Meet the Maker at Nancy’s Notions

Joi Mahon, Sewist at Nancy’s Notions

When and how did you first start sewing?
I started sewing somewhere between age 5-7. I would go to my grandma’s farm and read all of her Hershner’s catalogs and I would look at photos and try to figure out how projects and patterns were created. I guess I started teaching myself at an early age how to think creatively  and to figure out how things are put together. I hand sewed a lot for several years and started using a sewing machine around age 11. I think I was the only kid who asked for gift cards to House of Fabrics for Christmas.

What advice would you give to someone who just started sewing/making their own clothing?
I encourage my students to gain a love of sewing first before perfection. Too many people are hard on themselves when they are learning and get frustrated in our instant result society. IF you are taking piano lessons you don’t expect to master the piano after one class or retreat and you don’t skip the intermediate recital just because you are not a maestro. I want new sewists to love and be proud of their first projects. Mastery comes with repetition, and remember no one sewist is a master of every fabric and technique.

What are your must-have tools in your studio?
Several different types of quality scissors as they are all for different things, true tailor’s chalk, and my industrial iron. You need an iron that can provide heat and pressure for professional results.

What inspires you and gets your creativity flowing?
I am super creative so ideas come pretty easy, but I find I read fabric and design around the strengths of an individual fabric; how it will drape, how it will hang, how the grain can be manipulated for fit and function. Additionally, I love problem solving so when someone poses a project scenario I just love tossing out all sorts of idea (not all are good) and the creative process.

How did you become the face of Nancy’s Notion’s Wardrobe Builder?
It’s such an honor and I loved talking to Nancy about her favorite type of sewing and I loved when she would comment on my work. Last year I was reaching out to Jenny about an idea and she said that she had an idea for me and had the team contact me. We had several planning and brainstorming meetings and WB was born. I am so excited about this program because we have such a beautiful blend of quality hand picked fabrics that work so well with our monthly projects, we have a fantastic team working behind the scenes and I love teaching technique. My approach is very much making sewing approachable for all skill levels while being able to toss in my personal experiences and professional techniques.

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Meet the Maker of One Big Happy

Jenny Fish, Knitter at One Big Happy

When and how did you first start knitting?
Almost 20 years ago, I had a Lucy moment and convinced my best friend Becca to go a knitting class. The class was a disaster.  I don’t think we ever got past the cast on row. Looking back, it was quite hilarious, but at the time I was so frustrated!!! After that we stuck to books from the library and local yarn shops for tips and tricks. 

What advice would you give to someone who just started knitting?
Be Patient and Persistent. Knitting is a labor of love. It takes time to master. But if you keep at it, soon you’ll be able to knit up some beautiful works of art and we all have to start somewhere. 

What are your must-have tools in your studio?
BAGS! I love all the bags. I have so many! Seriously. I have a thing for my knitting bags. I also love the clicking row counter and my locking stitch makers. The markers help keep me on track especially when my babies need me. 

What inspires you and gets your creativity flowing?
I’m inspired by the yarn. It’s almost like the yarn tells me what it wants to be. I soak in the color, fiber content and how its spun. Then I vision the fabric it will make, from that something usually pops into my head.. like, this texture would make a good scarf. Ok, this yarn wants to be a scarf. 

How did you become the face of One Big Happy?
Everyone that knows me knows I love to knit. Fortunately for me, when MSQC decided to start selling yarn, I already worked for the company. I’m local, a part of the family and have a passion for knitting and sharing my knowledge of the craft. We did a test run and so far it seems to be working. Being the face of the company just kind of happened.

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Meet the Makers of Let’s Make Art

Not everyone has a ton of time or space to create. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to start now. We’ll encourage you to try new things and take risks. We’ll laugh with you when things don’t turn out quite as planned. We promise to challenge you and to teach you to enjoy the process of making art. If you promise to be kind to yourself, not to compare your art to others, and to have fun, then we’re going to have a great time together. Let’s make some art!

– The Let’s Make Art Team

Sarah Cray, Watercolor Artist and Co-Founder at Let’s Make Art

When and how did you first start painting?
I have always had a love and passion for art. Painting, drawing, creating was something that I did as a child and simply never stopped. When it came time to pick a career, I decided to pick art as my major in college and a year after graduating, I started Let’s Make Art with my business partner. 

