Artfire Artisan Spotlight: Margi Vanover, Sewingcreations
Posted by pauljvguillaume on 07/01/2011 at 08:09:01
Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
Hi, I’m Margi Vanover. I live in the country, near Idaho Falls, ID with 2 house cats and several outdoor ones. I’ve been a Hair Stylist most of my life. For the past 10 years, I’ve work in a private hair salon, 4 days week. I’m a member of a Lions Club. I write their monthly Newsletter and submit articles about Lions projects to the local Newspaper.
I started sewing shortly after I was married. With the exception of stuffed animals & dolls, made of fake fur, and Log cabin quilts, most of my sewing was clothing for the kids, husband and self.
The enjoyment of creating new things and working with different colors and fabric keeps me finding new projects. I think the desire to work with fabric was sparked when I took a fabric selection class in college. (Before deciding to go to Cosmetology School).
The Studio is a result of "crafts gone wild". My boss and coworkers, who are also good friends, encouraged me to bring my wares to the salon to sell. Most of the items were a hit, but with a small number of clients, sales hit a saturation point. Potato Bags found a home at one of the local stores. I also rent a booth at another place, but sales have been slow so I needed to find other outlets.
If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it?
Practical. Items I produce for the most part must be useful and practical. Pretty is also good.
What role does your family play in your art?
For many years, one of my Sister-In-Laws always sent us fun gifts, such as Kitchen Angels or Scrubbies. The unspoken rule was handmade, unique and "just for fun." I still make Angels and Scrubbies to sell. Of course, trying to return in kind kept me busy.
Where do you live and what is it like?
I live on a farm about 8 miles from Idaho Falls, ID. Weather wise we get all kinds, except for major tornados. However, after seeing other parts of the Country, there are "no complaints".
Handmade and homemade is very much alive in this area. Many families can their own food.
Several groups sew, quilt, crochet, or knit for humanitarian causes. Sewing skills are taught through some of the Churches.
Being surrounded by so much creativity inspires me to try new products. However, on the down side, many potential buyers either have made Casserole Carriers and Curling Iron Caddies or were given one as a gift.
Where did you learn your medium?
Sewing was partly self taught and lessons after the fact to actually learn how it should be done! I made lots of western work shirts for my husband and lots of clothes for the kids (until they became teenagers).
After my husband passed away, I took a sewing class (for my sanity), there I learned how to use cutting boards and rotary cutters and how to use a Serger. It was great, because everyone worked on their "own thing". Such things as hooded towels, rice packs, Quil-O’s and Curling Iron Caddies were all part of class.
What are your goals with your ArtFire studio?
The goals for my studio are to sell goods so I can keep getting more material, and selling more things. Not to mention that I really need to clean out my stash of fabric.
Although I sell things locally, I have found that everyone’s "Aunt Tilly" also makes the same things so the market is flooded. It was time to find a larger market.
How did you come to selling online?
Because of my work schedule, I don’t have the time or inclination to got to craft shows. I had been toying with the idea of selling online for some time.
How did you come to find a home on ArtFire?
Some time ago, I’d found Etsy listed in a magazine. I’d gone to their website and was seriously thinking about putting things on their site. As luck would have it, my computer croaked around Thanksgiving.
While thumbing through a magazine, I found an article for ways to work at home, both Artfire and Etsy were listed. After carefully reading over each, I liked Artfire’s plan better.
Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society?Buying and selling handmade product allows people to share something creative. People that keep busy creating things are usually happier. Buying quality items is becoming more important to people. At least with sewn items, it is hard to find something that doesn’t fall apart almost before it gets home. And of course, "money greases the wheels".