Tell us about yourself.
My business name pretty much sums me up – A Creative Medley – what that really means is “I can never quite decide what I want to make on any given day and that covers a lot of options” On a day to day basis, you’ll find me with my kids – technically homeschooling, but not necessarily at home. In between math lessons and driving to the next activity, my mind is tossing around how to make my next new kind of design possible. I create the designs that people load onto their computerized embroidery machine to stitch a project.
What are you presenting at Maker Faire Milwaukee?
“In the hoop” embroidery is kind of an odd term, because really, all computerized embroidery is done using a hoop that attaches to the arm of the embroidery bed. “In the hoop” is a subset of embroidery. These are 3-D projects that are made entirely on the embroidery machine, rather than using embroidery to embellish something that is already made. Instead of just putting a name on a stocking or a baby bib, I make the entire stocking or bib on the embroidery machine. Most projects require hand sewing a small hole closed at the very end, but otherwise do not involve a regular sewing machine or hand sewing. The entire process is completed “in the hoop”
What is something you’ve made that you are most proud of, and why?
The embroidery digitizing industry is full of very creative and clever people, so it is hard to create something that is truly original. I created a line of stuffed animals that have an egg shaped body and can be completely folded into an egg and then opened to show the full animal. I literally had the idea rolling around for years, but couldn’t figure out how to do it entirely on the embroidery machine. The day I figured out how I could make it all work was incredibly exciting.
Why do you consider yourself a Maker?
I love the term Maker because it is so self-defined. I never thought I could be an artist because I couldn’t draw or paint. I loved crafts as a kid – making friendship bracelets or potholders – but at the time I didn’t realize that it was part of who I am. As an adult I discovered quilting, so I was a quilter, then I started sewing, so I was a seamstress, as I added more hobbies (too many to count!) the labels piled up, but what it all boils down to is “I am a Maker” I make stuff, I have to, it is who I am.
Tell us about one of your failed projects.
Some of the failures end up being the most entertaining. Converting a line drawing into a 3D object sometimes makes “unique” looking projects. I have quite a collection of mutant stuffed animals that had to go back for some design tweaking.
What tips or advice would you give to someone who wants to become a Maker?
My guess is, if you want to be a Maker, you probably already are one. My now 13 year old daughter came away from last year’s Maker Faire in Milwaukee and told me “I want to be a Maker.” She already liked making clay creations and drawing and had dabbled in knitting a bit. To me, the only thing she had to do to be a Maker was to decide that she is. My advice would be to look around your environment – what excites you, makes you want to learn more? You probably have the tools for some kind of creating on hand already if you look carefully. The Maker Faire is an incredible resource to connect with people who make things you haven’t tried yet. Odds are, if they are presenting, they are happy to share and help others learn more about getting started.