Without further ado, here we go!
Our first interview is with Malea from M and J Designs.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
We are Malea and JP. Our shop is called “M and J Designs,” but I hadn’t thought of that when I signed up for Etsy so we come up as “maleaab” which is my first name, middle and last initials. We are in Carmichael, CA. We are…ecclectic?
When you aren’t crafting, what else are you up to?
Malea: reading, reading, reading. I also like bicycling and running but am recovering from a leg injury. I also am a movie addict (thank goodness for Netflix’s Watch Instantly!). I also tutor a variety of topics and write. I write stories, poems, and letters. I have several pen-pals throughout the world.
JP: playing computer games, learning about computer programming, reading about science, playing with his cat. The cat isn’t always nice though…we’ve nicknamed the creature “El Gato Diablo.”
What first inspired you to become a crafter/artisan?
I’ve been doing artsy stuff since my mom enrolled me in drawing classes in third grade. I hated those classes but eventually learned to really love to draw and that evolved into other crafty pursuits. In high school I made a nightstand out of cardboard…my sister called me a freak for doing such a thing. I wish I still had that little table. It could hold books underneath and had a little drawer. Maybe I’ll make another… JP has been crafting since he was a toddler and I put markers and clay in his little hands. He’s 11 now…
Describe your creative process. What do you do to get inspired? How
do you make your pieces, when do you work on them, what materials do
Most of the time, ideas come to me in the shower or as I’m falling asleep. I also write poetry and have had to start keeping a journal and pen in the bathroom and next to the bed. My inspiration tends to just come to me out of the ether, or it is from talking with JP. The plush monsters in our Esty shop are the direct result of one of his sketches, as is our avatar and banner. As for process, um, we use tons of different materials, techniques, etc. Our shop is quite eclectic in materials and style. Most of the crafting is done late at night. JP is homeschooled, and we keep odd hours.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My most cherished handmade possession is a clay pinch pot JP made in 3rd grade, before we began homeschooling. It holds his baby teeth. He wouldn’t let the tooth fairy take the teeth so I collect them in the little pot. It even has a lid.
Name your top 3 books, movies, musical groups and websites.
Year of Pleasures – Elizabeth Berg
Rosie – Anne Lammott
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
The Edge of Heaven
??? Too many to pick only one more…
WEBSITES (other than Etsy!)
Our homeschool group’s Meetup page
Earthlink – for email…I check it obsessively
What piece of Etsy advice can you give your fellow team members that has been most helpful to you so far?
How do you promote your Etsy shop/products?
Right now I mostly use a Facebook Fan page. I have a blog but I’m terrible about blogging. I also keep a photo album on my personal Facebook page that is just for my Etsy and other creative projects so non-FB Fans see my stuff too.
What is your ultimate goal with your Etsy shop(s)/crafting/artwork?
Between crafting, writing, and tutoring, I hope to pay for graduate school without student loans and pay for JP to take flying lessons. Long term, after grad school, I hope to avoid a “real” job. My idea of a dream job is one that allows me to sit at home in my jammies while I work.
Where can we see you online?
Thank you Malea for sharing a bit about your creative life with us!
We are looking for more SactoMetro Etsians to feature here, so please see this post on the Google group to get more info about submitting your shop!