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 Melanie from My Creepy Critters on Etsy!
Tell me about yourself and your shop.
I’m a tattooed girl that loves yarn, hockey, beer, and cats. When I’m not making things (and sometimes while I am) I’m either at Colorado Avalanche games or watching them on TV. I love living in Colorado. We have the most micro breweries per capita next to Germany. I enjoy drinking double IPA’s, wheat beers, pilsners and stouts. I also spend quite a bit of time hanging out with my kitties. I have two, 11 year old Meow Mix and 8 month old Scout. I make them toys to play with all the time.
I try to combine punk and hipster styles with everyday items. I really like bright colors and great patterns. I’m currently working on some new sweaters for the fall that combine everything I’m striving for.
How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I learned to crochet from my aunt when I was about 7-8 years old. I still have the first blanket I ever made. It’s horribly uneven and pale yellow. I learned how to sew around the same time from my ma and I taught myself how to knit using YouTube about 5 years ago. I think it’s safe to say I have a lot of experience.
It all started when I worked in a call center and read through all my books. I found a half crocheted blanket that I started for my Ma a couple years earlier. I finished that and decided to learn more about crochet. I started making stuffed animals.
My first critter was an Angry Bunny that showed my disdain for call center life. A coworker asked me what I was making and I said, “Oh, it’s just my creepy critter.” I told my mister about it and he said that was a great name.
What influences your work from your life or city?
I have an intrinsic drive to be different. I see cutesy stuff everywhere but it never really seems to represent who I am. I create things that I like that have pieces of me in them. I’d like to think that I’m not the only one looking for something completely different.
What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
I usually make kitty toys. There’s nothing better for a dull day when I’m feeling uninspired than making a tiny stuffed lobster and seeing Scout carry it around and nap with it.
What is your best achievement?
I’d have to say my best achievement would be participating in the Drop Dead-Goregeous fashion show two years in a row. It’s a great charity fashion show that benefits the Turning Point youth center. www.turningpnt.org/
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade to me is something that’s I’ve created. It’s a lot of planning and ideas long before it gets to my hands though.
Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
I do offer custom items. I make quite a few of them. It’s something that I really enjoy. I’ve come to the realization that my talent is not just in coming up with great ideas, but in the ability to create tangible items from other people’s great ideas.
What plans do you have for the future of you business?
I’d like to grow and expand my business to not only be about stuffed animals but about clothes and pet toys as well.
Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
Patience is key. It takes a lot of hard work to create things and to put them out there. Advertising is hard and tiring work. It’s all worth it when people buy your items though. It’s important to stay positive and patient.
Many thanks to Melanie and be sure to check out the rest of her shop for more unique finds!
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