Friday, October 21, 2011

Hand Me Down Designs - Artisan Feature-

I am very happy to be featuring one of my fellow Etsy Maine Teamers. I love her shop and her designs so I was all bubbly when she agreed to do an blog interview so I could feature her. I am sure you will find some thing you just love from her shop.

You can contact her here-

Malaika Picard
Hand-Me-Down Designs
Twitter - @HMDDesignsME

How did you name your business?

I work with a lot of hand-me-down clothing, mostly donated by friends and family, so when it came time to find a name for myself, Hand-Me-Down Designs was an obvious, and very appropriate name.

How long have you been doing your art/craft for?

I've been sewing for years and years, but it has been about a year now that I've been seriously pursuing my bag-making business.  In fact, I'm quickly coming up on the anniversary of my very first craft fair.

What inspires and influences your work?

At first, most of my inspiration came from my own personal love of bags and purses and being very particular about what features they included.  As time went on, I found myself seeing special features in other people's work and sought to incorporate some of those ideas into my own.  Many times I get inspiration from the material itself.  For example, I was given a lovely deep red corduroy skirt recently, and from the moment I got it, I knew what I wanted to make from it.  The skirt was cut so that the corduroy lay in diagonal lines, and I needed a design that showed off that feature.  Here's what I came up with:

Where can you artwork/pieces be found?

Of course, I've got my shop on Etsy, but you can also find me live and in person at a number of Maine craft fairs throughout the year.  I keep an updated craft fair schedule on the Sites and Schedules page of my blog

What do you do when you're not creating?

I'm a WAH (work-at-home) mom, so, for the most part, when I'm not creating, I'm homemaking.  Being a wife and mom is really important to me, and being able to do my craft while still being in the home is such a blessing.

I also love to read, watch science fiction shows and movies, go for walks, and craft with friends.  Some of my favorite crafts are counted cross stitch, knitting, and crochet, but I love trying all sorts of new things.  I've recently tried my hand at screen printing...mostly to use on my NomMon products, but who knows...

What is your favorite piece(s) that you have created?

I've actually got two current favorite pieces, my Nesting Doll Notebook Cover

I'm really enjoying playing with appliqu├ęs.  They can add such fun character to a piece.

Why did you create this piece(s)?

I actually started making mustache wallets after discovering all the amazing facial hair items on Etsy.  Inspired by the creativity I saw,  I made a treasury entitled  The Bold and The Bearded.  Being a proudEtsy Maine Team member, I tried to find items made by some of my teammates to put in this treasury, but found a sad lack of mustache mania in Maine.  I decided to take action, created my own Maine-made mustache marvel, and then shared a challenge with my teammates to do the same.  We had such fun!  You can check out the treasury of what we all came up with here.

What do you feel is special about your art/craft?

The thing that really sets my craft apart is, firstly, that many of my items are made from second-hand clothing.  People tell me they really like the idea that I'm recycling while I'm creating.  The other thing is that, while you can tell many of my bags are made from jeans, they don't look like a pair of lopped off pants; they are actually carefully de-constructed and re-made with intentional placement of pockets, features, and embellishments.  I take a lot of care in making sure my homemade goods are professionally crafted.  And, because my bags are made from clothing, they are one-of-a-kind.  I may make more of the same style, but no bag is exactly like another for the simple fact that there isn't any more of the material to make a duplicate piece.  Of course, some of my smaller items may have duplicates, but they are all limited edition for the same reason.

Are there other forms of art and crafts you would like to learn? And why?

I'd really like to learn more about product photography and screen printing.  Both skills will benefit my business, but there really is an art to doing them well.  I get a lot of pleasure from capturing a great shot of one of my creations.  And screen printing just opens up a world of possibilities for me.  Besides, learning a new craft is like starting a new adventure, and who doesn't like adventure?

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