Trashion team spotlight - Interview : Nature Made Scents & Mad & Mini Metals

Shop name: Nature Made Scents & Mad & Mini Metals

Shop address:

In a nutshell:
Funky Yet Useful Stuff! (C)

Tell us a bit about yourself:
Pam Farren, Newburyport , MA
I've owned and operated Nature Made Scents since 1990. After finishing college, and getting married, my (awesome) husband and I opened The Craft Café. We sold funky folk art made by us and by our friends from school. I met a woman, who was totally into aromatherapy, and I was so intrigued by the concept, I've been practicing aromatherapy ever since. Hence, the name, Nature Made Scents. My son was born in 1994 (yeah!). This is when I started working with metals. Book'markers were my first commercial venture. A friend of mine took them into her store, I was picked up by a rep, and it's been a whirlwind since then! I wholesale, retail, drop-ship, stand-on-my-head (not really!), and love it all. The best part is that I have my studios at home, so I'm also a stay at home mom. My son is now 13, and has operated Mini Metals for the past two years.

Trashion materials:
I work primarily with metals; silver, gold, copper, brass, aluminum, tin...
I find stuff on the street, at flea markets, auctions, wherever! I've never met a funky piece of metal I didn't like!

I transform them into:
I'm a very practical person. I like to make things that serve a purpose. I love to collect old tins, and upcycle them into jewelry, and clocks. I also like to make notebooks from recycled papers and cardboard packaging, like cereal boxes.

How do you do it?
Because of the variety of materials I work with, most of my pieces are one-of-a-kind. Each piece is fabricated or assembled by hand, and with a collection of terrific tools. Sometimes I'm instantly inspired to make something, other times I have to live with the materials before the idea comes to me. I lived with the 1lb. coffee tins for quite a while before the rusty couch springs came into my life. Then it hit me, clocks!

What inspired you to do this and why are you involved in trashion?
We're certainly not an earthy-crunchy bunch at my house, but we do want to do our part to take care of the Earth. I love to recycle, and upcycle! It's great when people see my work, and are excited about the materials. Think green!

Do you remember the first thing you made using the trashion concept?
I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit! I get that from my Dad (he's a master carpenter and all 'round amazing guy). When I was about 15 I started a business, called the Tom Thumb Collection, and made doll house furniture from scraps of wood from his workshop. I sold them to a local store. I also remember my mother making the coolest clown marionettes one summer from stuff she found around the house. She really allowed, and encouraged my creativity.

What are your current projects and what is on the horizon?
I'm working on the clocks, and jewelry. I'm enjoying the journey! One project leads to the other. New materials come into your life. I just received about 400lbs. of scrap rubber roofing from a local company that was closing up shop. I plan to make belts, and book covers, bracelets, and bags. It's a lot of rubber! I see "making stuff out of rubber classes for kids" in my future...

Why should people buy handmade, and buy from trashion?
My handmade items are thought about, and cared about, and fussed over until they're just right. They come with a story, not just my story, but the story of where all of the materials came from, the life they lived before they came to me. How cool is that?

I'll be sending in stuff to the Trashion Trunk Show at etsy labs, thanks to my fabulous fellow trashionistas! Earrings, bracelets, and pins made from tin trays and cans. My Trashion book'marker is part of the Swag Bag too!

More you'd like to share:
I love to work with kids. Their work is honest, and true. Upcycling is a great concept for them because they're usually operating with no budget. Teaching them how to make a great notebook or bracelet from stuff they have around the house makes me very happy.

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