Reclaimed Silver Turned Into Breathtaking Jewelry | Artist Interview with Melissa Drake of Happy Go Licky
I recently had the honor of interviewing Melissa Drake, the…
1. When did you first get into crafts, and have you always been into recycled/upcycled crafts? I have been into crafting for as long as I remember. My mother used to be a kindergarten teacher so she always had something creative going on in our home. My father owns a business selling canoes that he makes, so when I was little I used to go down and ‘help’ him. To this day, my parents and I still do crafting together. I am getting married next month, and together we made most of my decorations. I think they got a good chuckle out of that! I have been into recycled crafts since I was in collage. I took a fashion design program, and once a year we had to do a co-op. In my first year, I wanted to be closer to my family, so I decided to move back home. Because I grew up in a very small town, there were not a lot of opportunities for work in that field. My mom was heavily into Ebay at that point. She had started rug-hooking with recycled wool and selling it online. In the midst of her researching her new found artwork, she came across some sellers that had made clothing from recycled fabrics like pillowcases! She told me about it, and at first I was like ‘ewww thats gross!’ but curiosity got to me, and I started looking into it a little more. I learned about how to treat the fabrics and clean them properly, and shortly after I fell in love with all the beautiful vintage fabrics that we very rarely see anymore. I decided to give it a try so I made some creations and started selling them on Ebay! Thankfully, it was a pretty big hit!
2. What is the story and inspiration behind your work? What do you do when you get a creative block, how do you get inspired again? Once I started selling on Ebay, I really got into recycling and being kinder to the environment. I didn’t realize how much of an impact that just I could have. After I graduated college, I got my first retail job. I needed the full time hours to pay the bills. I wasn’t very happy there, so I started saving up all of my spare money in hopes that I could leave the job, and start up my online business again. I needed to go bigger this time though, because I was living on my own. It was at this point my Mother had introduced me to Etsy. In the end I ended up quitting my job and starting up my Etsy store – so I guess I could say that my Mom has always been the inspiration behind my work! When I get a creative block, my Mom is always just a phone call away. Sometimes all it takes is some venting and some chit chat about my work for me to clear all the negative energy from my brain. Sometimes I pull out ALL of my fabric bits and put them side by side to see if I can come up with anything creative – I see if I can in vision something new and different with what I already have. Other times, all it takes is a ‘fabric shop’ out. I love going out and seeing all the different types of materials that I can recycle. That usually leaves me invigorated and ready to try something new.
3. When did you first get into crafting and art? Do you typically work with the same mediums? 99% of the time use recycled fabrics. Most of the time it is vintage pillowcases, vintage sheeting and pieces of lace and trim from various items. I am most inspired by the beautiful prints on these fabrics, and when I can find them, I love working with pieces that have hand work to them – like embroidery or crocheting. The amount of time and effort that someone put into doing those little details is just amazing. I love that I can make them new again! 4. What project are you most proud of ever making? When I was in college I got selected to do an art inspired show in Montreal. It was a competition amongst all the schools in Canada. I ended up making a really cool costume. It was a one piece spandex body suit that I had hand dyed in different shades of blue to represent our lakes. I then made a silk skirt and dyed it in the same manner to represent the movement of the water. I then made miniature canoe paddles and tied them to a hand made sued belt. The coolest part? The canoe bodice. I made a miniature half canoe that wrapped around the models torso. It was a very challenging project, and I am proud that I actually made that vision work (with the help of my canoe building dad of coarse!!)
5. What do you like to do for fun when your not making art? What is the one things people would be shocked to know about you? I love to exercise. I really enjoy challenging programs that push me to my limits.Working out helps me get rid of any negative thoughts or feelings, and when I am finished, any huge problem that I may have had seems so tiny and silly and worthless. It helps me clear my mind. 6. Who are some artists, bloggers or designers you look up to in the Eco Friendly community? I don’t follow anyone specific. Sometimes all it takes is a look around your own community. I get really inspired when I see strangers picking up someone elses garbage, or when I see simple acts of kindness from other people. I love seeing people garden, and taking care of their surroundings. I believe we are all artists in our own ways.
7. Why do you think the Eco-Friendly, Recycled, Upcycled Movment is so important? What is your one best tip for a small change anyone can make in their life to be kinder to the environment? I think the movement is so important because we as a society tend to take things for granted. We hear all the time about the negative impacts we have on the environment, yet I think with a lot of people, it doesn’t sink in or they think ‘I am just one person, one pop can in the garbage won’t make a difference’ If we can teach families about something simple like the importance of recycling, we can make a huge impact. My best small tip for everyone would be to look at how many things or packaging materials you throw away each day. Once you see how much you do throw away, think about what you could have kept, re-used or not have used at all! Instead of packing lunch in plastic wrap, try taking lunch containers! Instead of throwing that one pop can in the garbage, hold on to it until you see a recycling bin! Take your own coffee container to Starbucks or Tim Hortons! Use a britta instead of a water bottle! The options are endless and you can make a difference!
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