that is both modern and timeless. Influenced by the landscape of the American southwest, her chic line is both beautiful and well made. She took some time from working from the amazing communal resource, Makerspace, to get a little deeper on Moraye, her process and the upcoming Maker Market.
Maker Market: How and when did Moraye get started?
Melissa Scherrer Paré: Moraye officially started late 2014 when I changed my studio practice from making visual art to the creation of decorative/functional objects.
MM: What is the inspiration behind your name?
MSP: It’s a family name. My great aunt had a daughter and wanted to name her after my uncle Morris, so she invented the name Moraye. The real Moraye is my cousin who lives in a dreamy house in the Topanga Canyon in LA. The Topanga Canyon with its natural beauty, rustic architecture and culture, is a source of inspiration for me.
As far as I can tell, my cousin is the only one with that first name. If you do a Google search for Moraye, her Linkedin profile is the only thing that pops up. I wanted to find a name that was unique, personal and also conjured up inspiring thoughts.
MM: What mediums have you used in the past and what brought you to using wood?
MSP: I have a MFA and BFA in photography. I also paint and draw, one piece I made locally is the large map of Bay View that hangs in Honeypie Cafe. That piece was made while I was 5 months pregnant living in Brooklyn. At the time I didn't know I'd eventually move back to Milwaukee and end up living just a block from Honeypie.
After years of working in a traditional darkroom with lots of chemicals, I've been half-consciously looking for a material I felt ethical about working with. I've tried working with several materials on the laser cutter like cork and leather, but hardwood has stuck. At first, birch plywood was the only wood I used. A friend that works for the city mentioned he was using reclaimed urban hardwood to make garden boxes for Milwaukee parks. He passed on a few contacts and fairly quickly I started working with local maple, elm, black walnut and even pear trees.
MM: Where do you find the reclaimed wood for your pieces?
MSP: Most of the wood I use is sourced from trees cut down in heavily populated local urban areas(mostly Milwaukee). I purchase wood from members of an organization called Wisconsin Urban Wood. They're a nonprofit dedicated to "using urban trees removed only because of insect, disease or circumstance, not because of timber value". They help keep trees from ending up in a landfill. I also shop for wood at The Urban Wood lab on Bluemound Rd. in Milwaukee. It's an amazing store if you're into wood textures.
MM: How did you get started with the laser cutter?
MSP: I wanted to work with clay and was looking for a ceramic studio close to my house in Bay View. The Makerspace website said they had a studio with a kiln so I walked over and got a tour. During the tour they showed me the laser cutters. I researched what can be done with laser cutters, the next day I signed up and got trained on how to use them. Still haven't gotten around to using the ceramics studio.
MM: What inspires your designs?
MSP: Inspiration starts with the wood and the unique quality it brings to the surface and texture of the piece. Motivation for the designs are drawn from several sources, including a southwest influence, I spent three years living in the New Mexico desert. The aesthetics of the Southwest gave me an appreciation for simple lines, geometric shapes, and bold complimentary color pallets.
MM: Can you describe your process from inspiration to completion?
MSP: Once I've got an idea in my head I draft the design using a graphics program, then turn it into a vector language that the laser cutter can understand. After the first cut there's often a lot of trial and error: the specific piece of wood isn't cutting like it should, the etch of the design isn't right, the laser burnt the piece of wood up. Every piece is unique because of this, I can't just press start and have it cut 50 pieces the same, it never works out that way. I usually cut about 6 pieces at a time and then see what's working and what isn't, and then go from there until I have something I like. When I'm happy with what I have I take them to my studio to be sanded and finished.
MM: What can shoppers expect to see from you at the upcoming Maker Market? Any new items to debut?
MSP: I have several new jewelry designs with brass inlay. Also new are wood wallets!
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Music? Movies? IG accounts? Blogs? Artists?
MSP: Lots of local artists like Sarah Thierman's ceramics, Stephanie Lapre's weaving (her IG account is also meticulously curated) Anne Bisone's ethical approach towards product creation, and Mike Paré's IG account of daily ink drawings. Agnes Martin's book Writings is what keeps me going as an artist.
MM: What is your favorite holiday tradition?
MSP: Decorating cookies. I like to create lots of different icing colors so there's a large pallet to chose from. Friends come over, we drink wine and use the sugar cookie as a blank canvas creating all sorts of art pieces, often Jackson Pollack inspired. Afterwards there's a formal critique followed by sugar indulgence.
Meet the maker of Moraye at the upcoming holiday Maker Market at Discovery World on November 14th. And find her line here https://www.etsy.com/shop/Moraye For more information on Makerspace visit http://milwaukeemakerspace.org/
Big things are happening for Jess Goehner and her handmade accessory line, Directive. Directive has been an active participant in the three years of Maker Market’s history and Jess has been building her brand along the way. And now she has taken her small business full time! Directive’s bags are staple pieces that are sophisticated but still playful. On October 1st she will unveil her Fall/Winter line of hand painted canvas and locally sourced leather accessories. This ‘moody’ collection debuts alongside a beautiful new website. Maker Market asked this busy business woman to take some time to explain what it took to take her business from hobby to career and what inspires her everyday.
Maker Market: When was Directive born and what fueled you to start a small business?
