30 Mar 2008

Artisan of the Week, M.J. of Koolbagsplus

So this week has been a bit slow at Autonomous Artisans, but I couldn't forget to post this weeks featured artisan as M.J. makes such gorgeous, bright and useful recycled goods it would be terrible for me to forget to feature her. I'll let her explain all about her passion for her craft.

1. Could you please introduce us to who you are and what you do?
Please allow me to introduce myself....I’m M.J. at koolbagsplus, and I sew up all sorts of creative things one-at-a-time using recycled drink pouches. Currently, I have constructed totes of all sizes, belts, pencil pouches, billfolds, coin pouches, and anything else I feel can be a useful item. Having viewed a landfill from my daily commute, I am hoping that this effort in addition to my dedication to weekly recycling items in my home, can help make the planet a little greener one step at a time. I truly enjoy putting all of my ideas together, and watching it transform into something worthwhile.

2. What led you to take up your craft?
As I have been sewing many things for quite a few years, it has become a passion of mine. You either love it or hate it, and I find it to be very relaxing, and a great stress reliever. I think of it as some sort or therapy, however many who wouldn't go near a sewing machine may disagree with me. I started making these items and had so much success locally, that I decided to branch out and allow shoppers to see all of my products so they can take the time to view all of it. This gives
an opportunity for someone to request a specific color in a particular item I have, or a larger tote, etc. Its great to have choices, with a large scope of possibilities. Its a nice feeling to know that my items are being sent to a variety of areas for others to enjoy.

3. Which part of your work do you most enjoy?
Making things that serve a purpose out of something that was headed to the trash. Being appreciated for my talent, and positive comments from satisfied buyers. I remember delivering an fairly large order of purses to a Mom who happened to have her two small daughters with her, and to see the look on their faces when I arrived was absolutely priceless. This kind of thing makes it all worthwhile.

4. Which part do you find hardest?
The task of preparing, hand washing, and drying all of those pouches before the process begins. It does take quite some time. Not always knowing what color or size or a particular item to have put together at any given time if someone needs it right away. I make multi, they choose red, or blue, etc. I’m quite a perfectionist, so if something doesn’t look right or sew up like it should, I start that particular section over with new pouches.

5. Where do you hope to be in 1 year’s time?
Able to expand my creative side into more variety-hence the name “plus” added to end of my shop. I had some other ideas in the works when I named my shop. It’s a goal for the future, but for now I’m content with what I’m doing.

6. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Never forget where you came from, and those who helped you get where you are today. That one has pretty much been with me since I was a teenager.

7. Name other artisans sites/shops would you recommend are worth a visit?
I’ve only been with Etsy a short time, and haven’t had much opportunity to view all of those great items out there, but these two sites really caught my attention:
Smashgirl a mosaics artist who recycles broken pots, plates, tiles and magazines into beautiful items.
ndeurshoes an artist that hand paints shoes with stunning results.

8. What is your favourite sandwich filling?
Cajun roast beef, horseradish, alfalfa sprouts, and provolone cheese. I find it to be very yummy.

Thank you M.J. for taking part in our blog. I'm looking forward to seeing your new projects. I'm sure your shop at etsy will do well. How could it not when it is full to the brim with such fabulous recycled goods. Go take a look for yourself readers. You are sure to find something that catches your eye.

1 comment:

  1. I've been wanting to try these, too. Now I know where to look when I'm ready. Linking back to you!


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