Blue Blissdom Lampwork Glass Earrings
These fun and funky white, blue and black earrings are made with 14mm beautifully detailed solid color lampwork glass beads . They are accented with black obsidian beads. The earrings dangle approximately 1 3/8 inches long. details »
Couture Derby Hat
Another gorgeous new Hat from my collection, made of beige/Lt Olive Taffeta with champagne printed roses all over the brim. adorned with Green peacock Flue feathers and a Beautiful Large Silk rose.
Lavender, Plum and Yellow Glass Soap Dish
Elegant and contemporary style soap dish in lavender, plum and yellow opaque glass, with a cover of black and clear collage glass. This one was inspired by some lovely little pansies in my garden this Spring. Perfect for your bars of beautiful soap, this dish has 2 raised bars… details »
Who says boys can’t be cute? I have 3, and they wore these shirts from Super Sweet Creations all last fall and winter for Thanksgiving, Christmas parties, birthdays, and other special occasions. I love having an outfit that gives a nod to a formal event, but is made by someone who clearly understands that kids aren’t miniature adults.
My girls may have two full weeks left before it’s ‘back to the books’ at our local public school, but across the country many kids have already returned to the classroom. And, perhaps to a more high-profile extent, to the cafeteria.
Earlier this month the first daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama, were used as bait in an advertisement aimed at spurring school food reform; the White House grounds are sporting a kitchen garden; and better nutrition for public school students is prioritized on both the President and First Lady’s agenda. All of this in a year when the Child Nutrition Act is set to be reassessed has parents and teachers alike optimistic that much needed changes in school food policy are soon to come.
What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
I am a jewelry maker that uses vintage beads, charms and buttons. I love a good story and try to find pieces with a unique history to incorporate into my work.
Shopping at Estate sales and hunting for the materials to work with is half the fun!
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I was a Marketing Director for more than 10 years before I became a mom. I always found myself lingering at the creative’s desk, hanging around the graphic designers.
I got started in jewelry by making it for friends and family who urged me to start selling it. I signed up for Etsy and it all took off from there. Now I sell in several boutiques and do home parties as well.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
I named my studio/shop the “Mom O Matic” in a cheeky nod to the Automats of the early 1900s. Where women sat behind vending machines and dispensed treats to patrons day and night.
As I was already dispensing goldfish crackers and sippy cups to my two smallest patrons. Adding jewelry, just became another treat to add to the mom machine.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I make the jewelry alone, but I hardly work alone. My awesome husband often puts the kids to bed so I can start my work at night. He also pulls morning duty when I’ve done a late or all nighter making jewelry.
And of course my kids help me too. They both like to sort buttons and suggest color combinations.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I sell at www.momomatic.etsy.com. I’m at the Hammer Boutique in LaGrange, IL www.hammerboutique.com. And will soon be in a boutique in Western Springs that I can’t talk about just yet since I’m still working on their delivery!
I’ve done a few open houses at my house and that’s a blast. It’s hard to make the stock I need for everything so I’m looking into partnering up with another crafter for my next show.
You can usually keep up with me by becoming a Facebook Fan, I do my best to keep that updated.
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers you’d like to recommend?
Too many to list! I’m sure most of of my Etsy income goes back into supplies and other seller’s work. My top three would be…
For organic baby rattles and yummy work – www.etsy.com/shop/littlealouette
When I used handcrafted supplies I often turn to Metamorph as she has beautiful work.
I decorate all my Etsy packages with vintage papers, retro plastic charms or vintage paper bags. I’m often going to Hey Yo Yo for these.
If you are in the Chicagoland area you must check out Uncle Fun, that’s another great stop for vintage doo-dads to decorate packages with.
What inspires and motivates you?
Talking with other artists, finding new supplies and looking at vintage magazines. The colors in an old romance comic book might inspire a new necklace.
What do you wish I had asked you?
