Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.
Today’s feature is all about Huggie from Huggie’s Hodgepodge on Etsy!
Tell me about yourself and your shop.
My name is Heather, but I normally go by Huggie. When people hear my nickname (“Huggie”) or my shop name (Huggie’s Hodgepodge), they normally immediately associate it with the diapers. lol! Actually, the name came about when I was about 19. I learned that so much in the world can be solved with just a hug. I’ve helped a lot of people just by listening, empathizing, and offering a sincere embrace. When is the last time you hugged a stranger? It’s an experience that can be truly inspirational! Watch this video and tell me you don’t agree. 😉
How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I named my shop Huggie’s Hodgepodge for a couple of different reasons. One, because a LOT of people know me as Huggie, so when they look for me at craft shows, I’m easy to spot with my big banner. Also, I love so many different forms of art, it’s hard for me to focus on one craft. I started out on etsy selling hemp jewelry, and then moved to crocheted accessories. I also like to paint, sew, draw, knit, work with paper mache, and so much more!
In my shop now, I primarily sell book page roses. These are roses made from pages from vintage novels, sheet music, graphic novels, dictionary pages, and more. There are a lot of paper flowers on etsy and pinterest, but I truly believe that mine are one of a kind. Each rose is completely different, hand rolled, and sealed to ensure it’s longevity. Though they look frail, they are actually very thick and sturdy due to using two sheets of paper per rose, and sealing them thoroughly. Once each rose is completely, it is secured to a variety of settings. I can attach them to bobby pins, brooches, alligator clips, magnets, headbands, and more.
Creating these roses was completely accidental. I had found a book that one of my children had destroyed (colored in, ripped pages out.. arraaagh!), and I wanted to make something pretty with it so it wouldn’t go to waste. I found a tutorial for making simple paper flowers, then I spent months working and reworking til I found my own very specific method. They sold so well at my day job (I work in a book store) that I decided to list them in my shop.
What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
It seems that I am finding inspiration for new items everywhere I look. As I mentioned before, I work in a book store, which means that I am constantly surrounded by book nerds like myself. It started out with just book pages, but then was inspired by a local musician to try sheet music. Then, as I was flipping through a graphic novel, I was in awe of the bright, vibrant colors being used and thought “That would make a Beautiful flower!” I am also a college student, and have found that so many people are interested in displaying their appreciation for the literary arts, but with little means of doing so tastefully. I feel good that I am helping these people show off what inspires THEM as well as helping the environment by re-purposing used books that are otherwise useless after having pages ripped out or otherwise being destroyed.
What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
When I have trouble finding inspiration, I just quit trying. I usually pick up a quick, easy, thoughtless project. This helps clear my mind, and then suddenly ideas are rushing through me about how to turn whatever I am making into something completely unique. For instance, I started knitting a cowl the other night, because it is something I can do without even thinking about it. Then I noticed that the color beautifull complimented a rose I had made just the other day from a Fantastic Four graphic novel. Now, I am beginning my new fall line of crocheted and knitted accessories, that include detachable book page roses. The roses can be worn either on the textile piece or in your hair! I am so excited, I can’t wait to get them listed.
What is your best achievement?
My best achievement(s), though not related to my shop, are my children. I have three beautiful little boys, ages 1, 3, and 5 years. They see what I do, they see me create. I feel like this has opened so many doors for them, and even at this very young age, they know that they can grow up to be and do anything that they want, and that I’ll support them 100%. They know that the main goal in life isn’t about money, but doing what truly makes you happy, and sharing your gifts, whatever they may be, with the world. They are some amazing little men, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out. 🙂
What does handmade mean to you?
To me, handmade is so much more than just assembling a few items to make a finished product. It’s pouring your heart and soul into something, bringing life into a work of art, no matter how large or small. When it is then purchased or given away, an actual piece of the artist is going to live with someone else, hopefully inspiring more works of art. To me, creating handmade pieces is just another ring in the circle of life.
Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
I do accept custom orders, and I actually look quite forward to them. Sometimes that inquiry or request is exactly the inspiration as well as a challenge. Not only that, but it makes the piece more meaningful to the buyer, as it is created uniquely for them. 75% of my business revolves around custom orders. Many people have a special attachment to a specific novel or graphic novel, and would like to display that.
What plans do you have for the future of you business?
My long term goal is to open a brick and mortar shop (also called Huggie’s Hodgepodge) which will be a venue for other artists to sell their creations in their own booths. So many people have something beautiful to share with the world, but no venue. Each booth will be unique, just like several tiny boutiques under one roof. For those who enjoy crafting, but lack the skills, classes will also be available as well as other resources.
Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
For those who are interested in selling their handmade products, I just have to say QUIT thinking about it, and just do it! Don’t doubt yourself. For every piece of artistry out there, there is a buyer. Also, don’t create what you think people will buy. Create what you WANT to create, what is part of you. This is what makes your product unique, and what makes people appreciate your work. It took me a long time to figure that out. 🙂
Many thanks to Huggie and be sure to check out the rest of her shop!
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