This week we'd like to introduce you to Mary Beth Stevens of EllieMac Designs! Mary Beth comes to us from Lynchburg, Virginia.
What's the first thing you remember making?
As a child I remember trying to teach myself to draw from a Richard Scarry children's book. The first finished product I made was in college (1990). I repurposed an old chair my grandmother gave me. I loved finding old furniture and giving it a new life. I re-painted it and did some hand painted flower work. My family & I just moved to a new house this past fall and I found that chair... I'm glad my skills have improved!
Why work with recycled materials?
I came up with an idea for a recycling project for my son and his kindergarten class in 2006. It was a 2 week project where the 3 classes brought in their recyclables (plastic & cans) to school. Whichever class collected the most won a party. As the days passed I collected the recyclables and stored them at my house to determine which class had the most. It was amazing how many bottles & cans the kids brought in. After the contest my children and I sorted everything in our back yard. There were mounds, piles & heaps. I wanted to created something for my sons teacher to remember the project... that's how my recycled art began. I did have a picture with my son in the heaps, but I can't find it.
Where do you work?
I work in my home & in my yard. My children own me and I revolve around them most of the time. So... I get to work on my projects when they are occupied.
How do you get from A to Z?
I'm quite organized. My friends actually chuckle because of my OCD in organization. They know who to ask when they move and need to pack up or just tidy up & rearrange things. I tried to start up an organizational business but had to stop because of my physical limitations; I've had 3 back surgeries.
What are your favorite tools?
I don't think I have a favorite, but I can say my Boston Terrier has a massive phobia to one of my tools. It's the tool I use to center punch my flower layers. It's not a regular hole puncher so it makes a loud noise. He freezes in fear because of the sound and will not move until I leave my work table, it sometimes is hours.
Do you listen to music while you're working?
Sometimes I have the local radio station on, sometimes the TV, but most of the time the sound of both is drowned out by my Red Poicephalus Parrot named Cookie, so I just talk to her.
Read any good books lately?
Beautiful Creatures & Beautiful Darkness - The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. If you like imagery and fantasy these are awesome. I hope there's a third book.
Been to any good exhibits?
Last summer my children & I went to Philadelphia, PA and saw an exhibit on Cleopatra (National Geographic). It was amazing to actually be in the same room with relics that belonged to Cleopatra herself. Wonderful & interesting history!
What five fab things you're purchased on Etsy?
Taper candles from Forest Candle Studio
Roman Coin Ring from Marajoyce
Tuffet from Fiber and Fire
Crown Charm from Cathy Dailey
Lampshades from A Shady Past
Where do you sell your wy work?
I'm on Etsy and there is a shop in Ocracoke, NC that carries my stemmed flowers.
How do you promote your work?
I'm trying to start a blog, but have no idea what I'm doing as far as setting up my page. I go into the forums on Etsy and belong to 4 Etsy teams: UpCyclers, Flowers & Romance, Hill City Street Team & the Trashion Team. I post on Facebook and Twitter also.
What do you see in your future?
I hope that my work continues to get noticed and people find my work to be beautiful and EllieMac Designs grows. I would like to finally be able to say to myself I am a true artist.
Have any words of wisdom?
I've gone thru out my life trying to find my true passion, what I was meant I do/career, believing my art was not adequate. I have my BS from college, I have my certification as a CNA and a Medication Technician and I also took classes to become a teacher years ago. But... I've always, always come back full circle to my art and began creating again. My wisdom... have confidence in yourself and listen to your heart.
Images & Text © EllieMac Designs
Images & Text © EllieMac Designs