Today's Feature Friday focuses on the husband and wife team of Joey and Kelly Graves of Whimsy Beading and Whimsy Wearables based in Lexington, Kentucky. They are new to our team and I think you will find today's interview very interesting!
How did you first hear about etsy?
We’d known about Etsy for a little while before joining, just from seeing links posted to our online communities. It was definitely word of mouth, or in this case, word of internet!
Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!
We’re a husband and wife team of crafters. We tend to aid and abet one another’s crafting of the moment, be it soap making, needlework, or beading – we have two closets in our house completely full of crafting supplies. We both love to create new things and learn new techniques in the crafts we already know. We’ve both been cross-stitch model stitchers for The Stitch Niche in Lexington for years now, though Joey is more active in stitching models right now than I am.
As for a favorite craft, I’m not sure there is one. Sometimes, it’s all knitting, all the time. Sometimes it’s cross-stitch, and right now, our living room has been taken over by boxes of beads of every shape and size. That’s our relaxation time – to be together with a television show we like, or maybe a movie or an audiobook and craft. I’m an accountant and Joey was most recently a parts analyst for a company that supplied parts to Toyota in Georgetown, so at the end of the day, relaxing and actually creating something with our hands is a great way to relieve stress.
How did you get started as a designer?
Honestly, we both just fell into it. It’s a journey of discovery every time. You master the basics, then you go on to learn some new technique, or think about the principles in a different way, saying “I wonder if I could…” and then you find out if it works. If it doesn’t, you try something else or you rework it a different way until it does. “I wonder if I could” is sort of our mantra. We work well off of one another in that respect, since we each have different ways of seeing a problem and approaching the solution. Sometimes it can lead to an almighty row, but that’s part of the creative process too!
Our first real foray into the world of crafting as a business was creating and selling full-length film accurate scarves to the Harry Potter fandom under the name Whimsy Wearables. We're both big fans of the books and movies, so it was something that developed from wanting accurate costume pieces for ourselves and for our friends and nothing really available commercially that would fit the bill. We sold scarves from 2003 to 2007, and still accept large orders for scarves from time to time. We've outfitted one large group of University of Kentucky fans and later their kids in similar style scarves.
We got into beading when Joey found a very pretty beaded stitch marker he liked, and he started playing around with making some of his own. I'm a huge fan of jewelry and I love the versatility of beads, but I was frustrated with the lack of pretty necklaces available to plus sized women. Not everyone has a neck that's fourteen to sixteen inches around, there aren't that many choker style necklaces to fit a plus sized person. So my start in beading was making jewelry in the styles I liked in a size that would be more comfortable. Whimsy Beading specializes in making plus sized chokers, lariats and bridal jewelry, though we're always happy to shorten a necklace at the request of the customer.
What inspires you to create?
Oh, everything. Clouds, the way the light is shining off a glass in the kitchen, or those beads or that pendant hanging there in the store that you have to have but don’t have a use for…just yet. We tend to do a lot of people watching too. What are people wearing, what’s the new thing? What’s an old thing that deserves to come back, what can be used in a different way? We’re always asking questions like that.
How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?
We’re definitely the newbies to the team, we just joined in June. Libby was very welcoming.
We heard about the Bluegrass Etsy Street Team through Jackie of GloryBeHerbals. Joey has been friends with her for years now. They got to know one another when Jackie would pick up the mail and packages at the company Joey used to work for, and they’ve stayed in touch, especially when Jackie started working in the Versailles Post Office. Because of our annual fundraiser selling silk lilac pins to raise money Alzheimer’s research (http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/main/19273092), Joey would often be in the post office delivering packages to go out. He mentioned that we had an Etsy store, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?
Don’t be afraid to try something new, something you’ve never done before. Always strive to learn more about your chosen craft and improve yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or to help others.
Thanks Kelly and Joey for letting us interview you and learn more about you! Be sure to check out the variety of items found in the Whimsy Beading etsy shop. And their blog can be found here.
To learn more about the talented Kentucky artists on etsy, go to www.etsy.com and type "teambluegrass" in the search box to see more!