This week for Feature Me Friday we have Jessica of
Unique Euphoria from Boyceville, WI.
Who is Unique Euphoria?
Just someone who wants to make something pretty out of
something utilitarian. So many people think that electric fence
can only be an electric fence. A glass bottle can only be a glass
bottle. My goal is to make something unexpected in my recycling.
Anyone can reuse a mason jar as a drinking glass or a container of
some type. How about flatten it into a spoon rest?
What’s the first thing you remember making?
My mom was crafty. She would set me down with sewing cards
and things when I was very little. When I was able to grasp crochet,
I had miles and miles of crochet rope that ended up as hair things
and swings for my Barbies. When I was about 10, that was when
I had discovered my mom's long lost stash of pheasant feathers.
It turns out that she used to make hat bands for cowboy hats out of
these feathers. She had boxes of them all sorted out by color that
had never been touched since before I was born. She gave me some
scrap leather and a hot glue gun and I started making jewelry and
hair things. I think that is when I really started making things worth
Why work with recycled materials?
Why work with new? Recycling brings new life to something that
would otherwise be thrown away. You can usually get your supplies
for free if not really cheap. Not only that, but you never end up with
the same thing twice when using recycled. You always have an
original one of a kind piece. Last but not least, recycling is good for
our already wounded planet. Just because the item is recyclable,
i.e. glass, certain plastics, metals, does not mean that the recycling
process of melting it down in a foundry and mass producing it into
something new is earth friendly. It is so important to make the most
out of the item that you have before it gets to that point. After you
have expired all your options, then it is ready to send it off to be
processed. Before that point, have fun with your options.
Where do you work?
My husband and I share his shop. He is a mechanic and when I want
to work, he cleans off his bench so I can pull out my welder. The
upstairs of the barn is technically mine where I keep my scroll saw
and kiln, but until I make my first million on Etsy, it is nothing more
than a storage place that I occasionally infiltrate with my stuff. It is
not heated in the winter and it is over 100 degrees up there in the
summer at the moment, so short visits only until I can afford some
heat and decent ventilation.
How do you get from A to Z?
I don't know. I usually don't have an idea for something when I get it.
I usually just think it is neat. Once I have it, it may sit in my "collection"
for months before I get an idea. Usually it takes the purchase or find of
another object to make me think of finding the original piece.
An example would be, I found this really neat bottle that was shaped
like a cluster of grapes. I had it sitting around for quite a while trying
to decide what on earth to do with it. Just the other day, I got a deal
on some defective solar lights that the home improvement store was
going to throw away. A little 2-part epoxy and a drill and I have a grape
solar light. Now that I have a light, I will make a hanger to hang it from
and hope it sells in my shop.
What are your favorite tools?
My drill, my Snap on grip-it pliers and my Nipex cutters -
Oh, sorry honey, OUR drill, pliers and cutters. The welder IS mine
completely and it is my favorite big tools. I just love to weld.
What music do you listen to while you're working?
I am eclectic. I listen to everything from Eva Cassidy, to Broadway
show tunes, to Dead Kennedys, to Nina Simone to Kimya Dawson.
What are the five best things you've purchased on etsy
and where did you find them?
My favorite purchase ever was a milk-glass lavabo from inmynest,
a sunflower tea bag holder from TexasCeramics, a skull pincushion
(My mom's birthday present-she loved it) from NADELWERK,
and some awesome heirloom seeds from fluffnflowers.
Read any good books lately?
Right now I am reading Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa
Pinkola Estes. It's about getting in touch with your inner, natural
instincts and the wild and wiser women suppressed by ages of corset
wearing, rules and ideals.
Been to any great exhibits?
I live in the country, so the only exhibits I get to see are what is being
presented at the local craft sales and usually consist of hand-crochet
doilies and beautiful sparkling jars of jelly. While far from the uptown
New York scene, you really can't beat the beauty of a hand quilted
blanket, beautiful examples of canned fruits and vegetables, hand
carved wood figures and piles of gorgeous organic food. Country art
and country living is so down to earth and so generous. There is so
much honesty and so much work involved in making and growing.
You can't help but love just as it is.
Who inspires you?
There was an old man that lived near my home here in Wisconsin
that the natives called "Tinker Frank" Obeser. He was what they
called a kinetic folk artist and made everything from farm animals
to a functioning ferris wheel out of garbage and scraps. His art was
very rough. There was no paint or decoration to pretty it up. If you
look closely, you can see old ripped up plastic, fencing, plastic bottles
and even the elastic from his own old pair of underwear. He was
an absolute riot and such a wonderful inspiration.
What do you do for fun?
I like to fish. I rarely catch anything, but I love to just go out and
sit in the quiet and just enjoy my surroundings. Sometimes my kids
come with me, sometimes they do not. Other times we go camping
at our family cabin, swim, sing and just make noise. I like to go
hunting for wild food. Mushrooms, berries, greens anything that is
in season and edible I like to find and make something with. I love
being a mom and enforcing creativity and independent thinking in
Besides Etsy, where can we find your work?
Etsy is my only outlet at the moment. I live in the country, so
opportunities for selling my kind of art are scarce. I did have a few
pieces at the local coffee shop until they closed. There just isn't
much action here for things like coffee shops and art.
How do you promote your work?
I twitter and I have facebook as well as my own facebook fanpage.
I also have a blog, uniqueeuphoria. I have a sign on my van and business cards
that I pass out to anyone who seems interested. I think most
of my traffic comes from twitter though.
Have any words of wisdom?
My Mom always says, "You were born an original, don't die a copy."
In other words, think for yourself. Ask questions, enjoy what you
enjoy and don't conform to the mainstream just because it's easier.
Anyone can say it, but not everyone can actually do it. If I can post
a challenge to my fellow man, it's to break your own trail, sing your
own song and do your own thing and mean it, be ready to stand up
for it and fight for it.
What’s in your future?
Happily, I don't know. What do I wish for? To be able to do what
I love and live off of it. To prove to my babies that you can succeed
at life by doing what you really love. To show people that there is
more to the life of a tin can than keeping your peas shelf stable,
that new is not always better and that green is attainable. I wish
to be an impact to my beautiful and quiet country home and to be
enjoyed and accepted for who I am.