1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
When I was 8, I fell hopelessly in love with Poppin’ Fresh, the mascot for Pillsbury. I wished that he was real so I could take him with me to school and poke his tummy and snuggle with him at bedtime. I grew up in a big family, and we never had much money, but we made up for it with creativity. I decided to make my own Pillsbury Doughboy, and raided my mom’s sewing room for scraps. I had never sewn anything before, so I guess it just came naturally to me. I figured out how to fashion the traditional baker’s cap Poppin’ Fresh wears even though I’m not very good at math. Which shows that if you want something badly enough, like your own bashful hunk of talking dough in a bandanna, you CAN be good at math.
After I proved to myself that I could make a Doughboy without instructions, I figured the sky was the limit and I kept on going. I made puppets, Halloween costumes, doll clothes, clothes for myself. At art school, studying illustration, I incorporated sewing into a lot of my assignments with soft sculpture, trapunto, and literally “sewn” drawings.
Sewing a drawing takes a lot more time than using a brush or pencil, but it just felt right to me. It was my medium. I was aware of the anti-craft sentiment that existed at the time, though—this was the dawning of the computer graphics age, and traditional methods were unhip. I studied fabric design and silkscreening, and felt most drawn to those classes, but couldn’t see how I’d be able to make a living. After college, I worked as a graphic designer for years, trading my art supplies for software. I’m not sorry about it at all, because technology figures in to a lot of what I do now even though I’ve gone back to my sewing machine and printing press.
2. What made you open your shop and why Etsy?
My memory of it is hazy. Last summer I decided to take my camera along to the county fair, because I’d really enjoyed the chickens I saw the previous year. I had no clear plan at that point. The next thing I knew, I was silkscreening roosters onto linen. It just seemed like the right idea. I started with pillows and wasn’t sure what else I could do with my prints. Then I came across a collection of vintage flash cards in the attic, and thought the baby animals on them would make cute designs for baby clothes. I love early 20th century illustration because it was still done all by hand; typography in particular was drawn by hand, and it’s very beautiful to me.
After “retiring” from NYC, I was vaguely searching for some way to get back into sewing and handcrafted art, and found Kari Chapin’s great book, “Handmade Marketplace”. That’s how I discovered Etsy. It sounded almost too good to be true. I wasn’t aware that the craft movement had taken off the way it had. I still find it hard to believe that so many people actually care about handmade things. For me, it really says something profound and hopeful about humanity, especially since Etsy is global. I feel a connection to Etsy people that is rare for me in my daily life.
3. How did you choose your shop name?
Going back to the flash card art, I was struck by one in particular, of a baby goat, who had a frisky way about him. I showed the goat to my husband, saying I wanted to silkscreen it onto something, maybe for kids, since baby goats are called “kids”, and he said, “You could call it Plucky Kid.” The name sums up the spirit of what I’m doing, which is hanging in there and persevering until it starts to feel right, and staying young at heart. It also sums up my husband, who coincidentally grew up on a goat farm.
4. Do you sell your items anywhere else?
Not at the moment. I’m not sure I want to, either. Etsy is just right for me.
5. What are your favourite things to do?
I truly love what I do with Plucky Kid—I have trouble setting it aside at night. It consumes me, in the best possible way. It’s extremely satisfying. Silkscreening—all kinds of printing—I find very satisfying. I don’t really understand it. An image I create on screen, once squeegeed onto fabric, is just BETTER. I imagine, had I been born earlier, I would have been a lithographer if I hadn’t been artistic. Anything to leave that stamp.
6. What inspires you?
I’m inspired by old things, mostly. I like digging through old books and magazines, junk shops, old-school fabric and notion shops, which are hard to come by these days, even in New York. And I love art supply stores, of course. I am especially interested in nature, obviously—in animals—and I’m lucky to live where I need only stick my head out the window to be inspired. I think inspiration comes from just paying attention. It’s all right there, you just have to tune in.
7. What is your most popular item?
This is relative, of course, because the shop is new, but I would say the canvas mini-mason bag with Sheep No. 26 is the most popular.
8. If you could learn one new craft what would it be?
Knitting!! I am such a terrible knitter. And I love yarn, and chunky sweaters, and all the great new knitted things that are coming out nowadays. But I just can’t knit. I don’t have the patience. Same with quilting, I would love to be a quilter, and fill my house with Civil War quilt patterns. But I’m just not cut out for it. (There’s a joke in there somewhere.)
9. Which handmade possession given to you do you cherish?
I have an old needlepoint that was given to me by one of my sisters. It’s a portrait of my first cat. It’s especially cherished because it was a complete surprise—she’s not a crafts-y type, and made it for my birthday. It’s so sweet.
I have to say, though, that I cherish every handmade thing I have been given. When somebody takes the time to make a homemade card, it *is* the gift.
10. Name 3 other Etsy shops you love to visit.
I love the freshness and simplicity of this shop’s jewelry designs:
This artist is so creative. I love her point of view:
I’m CRAZY about these super-cute and witty faux animal “stoles”:
bee's knees knitting
A big thank you to Plucky Kid for being my favourite Etsy shop feature this week. Its been a while since I have had one and I think this was a great shop to interview and get back into the swing of it. Actually finding this shop not long ago inspired me to get back to doing features. I just had to share this shop and show off my discovery. I just looooooove this shop. I love everything in it but my absolute favourite has be to the Mason bag. Whenever there is a new one I cant decide which one I like better. I love the natural fabrics and the vintage look of the silkscreened pictures and the colours that are used all just work together. Check out this shop and see if you love it as much as I do.