What advice would you give to someone who just started painting?
Be kind to yourself. Do not compare. Remember to have fun.

What are your must-have tools in your studio?
Must have tools: Paint supplies and music. You know when I am in the zone by how much I am singing along to whatever is playing while I paint 🙂

What inspires you and gets your creativity flowing?
I think inspiration is a tricky beast and I am learning that mostly what it means to get creativity flowing is to show up consistently. I don’t always have the flutter feeling of inspiration BEFORE I start painting, but I almost always feel better when I am done painting. I view creating as a practice that I am passionate about and committed to instead of this magical, elusive thing. Sometimes the magic is there and sometimes it isn’t, but either way, I am making something. 

How did you become the face of Let’s Make Art?
As co-founder of Let’s Make Art, there weren’t a lot of people or options (or money for that matter) that we could use as a resource to help us find “the face”. And honestly, I am not entirely sure that it was strategic on what being “the face” actually means. All I know is that I had a vision for how art should and could be taught. And I thought, “Maybe if I could open up, and share with them everything: the supplies, how to use them, the mistakes, the joy, the fear, the techniques, the why – then maybe it won’t feel so out of reach for people who have always wanted to try.” So that’s what I did. I simply gave all of myself to this company.

Nicole Miyuki, Kids Artist at Let’s Make Art

When and how did you first start lettering?
In 2012 I started with a personal challenge to create something every day. I had absolutely no idea that that would be a catalyst for a career of creating, teaching and expressing myself through art!

What advice would you give to someone who just started lettering?
Tap into your inner child-like wonder that is there inside of you. Yes, it might need some dusting off, but it is in there, simply waiting to be free and create!

What are your must-have tools in your studio?
Watercolor paints and two brushes – a small one to letter with and a round larger one to paint with! 

What inspires you and gets your creativity flowing?
The colors that illuminate the sky when the sun goes down. Sunsets are Mother Nature’s beautiful daily light shows and have been the source of my creativity recently!

How did you become the host of your own Let’s Make Art series?
The internet makes the world smaller! Sarah Cray and I were both teaching an online workshop and she reached out about a company she was starting, Let’s Make Art. She enjoyed my teaching style, lettering books (see links below), and we instantly connected after one visit! Lettering became the second subscription box at Let’s Make Art and it was so much fun! Then, in the summer of 2020, I felt an urge and a need to create for kids. I transitioned from teaching lettering to creating a kids program and art box for our Little Artists! It has been so much fun, and we just launched our kids-only Instagram!

By Hand: The Art of Modern Lettering
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The Kids Book of Hand Lettering
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Jesse Petersen, Mixed Media Artist at Let’s Make Art

When and how did you first start journaling?
I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember. I made my own art journals in first grade and laminated the covers with all my Mom’s scotch tape. My parents tried really hard to discourage me from making art my career, but I’ve always been a rebel. 😉

What advice would you give to someone who just started journaling?
Don’t be too precious. The only wasted paint is the paint that is still in the tube!

What are your must-have tools in your studio?
I like to start with a great surface, a mixed media journal paper, or a sturdy panel. I love rich pigmented paints and working with a craft knife and collage paper. Yes! Paste is my favorite adhesive. 

What inspires you and gets your creativity flowing?
My creative ritual keeps me grounded and inspired. I like to start out my studio time with some calm music and sketching or a painting sort of warm-up before I get into anything too serious. Sometimes these low-pressure warm-ups lead to big ideas.

How did you become the host of your own Let’s Make Art series?
I’ve worked in the craft industry for a big chunk of my career and I really wanted to see a different format of creativity be offered. I’ve always made art journals and creative sketchbooks on my own while creating products for creative memory keeping in major retail stores. I wanted to offer more education around those ideas. I pitched the idea of doing an art journal subscription box to one of the Let’s Make Art co-founders, Al Doan, and the rest is history!

Art Journaling Subscription Box from Let's Make Art

Whether you’re a total beginner or you’ve mastered the arts, the supplies and tutorials in this monthly art box are designed to encourage, support, and enhance your experience with Art Journaling. The monthly box provides the supplies you’ll need and a free video tutorial released weekly. 

Art Journaling Subscription Box
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Explore Let’s Make Art Today! >