Jess Goehner: I’ve always been a maker and learned to sew as a child but I never really found a good fit, business wise, until I tried to make a bike bag for myself in 2012. Before I dove into bag making I experimented with feather and flower hair pins and fascinators in college and selling vintage and handmade jewelry on Etsy for a short while. I’ve been following the ‘yes’ moments and seeing where Directive takes me since Hover Craft 2012. So far so good. The road ahead is still foggy, but there are a lot of directions this can go (adding home goods, clothes, shoes, etc) so I am happy to follow it.
MM: Could you describe your creative process from concept to creation?
JG: Before this current collection my process was a bit willy-nilly and I was using a lot of brain power trying to handle all the options I had. Working with a collection focused model, I will be able to devote solid time to creating a unique and high quality product as well as a cohesive brand for Directive long term. I created the Fall Winter 2015 line with sketches and quick watercolor paintings followed by a color story and inspiration images and a few rounds of pattern making and tweaking. Once the pattern is up to par, I work assembly line style- cutting, painting, serging, sewing, and finishing.
MM: Your focus is in making classic pieces that last. Where do you source your materials and what makes them so durable?
JG: The quality and sense of social and environmental responsibility I have has come a long way since the first bags I made and this is constantly a work in progress. Through the lovely ladies at Tactile Craftworks I was able to establish a solid leather connection with RiverWest based Seidel Tannery. This is top quality leather, made in our city by locals, and made to last. Most of the canvas I use is raw purchased wholesale- from now on I will be dyeing it myself and still using environmentally friendly inks. The majority of my work is lined which provides an extra layer of stability in addition to the serged edges. Long term, my hope is to find someone locally who can cast brass hardware for my bags and to collaborate with some artists to create handwoven fabric or unique prints. Keeping prices low is important but it’s also important to support your local economy.
MM: In the past you have collaborated with Hounds Tooth Wood Werk. Are you still collaborating? And what recent projects have you been working on?
JG: Eric, of Hounds Tooth Wood Werk, and I have collaborated on a number of chairs and stools in the past year. We’d love to experiment with more furniture and upholstery collaborations beyond working on our own commissions and collections. Much of that has been on the back burner but we’ve tossed a few new ideas around for 2016 and I’d love to bring back our sling chairs and stools for next spring. He’s the best at helping me grow my business- that’s a good collaboration for me.
MM: You also do custom orders. What kind of projects have you been commissioned to do?
JG: I have offered custom orders since the beginning. Most of the projects have helped me learn new skills, get a little extra cash, and some have influenced future bag designs. More recently I’ve moved into working with local business owners on custom products specific to their customers –I’ve designed and produced two exclusive bags for locally run online shop Woodbury Lane and am currently working on a custom project bag for Bayview’s newest yarn and fiber shop Wild Haven Fiber Company.
MM: When and why did you decide to take the plunge into Directive being your career?
JG: Making this my full time gig has been a long time coming but in the end it happened right when it needed to. I had been juggling a 40+ hour a week job, Directive, and a part time job working for a high end home textiles artisan for about nine months before I took the leap. I quit my job in special event fundraising in June, picked up some more hours as a studio assistant for Dermond Peterson, and dove into making my first collection. I had to take the leap now, or regret never attempting it. I’ve learned a lot about myself in doing this but have a long way to go.
MM: Your new website and F/W collection is to debut on October 1st. What can we expect to see from your upcoming new line?
JG: Fall/Winter 2015 is moody and much more refined than my one of a kind work- Featuring Seidel Tannery leather in black and brown, black canvas, wine and mint hand dyed canvas, and more refined hand painting and stamping. I will also have cross body bags in two sizes and hope to bring back the large saddle bags in beautiful leather. Everything will hit my online store, www.directivemade.com October 1st but I’m bringing a sneak peek and offering an in-person discount at Newaukee Night Market on September 16th.
MM: Are there any brick and mortar stores that can shoppers find and purchase your line?
JG: Locally I have stock at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, Belle Fiori Flower Shop, Hometown Established, and Orange Gallery. The F/W15 collection will be headed into Hometown Established and Orange Gallery before the end of the month as well. Exclusive products are offered online and at pop-ups for Woodbury Lane and will be at Wild Haven Fiber Company when they open at the end of this month.
MM: How has Maker Market and other markets like it impacted your small business?
JG: Maker Market has exposed my business to a huge audience- it grows bigger and bigger every season and the quality of local creators grows with it. This is a great incentive to keep moving forward as a small business, to try new things, to push myself and see what I can do. I have met so many talented makers over the three years of Maker Markets- I try to make sure I visit each one to say hello to fellow creators and see all of the talent our city has.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Blogs? Artists? IG accounts? Music? Film?
JG: Instagram is always my go to for beautiful visuals. I try to follow a variety of people- painters, fashion designers, floral artists, food bloggers, and unique shops all with their own style of sharing. Looking and learning from other makers inspires me to find my own style- I’m not bright white and cheery but more shadowy and enigmatic.
While I work I switch between listening to story or small biz podcasts, careening through old series television shows (this fall I’m tackling The X-Files), and a lot of psychedelic, garage rock, soul, and dream pop music (Black Angels, Allah-La’s, Beach House, Lush, etc)
Books are probably my favorite form of escape and inspiration. Lately I’ve been loving memoirs by musicians and Artists (Patti Smith, Sally Mann, Neil Young). My go-to for visual inspiration, fiction, and a bit of crazy is always Tom Robbins.
Get an exclusive sneak peak of Directive’s new line at the Newaukee Night Market Sept 16th and don’t forget to check out her brand new site debuting October 1st here.