How do you do it all? Other moms ask how I do it and the honest answer is that I don’t sleep much. I’m up late, there are times when I should be playing a board game with the kids and instead I’m bending wire into earrings. You do your best to balance what you can and be kind to yourself the rest of the time.
Thanks Lotta! And if you want to be interviewed next, please go to DIY Interview.
There was a time when I would think of the big city, and certain words would automatically come to mind: fast-paced, progressive, industrial, crowds, anonymity, grit, grime. But now, having visited Sister Arts Studio in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, other words come to mind as well: community, families, connections, creativity. This is because I found a place in the big city where all those things take place, and from what I can tell, the big city loves it.
Sister Arts Studio is the brainchild of Donna Palicka and her fifteen year old daughter, Ona Gleichman. A true “labor of love” in every sense of the phrase, Sister Arts, or SASI as it is also known, is more than just a craft shop. It has become the place where families congregate to meet other families, step out of anonymity, and develop bonds as they explore their creativity.
It was while she was busy successfully climbing the corporate ladder that Donna had an epiphany, and decided to make a change in her life. “I worked as and interior designer for a prestigious Chicago architectural firm for 21 years,” Donna told me. “The profession was tough, not very family-friendly. I was working 60-hour weeks, traveling. When really what I wanted was to raise my own child. I wanted it all. A career and to be an active parent.”
As it turned out, her daughter, along with critical world events, are what caused Donna to come to the decision to leave her corporate career behind and start anew. “I’m a designer, my husband’s an architect, and I saw that my daughter from a very young age showed a great amount of creativity. She was drawing pictures at 18 months. So I always tried to expose her to creative pursuits.
“But then 9/11 happened, and I realized that my child was going to grow up in a world filled with war, when I didn’t. I came full circle. You climb the ladder, and get to the top and . . .” She pauses, “something’s lacking. It’s not worth it.”
The shop is in its fifth year of business and going strong. Donna and her “sisters” offer classes in knitting, crochet, wet felting, needle felting, shibori, needle-point, weaving, jewelry-making, beading, hairpin lace, and machine sewing. The sisters include an impressive list of craft experts, all of whom Donna met through the shop, who proved to have the knowledge and personality to work with children and adults using Donna’s philosophy of teaching love. “I grew up with four brothers and no sisters, so these talented women are like sisters to me.”
“Teaching love is my calling. I was a busy parent. The city is full of busy parents. And I saw that what was lacking in the community was a place where a parent and child, or a group of kids could come to do something to help create a bond. I’m now working in the school systems, doing after school programs for the public, private and parochial schools.”
The shop offers a wide variety of classes for adults and children. Donna even does birthday parties. “I’m set up to entertain! I do parties for children as young as two and on up. We do a craft project, and I do all the clean up. It’s everything a parent could want. I make craft kits, so parents can come in with their kids and buy a kit and use the studio space. I provide all the additional tools or materials you might need.”
SASI also hosts creative camps, the most popular of which include machine sewing and the “ugly dolls” workshops which have as many boy fans as girls. Donna tries to offer projects that kids might not necessarily get in a school art class. Ugly doll making, mask-making, and painting on canvas are just to name a few.
“We also expanded our adult class list. We’ve had a Thursday night knitting circle since the beginning, and it has really become an event where life-long friendships are being formed. We offer many knitting classes for adults from novice to advanced. Jewelry-making classes, weaving, felting. And we are also a crochet-friendly yarn shop.”
“I love seeing moms come in with their kids, and meet other moms, and form those relationships that we as women really need. I love working with adults and doing knit-a-longs too. It’s kind of hard to find a knit-a-long pattern that will appeal to a wide variety of people, but we’ve definitely had some success in those. But my focus remains on kids and families, to teach parents how to create a bond with their child through creativity. I teach love.”
The other sisters of Sisters Arts Studio are:
Sister Arts Studio, 721 W. Wrightwood, Chicago, Illinois, USA
On the web: http://sisterartsstudio.com