Monday, November 23, 2009
Featured Artist - Melissa Morrone-Sinisgalli of Made by Melissa
This week’s featured artist is EtsyNJ’s own Melissa Morrone-Sinisgalli of Made by Melissa, www.madebymelissa.etsy.com. You’ll find a little bit of everything in Melissa’s shop, so if you’re on the lookout for baby toys, crochet items, or jewelry, then you’ve come to the right place! (I’ve picked out a few of Melissa’s cutest crochet toys and most intriguing jewelry pieces here for your perusal.) So, drop in for your holiday shopping.
P. S. Melissa is also the organizer extraordinaire of the EtsyNJ Thanksgiving Sale, which takes place Nov 25-30. Be sure to visit the EtsyNJ blog for a list of participating shops and other details: http://etsynj.blogspot.com
1. The Tote Trove (TTT): Your Etsy shop, Made by Melissa, features a variety of products, including toys, fiber arts pieces, and jewelry. How did you become interested in working within so many different craft genres? Do you prefer one type of project over another?
Melissa Morrone-Sinisgalli (MMS): I like making both jewelry and crocheting. I started making jewelry slowly, first using broken bits of costume jewelry from my great aunt. I learned to crochet from a family friend many years ago. Sometimes I have more fun with one more than the other; some days I can sit down and make a dozen jewelry items but can’t think of a thing to do with my yarn. Lately, it’s been the other way around. I’m loving working with my yarn, and the beads and jewelry making just aren’t coming to me.
2. TTT: Where do you find inspiration for your projects?
MMS: I usually get ideas for things when there’s nothing I can do about it – like when I’m at work or sitting in traffic. But basically I look at trends and what people are wearing and then look at my supplies and see what I can do with them.
3. TTT: How did you learn to crochet and make jewelry? Did you have a mentor or are you self-taught?
MMS: I picked up jewelry making on my own, just from playing with beads and string when I was small. Then I slowly discovered other materials and got to where I am today. A family friend taught me basic crochet skills when I was about 13, and then another friend taught me some more when I was a little older. The more complicated things I taught myself once I realized there was so much more that I could be making other than striped blankets.
4. TTT: How did you decide to turn your passion for making things into a business?
MMS: Well, I ran out of people to give my crafts to! Everyone I knew already had a crochet blanket from me and apparently a girl can have too much jewelry… A friend of was surfing around looking for gifts for her nephew when she found Etsy. I’d made some jewelry for her and her sister as gifts for the holidays, and she pushed me to try selling my things. And here I am three years later!
5. TTT: What is your favorite item in your shop?
MMS: I love my Halloween Star Baby Blanket: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=32046675 I also love these pink crystal dangle earrings. I made them using vintage crystal beads and modern silver findings: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=16925235
6. TTT: What items, if any, would you like to add to your shop?
MMS: I recently added some cute plushies to my shop. They’re so much fun to make and are baby safe because they have no buttons or rough edges.
7. TTT: Describe your creative process. Do you follow a routine, create when inspiration strikes, or a little bit of both?
MMS: Crafting is the only part of my life that is not confined to a routine. I do what I can when I have time and try to crochet at least a few rows every day. I pretty much just follow my whims and do what pops into my head.
8. TTT: What is the best thing about running your own business? The worst?
MMS: No deadlines! That’s both the best and the worst thing. I can work at my leisure and make whatever I choose with no one standing over me and pushing me to do something by a certain time. But without real deadlines, I can let things slide until I feel like dealing with them.
9. TTT: Do you sell your work in venues outside of Etsy (i.e, other sites, craft shows, etc)? If yes, then how does selling online differ from selling in person?
MMS: I do craft shows, mostly during this time of year. Selling in person is very different from selling online. Some people are very nice and compliment your work, whereas others try to haggle or tell you that they can make it better. It’s great to hear compliments, and it hurts a lot when people talk you down. But watching people who really like what you make far outweighs the negative people.
10. TTT: Who is most (emotionally) supportive of your business?
MMS: My hubby, hands down! He lets me buy whatever supplies I need or want and always gives me time to work on things. It’s really hard to make jewelry now that my son is fully mobile. So he does his best to take the little guy out for the day when I feel the need to spend some quality time with my beads. My son is a close second; he loves watching me crochet and tends to claim every item that I make “Mine, mine, mine,” the famous words of a two year old! He has a plush snake that I made him, and I overheard him conversing with it, “Hi snake, you mine. Mommy make you.” Awwww……
11. TTT: Are there any new artistic/creative skills you’d like to learn?
MMS: I’ve thought about picking up wire crochet – combining crocheting and jewelry making -- but other than that, I try to limit my hobbies as I am running out of places to store my supplies!
12. TTT: Tell us about life outside of Made by Melissa. Do you have a job in addition to your business? Hobbies? Family? Pets?
MMS: I unfortunately do have a day job. I’m an environmental engineer for a consulting company. My son is 2, and my puppy is 3. With those three things, it can be hard to squeeze in creative time.
13. TTT: What are your hopes for Made by Melissa in the future?
MMS: I just hope to grow and make more sales on a consistent basis.
14. TTT: BONUS QUESTION. Just for fun, if you were stranded on a deserted island and had to eat the same thing every day, what would it be? You can pick a drink and a dessert, too. (I find that dreaming up a whole meal makes this game more entertaining!)
MMS: Ooh, tough one. The drink is easy – Diet Cherry Pepsi!! But the same food every day, that’s hard; I’m going to have to go with mozzarella sticks and chocolate cupcakes for dessert.
Thanks for stopping by and meeting Melissa! For more one-of-a-kind makes, visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogspot: