$68 from My Sunset Road.
Allison Taylor’s story as a crafter begins in a familiar way: she first learned to crochet at her grandmother’s knee at the tender age of six.
Despite her grandmother’s considerable skill as a fiber artist, not to mention her infinite patience, crocheting didn’t quite stick with Allison that first time around. Six year olds aren’t famous for their attention spans, so it’s not really that surprising!
It wasn’t until much later when Allison was a college student that she picked up crochet hooks and some yarn again. Although she had never gotten into the knitting, crocheting, sewing, and other fiber arts that her grandmother had mastered, Allison had always admired her grandmother’s talent and skill with needles, yarn, and fabric.
When her grandmother became ill and was no longer physically able to craft, due to side effects of a stroke, Allison was inspired once again to take up the craft she had not been able to master as a little girl.
She made her grandmother a blanket, to show her how much she appreciated her, and how impressed she had always been with her fiber skills. Blankets are still Allison’s favorite thing to make, and friends and family can count on one for a gift whenever there’s a wedding or baby on the way.
Allison was “hooked” on crochet from then on, and turned her hobby into a side business with her Etsy shop that opened in 2008. Although she has a day job unrelated to crafting, it in no way diminishes her fierce love for making.
The best part for Allison is having strangers own something she made with her own hands: “It’s a way of sharing something tangible with people across long spaces, which is so rare,” she says. “It’s really exciting and touching, and I never get over it.”
She also feels a connection to her grandmother every time she picks up her crochet hook, another feeling many crafters can relate to. The emotional connection associated with creating and sharing handmade goods is probably one of the big reasons handmade is so popular these days.
The most popular item in Allison’s shop is the best friends beanie, which also happens to be her favorite thing to make for the shop! Customers also respond well to her continuum scarves and continuum collars, with their unusual shape.
Like most of her creations, Allison let the continuum scarf emerge on its own, without too much planning ahead from her. Her general technique is to pick up her crochet hook and yarn, and experiment with different stitches until something she loves emerges.
You can find Allison’s crocheted gems in her online shop. If you see something you like but are fixated on a certain color, don’t worry because Allison loves to do custom work!
Leather bracelets by CoRneY.
Spring is my favorite time of year, and it is wonderful to be reminded of it in the midst of December. Thank you Kristybee Photography.
Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about myself; just ask my fella. He knows firsthand that it’s one of my favourite topics of conversation. When it comes to this column, though, I prefer to shine the spotlight away from myself and towards the dozens and dozens of talented artisans and crafters that I come across on the web and in person. Save for the one upcycled pillow of my own that I managed to sneak into a piece, in the 11 months of writing my weekly “Going Green” articles I have pretty much resisted the urge to toot my own horn…until now. I have recently joined a local crafters cooperative and with the recent opening of our brick and mortar shop, I am absolutely bursting to tell you all about it.
Taking over a former art gallery space in Winnipeg’s funky South Osborne neighbourhood, the Mozy Rue ECO Collective opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, June 13th. The collective itself is made up of several members of Winnipeg’s art and craft community, who met through local craft shows and Etsy street-team events. The collection of handmade goods on the shelves will be constantly changing and evolving (much like the people who make them), which will give shoppers a completely new shopping experience with every visit. Organized into little “boutiques” within the bright, open space, customers can browse for everything from jewelry to furniture and, believe me, everything in between. The only commonality (besides their inherent coolness, of course) is that all items are handmade and “eco-friendly” in some way, either created from new, natural, sustainable materials, or upcycled/recycled/repurposed from discarded items. This is just a small sampling of the many members and consigners at the shop, but it should give you a taste of what we’re all about.
The shop takes its name from Jody, aka Mozy Rue, the visionary ECO-crafter who brought us all together and has been working tirelessly to make the shop a reality. In addition to being the driving force (and muscle) behind the venture, she is an talented artisan as well. Visitors to the Mozy Rue ECO Collective shop will be both surprised and impressed by Jody’s eclectic collection; her line of upcycled goods runs the gamut from boots made from men’s suits and repurposed leather (pictured above) to pendants cut from bottles, which are also available in Jody’s online shop.
Regular readers of this column will recognize EmmsgEMs from previous mentions, as well as a recent full-length interview . In that feature, I introduced Emily’s new line of eco-friendly jewelry, which makes use of natural and sustainable materials. When I found out that Emily had signed on as a member of the collective, I was thrilled…but a little worried. It’s definitely going to take a lot of willpower for me to work my shifts in the shop with lovely things like the ones in the EmmsgEMs display case tempting me. I know I will be unable to resist her recycled glass earrings, like the ones pictured above. Visit the EmmsgEMs shop to see what I mean…and, really, don’t even bother trying to “just browse”.
When you move into a house, you hope for good neighbours. Well, the same goes when you set-up shop in a new place. My own hopes for “good neighbours” at the ECO Collective store were more than exceeded when I saw the display right beside mine. It is a rare that I am speechless (again, just ask my fella), but that’s exactly what happened when I saw dconstruct’s beautiful (and beautifully presented) line. Working in feather-light concrete and 40% recycled resin, the award-winning team behind dconstruct create jewelry pieces that are simple, stunning and, well…simply stunning. I absolutely love the resin cuffs with embedded natural materials and concrete pieces, pictured above.
Needless to say, I am thrilled to be in such great company and part of what is promising to be a very exciting (ad)venture. As for my own little “shop-within-a-shop”, I have filled my space with all sorts of upcycled goodies, like my signature Domino Pins (below), collage mirrors and upcycled t-shirt pillows. I have already begun expanding my line, though, and I am sure that being surrounded by so many talented and like-minded women and men is going to be a fantastic inspiration for me. I can’t wait to see what the future holds…
The Mozy Rue ECO Collective is open for business at 531 Osborne Street in Winnipeg, Manitoba. If you can’t make it out to say “hi” in person, please visit our online shops, or visit our blog for more info.