Two of the best things that people have told me:
“Creativity doesn’t come from freedom. It comes from necessity.”
“There are no mistakes in art.”
The first quote is fairly recent, while I was having a conversation about our business and about inspiration. It rang so true with me, and I share it with other creative people every chance I get.
The second quote is from my elementary school art teacher (who I got to thank a few weeks ago.) Between that philosophy and the fearlessness Mom instilled in me by encouraging me to try new things, I don’t know how you can go wrong! Never be afraid to try, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you think you’ve messed it up. It may end up being the best thing you’ve ever created.
Karyn Pickard & Chelsea Keesler
1. It's actually "we!' We're mother and daughter, and we're very close. Our working relationship comes so naturally.
2. Karyn has hung out and played pool with Stevie Ray Vaughan and members of Pantera.
3. Chelsea likes cheese so much that her nickname is "Miss Cheese." (Now "Mrs.")
4. We are related to a president and a gangster - Grover Cleveland and Pretty Boy Floyd. In case you don't know who they are, Cleveland was the only president to serve 2 non-consecutive terms, and Floyd's run ended around the time of John Dillinger.
What got you started crafting?
June Cleveland, my grandmother, taught Karyn, my mom, how to sew. She began designing costumes at the age of 14, and honed her crafting skills in high school art projects (which she usually threw away or gave to her friends!) Later, my mom and grandmother went into business together, had booths at craft malls, and eventually had a store of their own. Mom began teaching arts and crafts classes to my friends, and selling to their mothers from the trunk of her car.
I started helping with the family business at a pretty young age. I picked up a little crochet, embroidery and hand-sewing from my grandmother, drawing from my dad, and a little bit of everything else from my mom. I taught myself to make jewelry and work with wire around 12 years old, and sold my first craft right out of high school.
Then, after my grandmother passed away, Mom and I began collaborating together. She was a huge inspiration to both of us, and she follows us wherever we go. Not only do we use the techniques she taught us, but we continue to use her supplies for our business. (Between her and my Great Aunt Dude - no kidding - we have a treasure trove of vintage materials.)
What is your source of inspiration?
Our source of inspiration comes from a love of all things old. Mom worked in the antique business for years, and I spent my middle school and high school years browsing the aisles of antique shops. The owners finally starting giving me keys to the cases and letting me help customers, which I thought was the best thing ever.
If it's vintage or older, it doesn't matter what it is - art nouveau jewelry to 60's corningware - it's an inspiration. We might find it in color, shape, or just the style of a decade. If it's old and handmade - even better!
What have you made recently?
I don't know if this would be considered recent, necessarily, but last Halloween Mom made a top hat as a quick "costume." Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, so inspiration always strikes around that time of year. She used recycled cardboard (she sometimes uses ribbon spools, canisters, etc.) to construct the base of the hat, which she covered with vintage purple and black fabric. She attached the base to a headband that she had already covered with black velvet, and added a store-bought sparkling spiderweb with rubber mice and spiders. It was so creepy-cute! Everyone loved it, because it was unlike anything they had seen before. We both like to add little elements of surprise to our work, and get very detailed when it comes to the theme and feeling of a project.
Where do you sell your crafts presently?
We sell our crafts at local arts and crafts fairs, and we sell both handmade and vintage items from our Etsy store.
Why are handmade crafts important to you?
Everything has a story. Like vintage, there's a history behind each piece. Unlike manufactured goods, there's a uniqueness to and specific intention behind handmade goods. Plus, we love to support small business, and products that are potentially good for the earth.