Friday Interviews Presents Made in Lowell! September 13, 2013 11:31

Hello Everyone!  This week I mercilessly grilled Liz Smith, felting fiend and mastermind behind Made in Lowell.  You may know her from her felted cupcake pincushions, knitted cup cozies, or colorful clay earrings.  So, now here is the inside scoop straight from the horse's mouth no bones about it...

Introduce yourself.  Who are you?  What do you make?  Where do you make it?  

Hi, I'm Liz Smith. I make things out of wool and polymer clay. All kinds of things; sewing notions, jewelry, ornaments, accessories, fun little pretties. I have a studio in an old textile mill on a canal in the historical industrial city of Lowell, Massachusetts. 

Your primary medium seems to be felt.  How did you get into felting?  What is your process?  

I got into felting about 8 years ago, I bought a beautiful flower brooch at a craft show and asked the artist how she made it. She said "needle felting!" so I ran off and taught myself how to make my own creations. I've been working in polymer clay since the 80s and I find sculpting with wool just as fascinating and rewarding. 

How did Made in Lowell start?  How long have you run your business?  

Well, I've been making things and selling them since I was a teenager, but I chose the name Made in Lowell when I opened my Etsy shop in 2006. That's when things really took off for me and I was eventually able to go full time with my business.

What inspires your creations?  What do you do when you feel creatively stuck or uninspired?  

I'm inspired by beauty, color, utility, complicated things that look simple, clean lines, cleverness, craftsmanship. I love looking at vintage items from the 40s through the 70s. I feel like everyday things used to be made with more design consciousness. When I'm really stuck I start looking through my supplies stash. There's nothing like basically having a craft supply shop right in my studio.

How did you get involved in Craftland?

I applied to Craftland when it was just a holiday pop-up and I was delighted to get in! Since then I've been so fortunate to be a part of the year 'round shop. I love the amazing opportunities Craftland has made available to makers like me. There's something really special about a shop run by folks who understand what it means to be a maker.

What do you do outside of creating heartwarming objects for Made in Lowell?  Do you have any hobbies, habits, idiosyncrasies you think gossip hungry Craftland blog readers are just dying to know about?

I have a TV show! I interview other makers about the business of selling what they make. You can find all the episodes on my Vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/madeinlowell/videos. Makers in Business is also available as a podcast on iTunes. As far as hobbies, lately I've been doing a lot of handsewing with other makers' scrap fabrics, I find it very freeing to use materials other people have discarded.

Random Question:  What was your favorite childhood Halloween costume?

I think all the childhood Halloween costume I wore my Mom would have made for my older siblings which then got handed down to me, so they were all awesome:) Yay, handmade!

You can check out the Made in Lowell webpage at http://madeinlowell.com.  Thanks Liz, and until next week Craftland lovers!