Featured WedEclectic Shop — ArtisanMaskers!
We will be featuring the winner of each month’s Team Treasury Challenge…here is our first interview, held with Amanda from ArtisanMaskers!
Working together as a group of cousins, sisters, and friends, they create simply fabulous masks!
How did you start your shop?
The Artisan Maskers started making masks because we wanted to throw a masquerade ball and couldn’t find any masks ANYWHERE that didn’t cost a fortune! (This was almost ten years ago–there are LOTS more options now, thank heavens!) We didn’t really think of selling them until a few years had passed and we made some to auction for a charity event. They went like wild-fire and we thought, “Hey. Maybe people would actually buy these!” It wasn’t until 2008 that we opened a shop on Etsy and really started creating and selling masks as a business.
Tell us about some of your favourite items in the shop.
Our favorite items tend to be the ones that were long in the execution and quick to sell, because they weren’t sitting around long enough for us to get tired of them! Any that are totally unique are also favorites because they took more creativity and artistry. Here are links to some favorites that have come and gone…
Who or what would you say has had the most influence over your craft?
I don’t know that you could say it’s had the “most” influence over my craft, but one thing that has definitely inspired me to branch out is the “green” movement. I hate being wasteful, so when even tiny scraps were being trimmed off of other masks, I would hoard them until I found something to use them on. Which led me to the unique “scrap masks.” (i.e. OOAK_Mask and OOAK Fox Mask) As far as I know, they aren’t like anything else being done on masks right now. (After all, who else would bother saving all those broken, tiny things!?) Another HUGE influence on our craft is simply the fact that we set out to create something beautiful and unique for LESS. We don’t use traditional clay molds to create our mask bases, which saves us time and money in the mask-creating process. That makes it possible for us to create something that is unique without charging a fortune for it!
What inspires you?
Each of the Maskers is inspired by something different, but I (Amanda) am personally very inspired by literature. You can often see what book I’ve been reading by the names of my masks… We are also all inspired by music (another one you can see reflected in the masks’ names at times) and by the many and varied materials we use. Sometimes a mask comes about because we just found the perfect combination of things to put on it!
What is your favorite wedding trend (now or past)?
I have to say that I think the best trend in weddings is that just about “anything goes”. I’m pretty conservative and traditional, BUT also a very casual person! And it was nice that our low-key reception wasn’t frowned upon by those attending because wedding receptions have become anything and everything the bridal party want them to be. If something doesn’t reflect the people who are getting married, then it shouldn’t play into the day celebrating their union.
What is your unicorn – that is, what is an object or skill that has eluded you so far?
“Appendages” are always difficult (think: horns, long/crazy noses, antlers, animal ears, etc.). We have yet to find one perfect way of doing them all…
Since most of the Maskers are busy with other aspects of their lives (kids, jobs, school, etc.) and mostly design masks as a creative outlet and expression, I actually don’t see our business growing much more than it already has. We like to keep things small and personal! It is wonderful to be able to run the shop at my own pace and not get sucked into over-commercialization. We LOVE getting to know individual clients and creating something unique for them! That is, after all, what got us going in the first place–the desire to do something unique and individual. So, luckily, I don’t see that changing anytime soon!