As you can probably tell, we love sharing our vendors’ stories. With every struggle, every success, & every anecdote, we feel closer & more connected to both our makers and their small businesses. Anni of Magpie Mischief is no exception. Ever struggled with focus? Don’t worry, you’ll see we all do too.
Why did you turn to handmade craft and business?
I am a full time middle and high school art teacher, but I have always felt this need to create beyond my lessons for my students. I started making my animal magnets about a year ago, but I didn’t pursue them beyond one craft show because I was so busy with my career and son. This year, another artist mentioned that I should look into the 100 day project on Instagram. I was hooked and knew that I wanted to continue my line of animal magnets. In conjunction with the 100 day project, I began building up my Etsy shop again. This time I had found my niche and my product line was not as scattered.
What inspires your craft?
I really enjoy creating these adorable creatures that seem to have some sort of anxiety or worry to them. They tell a small part my story. The animals’ worry and anxiety mirror the anxiety and worry I felt as I transitioned into motherhood. My son was born two months early due to HELLP syndrome and weighed only 2.5 lbs. He is doing great now, but had a one month NICU stay after delivery.
As I continue to make these animals, I have found that they reflect small things that occur while parenting. Some of my animals actually reflect some of the various challenges premature babies go through, like the elephant wearing the helmet or the panda with the eye patch. Other animals (for example, my two foxes) show the humor in raising a toddler.
What are a few benefits and challenges of being a handmade artisan?
One of the hardest things for me, is really sticking to a project or technique long enough to become good at it. As an art teacher, I hop from technique to technique in order to teach them to my students and my interests change just as quickly. I have had to force myself to really focus on designing these animals consistently and then slowly add components to them that interest me—like adding hand lettered quotes or turning them into greeting cards and printables. I have found that sticking with one technique has really allowed me to grow as an artist and my animal designs have improved as I continue to focus on them. The benefits are simple. I get to do what I love and each time I finish a magnet I feel a sense of creative accomplishment for the day.