Earth Day falls this week and my Missouri featured artist knows there is no "monkeying" around when it comes to creating Earth friendly products. Not only does she talk the talk, but she walks the walk when it comes to eco-friendly baby products. I met Jolene through my local team and enjoy many of the same local art/craft events. I had the opportunity to get to know Jolene of locoMOmomma a little better this week and hope you enjoy our conversation.
How long have you lived in Missouri?
We moved here from St Paul 8 years ago. We had just started a family and wanted to raise our kids in a smaller community. Columbia was ideal since it has the arts and entertainment of a big city yet the quaintness of a small town (plus, you can drive across town in 30 minutes or less!) My brother also lives here, and we always enjoyed visiting. Almost instantly after we decided we wanted to live in Columbia, my husband found a job, we found a house and church to call home....it was as if we were meant to be here.
What is something you love about living in Mid-MO?
I really enjoy the sense of community here. People here honestly care about their neighbors and help each other out.
How did you get started in your craft/art?
What things around you inspire you to create?I taught myself how to crochet over 30 years ago to fend off boredom (I grew up with two older brothers on a dairy farm in Iowa.) My grandma and mom also taught me embroidery, latch hook, and macrame.
What is your favorite craft tool to use?
For "coolness factor" I like my crochet hook that lights up. It's great in low light situations and takes the stress off of my eyes.
What things around you inspire you to create?
Yarn or crafting websites like Ravelry can suck me in for hours. Other Etsy artists inspire me to no end. I have always loved amigurumi and Amy Gaines -- her patterns are so sweet. Another shop I recently discovered was Prim and Plush, which is a perfect mix of science geekery and amigurumi -- I was a Microbiologist in my former life. Of course for my designs, I like to put an earth-friendly, baby-safe spin on everyday toys.
Earth Day falls this week. How do your products and lifestyle reflect the ideals Earth Day stands for? How does Etsy allow you to promote these idea?
I only use 100% organic cotton to crochet my baby toys. Some of the yarn is color-grown, so no dyes are used; and the yarn I use for my teething rings is grown, spun and dyed according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (the highest in the textile industry). My plush items are stuffed with natural kapok fiber (from the kapok tree, which grows naturally in the rain forest). Kapok is: moisture-resistant, quick-drying, resilient, buoyant, lightweight, completely hypo-allergenic, dust mite and mold resistant and odorless. Also, chemicals are not needed for this crop to grow. Nor is the ground tilled, which keeps the rainforest alive and healthy, and provides sustainable jobs in the rainforest. I use clean recycled packaging materials when I send my Etsy orders and I encourage my customers to "close the loop" by reusing/recycling the package. I belong to the Etsy Earth Team, which is committed to sustainability, aware of current eco-issues, taking responsibility for making the best, well-balanced choices with the safety and quality of their products in mind.
Why did you choose Etsy to sell your products?
I chose Etsy because it had a large following, even back in 2007. Also, you can list an item for pennies!
What is one thing you can tell other artists to help them keep moving forward with their aspirations?
I think surrounding yourself with creative people and carving time out of your schedule to create motivates most artists.
Ok, I have to ask this one: Cardinals or Royals? ;) sorry--Twins or Cubs.
You can find locoMOmomma products on Etsy and on Facebook!