It's time for our March Maker of the Month! This month we are featuring Melissa Galbraith of M Creative J! Melissa is an embroidery artist who's work depicts desert scenes and plant life in intriguing color pallets and arrangements. She also makes patterns, kits, and teaches! I did a quick interview with Melissa while she was here setting up her items in the shop, keep reading to learn more about this incredible female maker.
How did you get started with Embroidery?
My mom taught me when I was in elementary school and I actually hated it haha. But about 5 years ago I picked it back up and I really loved it. It was a break from my day job at a computer and it was nice to do something tactile and play with color and texture.
Who has been your biggest mentor or role model?
That's hard. I would say that my mom has always been my role model. As a kid she always had us trying a lot of different crafts and that inspired me to try anything I wanted to. I've never been scared to give something new a try.
What has been the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome?
I think just figuring out how to run a small business. There's no manual on how to do this. So much is trial and error and just figuring things out. I talk with other small business owners and do my best to just figure things out.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I would say how M creative J Has evolved from it's inception to what it is now, when I first started I was doing very simple cactus designs and now I feel like I can express myself with thread and fabric in a different way and I get to share that through classes, kits, and my monthly embroidery club. Its been great to share a craft that I really cherish.
Tell us something on your bucket list
It would be to do this full time. Right now I am trying to balance M Creative J with a full time day job. While I love both of them, there's a push and pull of needing enough time to do things to make the business grow but also understand my limitations and what I can fit in in a day.
What advice do you have for other female makers?
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and give it a try. Talk with your community and reach out to others. The small business community has so many amazing and wonderful people that once you get to know are such assets. They're great people to know and to have in your tool box.
What is the most frustrating thing about being a small business owner?
Besides taxes, I think just getting myself out there and getting my name more known so people know who I am and what my brand stands for. Handmade is not a novelty it's a growing movement and community. While it's hard to compete with big box stores it's still inspiring to see people making things with their hands and to see so many people doing so many amazing things.
Favorite show or podcast to binge while you work?
I listen to a lot of murder mystery audio books from the library.
Where do you get inspiration?
Plants are huge, I love the desert, it just feels warm and at home. Sometimes it's just playing with color and fabric and putting things together. Sometimes you just have to play around and see what happens. Sometimes I can pick up a fabric and envision exactly what I want, other times I see a color and get inspired by that.
If you could have any super power what would it be?
Maybe unlimited time. Time doesn't end at the end of the day, you could stretch out the day to fit in more things if you wanted to. As a small business owner there's never enough time in the day to do all the things to help your business grow, you make the things but then you have to do the website and the taxes and the maintenance, it's a lot for one person to do.
If you could give your past self any advice, what would it be?
Value your craft. When I first started out I really under priced my work and it took me a long time to figure out to how to price accurately for the time and materials that went into each piece. Sometimes people will pick up a piece and say this is really expensive and then other people totally get it and see that's it's handmade. It doesn't matter what other people think of my price, it's more about me feeling good about it and feeling confident about my work.
When you face a creative block how do you work through it?
like most things I go through creative highs and lows, in a high period I sketch a lot in notebooks and put fabrics in hoops so when i'm in a lower period I can go back to that and get inspirited again and play around with those things to help spark the creativity.
You're on deserted island, you get three items, what are they?
We're definitely bringing all the embroidery supplies, that's just one thing. Then probably some kind of audio book or murder mystery podcast. And then my husband, actually he goes before the murder mysteries. He has been the yin to my yang, he's my biggest supporter and such a wonderful person to have around. He keeps me inspired and helps me when i'm not totally feeling it. He's such an amazing and positive person to have in my life.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about Melissa. To see her work check out her website or come see it in person at Wyldwood Creative during the month of March. If you're interested in learning from Melissa, register for her Stitch a Landscape pin on the 28th.