"Proud member of Etsy Artists Of Color"...that's what I have posted in the announcement section of my Etsy shop. It's not just an acknowledgement that I'm part of a street team. It is a true representation of how I feel about the diversity of this team and the talents of it's members; artists of color. EAOC is made up of artisans from the world over. Although the majority live right here in the United States other countries represented are England, Tanzania, France, China, Sweden, Canada, Holland, Malaysia, Jamaica and Botswana. 186 members (as of today) strong and I am proud to be able to bring my experiences growing up in my little space in Michigan to the group and learn from each of them, as well, about the areas where they live and what has influenced their works.
For as long as I can remember I have been involved in some sort of crafting. When I was in grade school I made a clay dish. It was the ugliest thing I had ever made but I was so proud of it. Not only was it lopsided I had painted it with just about every color that was in font of me. Another time I drew a picture of an African mask that was freaking fantastic, if I do say so myself. I wish I still had it with me. Paper maché? Who didn't make paper maché something in school? Photography, painting, melting crayons between sheets of paper to make some type of abstract 'art', glue, glitter, beads, buttons and glass. Sewing, stenciling, candle making, crocheting, knitting, woodworking, designing, arranging and planning to do more. Fortunately for my customers my work is more focused and precise. ;-)
My maternal grandmother used to sew doll dresses to donate each Christmas to an organization that collected dolls for needy children. She'd spend all year sewing these small dresses and packing them away until it was time to send them off to dress the dolls. That is where I learned the basics of sewing. My paternal grandmother could also sew. Let's just say I had the best dressed Barbie of anyone I knew. She also attempted to teach me to crochet. I say attempted because that little granny square drove me nuts so I gave up on it...until recently. After many years I still remembered what she taught me and it was a lot easier for me this time around. My mom made floral arrangements, just because. She'd make them and give them away. It was her way of relaxing, getting lost in the crafting process. I can really relate to this because when I'm busy mixing, blending or formulating I get lost in the process too.
One of the things I like and can appreciate about having grown up in Michigan is the change of seasons. The snow of winter, rain of spring, heat of summer and color changes of fall. It has helped me to adjust to the times, adapt to my surroundings and to be able to work with what's available to me. The change of seasons helps to keep me from becoming complacent. Much like EAOC Michigan is a place of diversity not only in its weather and vegetation. Many cultures call the Great Lake State home.
These are just a few of the things that have influenced my work. Why did I start making body care products? Short version: after having used a good number of products that didn't react well with my skin I set out to find a way to make what I needed myself. After all, having tried my hand at so many forms of crafts I knew I could do this too. Thus began my journey into handmade body products. This eventually led me to soap making, then on to natural perfumery. I love what I do and even if I wasn't selling I'd still happily craft away making body care products for myself and family.
EAOC Members participating in this blogging event: