Hello all! Another week has come to a close, and as fall gets into full swing, Craftland is gearing up for the annual holiday show. We'll be getting plenty of new artists and lots of fresh work from some of our more seasoned Craftland artists! One such artist is Jan Willett, creator of Monkeyshine Studios and maker of an array of adorable sock monkeys. This week she graciously agreed to share a bit more about herself and her primate pals.
I'm Jan Willett. I got a BA in sculpture back in the dark ages, and now I make sock monkeys! Go figure! I work on my mom's 1947 singer in my dining room/workshop.
My friend showed me a display in the Pearl Paint window, with creepy sock monkeys in it. We found the lady that made them, and she gave us instructions on how to do it. After I made my first one (entirely hand-stitched, see photo), I showed it to my crafty pals at the restaurant where I worked. They encouraged me to make a bunch of them to sell at their annual holiday craft show. The rest.... is herstory!
It's an accident. Once I put the face on, I look at it and a name comes to me. The characters grow out of the names, and each troupe needs to have personalities that are unique so they make a fun story. (I confess I've been lazy with the Gaia troupe so far...) I have an old address book (remember those?) where I keep all the names I've used, so I don't repeat them by accident!
Socks are from Standard Merchandising, based in New Jersey. I think they make 'em right there, or maybe North Carolina... Process? I cut 'em up and sew 'em back together again. It takes one pair of socks to make a monkey!
LOL! I do have a special fondness for some of the early one-of-a-kinds; and then there's my 'mascot' Zooey.
I did the Bazaar Bizarre one Christmas, and my neighbor was from Providence, and recommended you!
I like to bike, swim, pet the cats, read, and cook. I'm still a waitress. Someday I'd like the monkeys to support me!
The parallel me is loaded and on a permanent vacation, touring the world with her boy-toy.
Thanks so much Jan for sharing, and thanks to all eager readers! Check back next week for another interview with one of our newer artists.