Name: Samantha Wagner from Sam Made
Website: Sam Made, blog
What do you make?
I make bags mostly. Recently I started making jewelry by painting on porcelain pendants. I am really enjoying this new medium. I also make chocolate mustaches, and a mean spinach smoothie.
What or who inspires you?
Anyone making and creating. Vintage pieces, people’s nostalgia to said pieces and the feeling of nostalgia of newer generations for times they unfortunately were born too late for. Scandinavian design, particularly their textiles!
How did you get started?
I’ve always made things, as most creative people have, I believe. Before I knew how to sew (as a kid) I would glue fabric together. I was always keen on making money being creative too. From a kool-aid stand with homemade cookies on the corner of my cul-de-sac to making friendship bracelets and selling them at our yard sales, the entrepreneurial bug bit me early. I started making and selling bags the Christmas after I quit fashion design school. I made bags for my sisters as gifts and the following March discovered etsy.com via craftster.org. I went out immediately and got my first credit card so I could sign up.
When I moved back to the city (from the Okanagan where I was raised) I started doing craft fairs and selling in stores such as Favourite in North Van and Shop Cocoon on Cambie street.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
Fabric with bold prints. Heavy cottons, broadcloth, wool and denim. Ceramic paint and porcelain. Hardware (metal snaps)!
What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
I suppose for me, it’s the pressure to sell what I create that stifles me most creatively. I find my most satisfying moments are derived from making a gift for someone, or even a custom order. It’s thinking about a person individually and figuring out how to combine my style and their preferences that I enjoy. I think the “pressure to sell” aspect of creating (or crafting) is two-fold for me. Just as there is a pressure to create something someone will like enough to swap their hard-earned cash for, having someone like something I make enough to do so is my favourite moment of creating.
I’d also like to acknowledge the issue of hoarding supplies. Considering my studio is the dining room of a small one-bedroom apartment, needing to keep everything I could potentially use is a tad overwhelming sometimes.
List 5 of your favourite links and why you like them
Lovely Package and The Die Line: both sites dedicated to product and package design. Very inspirational and so many beautifully designed products.
A Cup of Jo Blog: I love her personality and all the things she posts about. And her Wednesday giveaways are always exciting.
Color Me Katie Blog: An amazing photograper who is able to capture (and orchestrate) so many magical and beautiful images.
The Think Bakery Blog: Great articles about aspects of running an independent and creative business and/or blog.
Jordan Ferney blog: Another great blog that features incredible products, fashion and style. Jordan also makes some fabulously creative invitations.
Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Just do it. I mean, yes, it is of course important to have a plan (for advice on this I recommend books such as The Boss of You and Craft Inc.). But I have found I have spent countless hours thinking about what I want to do and looking at what other people are doing and admiring their successes rather than working on my own.
Art vs. Craft – Are these terms different? Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
Although I have always been artistic, I never considered myself an artist. I wouldn’t consider myself a crafter either. I consider myself more of a designer. Because I create bags both the function and the aesthetic are equally weighted when I am in the design process. I think this attention to function is where I find the distinction between design, craft and art. But who am I to say? You are what you want to be and I think the distinctions between design, art and craft are becoming more and more fuzzy everyday.
(photo images courtesy of Samantha Wagner and / or Sam Made)
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