Friday interview: Pickle Things! April 20, 2012 12:17

Happy Friday, everyone! This week I'd like to introduce you to Stephanie Weber, an artist from Portland, Oregon who makes our cute collection of felt food. Read on to learn a little bit more about Stephanie and what makes this artist inspired to turn her breakfast into great food to play with. Stephanie's work inspired one of my cutest Craftland moments, a wee little shopper asking me very politely if we had play chopsticks to go with her new felt sushi. Have a great weekend, everyone!  

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business.
My name is Stephanie Weber and I own a business called Pickle Things. The main thing that I make is play food out of felt. I am big on reuse and trying to be as thoughtful as possible about things that I create which means that I use almost all reclaimed materials. The example that I usually give is that the tomatoes on my sandwiches were made out of someone's old Christmas stocking.  Even the bags that I use to package my food were rejects from some other business. I just really like to make things that are fun and colorful but also enviromentally friendly. I also like creating things that are practical so it is nice to make little mini sculptures that get to be played with and enjoyed.

Describe your studio for us.
I do not know that you could even call my work space a studio since it is spread all over my apartment.  I have my sewing machine in my bedroom, my work desk is in my living room and I even have some supplies stored in my kitchen like a rack of ribbon on the side of my refrigerator. If you have not guessed, I have a small apartment.

What was the inspiration behind your collection of felt food? 
The first time that I made food, I made a few pieces as a gift from my friend's daughter. They were fun to make and I like the challenge of trying to figure out how I am going to recreate each type of food. Food is everywhere so it is not hard to come up with new possibilities. Sometimes I get distracted at restaurants trying to figure out how I would recreate my meal in felt. I do like to try to make each piece look pretty realistic. I am not a fan of food with cute little faces. Somehow, pretending to cook/eat something that is smiling at you just seems wrong.

What are the tools of your trade?
I do not have any tricks up my sleeve on this one. I use what every person who does basic sewing uses; needles, thread, pins, scissors and a sewing machine. 

What's the handmade scene like in Portland, Oregon?
Portland has a great handmade scene. There are so many creative people making so many cool interesting things. It is really inspirational. One of things that I love about handmade items is that you can see the personality of the crafter in their creations. Since this town has a lot of people with a lot of personality, it makes for good crafts.  Even the people who do not create things themselves are really good about supporting local artists. There are a number of businesses in town that carry nothing but locally handmade goods, which is amazing. 

What does handmade mean to you?
For me, handmade is getting an idea, working out the details of that idea, then sitting down and creating it. Plus, like I said before, I think it is also about putting your personality into what you are creating. 

How did you become involved with Craftland?
I applied to Craftland's holiday show a couple of years ago and was.....rejected! It is was so sad. Luckily, I was contacted later by the store because they were interested in carrying my food. Hooray!! Unfortunately, there were some lost emails and it took forever to get connected. Life can be tricky that way but eventually it worked out and felt food was shipped off to Providence.  Ever since, it has been nothing but happy times. I love having my stuff at Craftland.

Little known, fun fact about you.
I am a big walker. It is hands down my favorite way to get from one place to another. The funny thing is that I really hate stepping on the metal grates or  metal doors in the sidewalk. I always try to walk around them. If I can't for some reason, I basically slowly tip toe over it trying to make as little noise as possible. You would think I was walking on hot coals but not smart enough to move quickly. It must look really funny to the casual observer.