The BUST Craftacular has a long and craftiful history, almost a decade worth of amazing vendors and handmade goods of which dreams are made. It's true. If you've been to a Craftacular, then you know. If you haven't, you really ought to come on out to Queens on Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 20 & 21, because we'll be bringing that goodness back in the form of BUST Craftacular @ World Make Faire.
We got to chat cats, messes, advice, and doing what you love with one of our superb longtime vendors — Life With Tigers. It's kind of a big deal that this is her favorite event of the year.
1) Tell us a little about yourself and your wares. What's your main goal for your business, why did you start, how would you describe your brand's personality? How did you get your name? You get the gist.
My name is Karen Brazell and I am a senior web designer living in New York City. When I'm not pixel-pushing, I enjoy creating handmade toys, dolls, soft sculptures, art prints and greeting cards for my business Life with Tigers. It's one part science experiment, one part art project and one part therapy session. My products include severed-thing catnip toys, dolls of monkeys, cats, rabbits dachshunds and robots, mushroom topiaries and mobiles, plus some other good stuff. I'd say my brand personality can be a bit maudlin.
2) How did you get started? What was the first thing you made/sold? What prompted you to start making?
I spend way too much time on the computer as a part of my job, and I felt I was missing something. I discovered that it was the joy of working with my hands. Not in a "command-option-shift" kind of way, but the feeling of pulling needle through fabric, or cutting paper and even the feeling that the ink or glue on my hands will never come off. The first thing I ever made and sold was a dachshund doll from my Etsy shop, which was quickly followed by sales of fabric topiaries at my first craft fair ever...the Bust Craftacular in New York City!
3) What's your current inspiration? Are you loving any particular thing or influence that's showing through in what you're making right now?
My inspiration comes from all kinds of sources, including books, museum visits, old sketchbooks, but a lot of it comes from my cats. They each have such distinct personalities, and I always try to catch a bit of that in each doll I create. It's the joys and challenges of living with them that inspired the name of my business. Too many times I would mumble "that's life with tigers" when cleaning up their various messes. I have lately been inspired by all the super hero movies and comic books out there, so many of the dolls and severed thing catnip toys I will be bringing to the Craftacular at the Maker Faire will have a "super hero" theme.
4) What would be your one bit of key advice to anyone starting out as a maker?
Know who you are making things for and sell what you would like to buy or receive as a gift! Never make anything you are not in love with, because you will get bored very quickly.
5) What are you most looking forward to about BUST Craftacular @Maker Faire?
This is my most favorite event of the year! There is so much creativity at the Maker Faire, and it's a fantastic opportunity to talk with other creatives who work with ideas and materials I would not normally be exposed to otherwise. I always come away having learned something completely new, and I have met some wonderful people there. I am also looking forward to sharing a booth with Jed from Ink & Sword, which is an art print studio he heads that I am also involved in. Many of his art prints are based in the sciences, particularly STEM subjects and space exploration, so the conversations he gets involved in at Maker Faire are fascinating to overhear!