This month’s artist feature is one that’ll have you running down to the donut shop to stock up on some yummy goodies. Mayene de Leon of Mayene Design crafts junk-food and breakfast food inspired pillows, plushies, and more. Take a look at her Etsy shop for great gift ideas! Father’s Day anyone?
Brown “B is for Bacon”
1. Your name: Mayene de Leon
2. Your shop name? MADE (Mayene Design)
3. What do you make? I make felt and fleece plush items, mainly
characterized donuts, and “ABC” cotton pillows with my original
designs. I create kawaii-style designs and have them printed on fabric
and create products out of my designs. I have also offered design
prints and stationery sets based on my designs, as well, but my main
items are the donuts and ABC pillows.
Cool as a Cucumber
4. Why do you do what you do? Is it your passion? Have you created your products for a long time? It’s fun and I enjoy taking time away from my computer to craft things by hand. After being in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day, sewing and creating cute items is very relaxing! Don’t get me wrong, I love my day job and I love designing, but I’ve also started to realize that donating to local, small, or national charities gives a natural high that is amazing, so I’ve started creating product lines so that proceeds from some of my shop sales get donated to certain charities on a monthly or periodic basis. I started making plush items at the very end of 2010, so I haven’t been doing this for long, and I just hopped on the donation boat during 2011.
5. What inspires you? Good design. Design is everywhere; I love
browsing typefaces, textile patterns, and color palettes most of all,
so I spend a good chunk of time on the internet looking through
FontShop.com, Spoonflower.com, and Design-Seeds.com for inspiration. I also love children’s design and educational resources, as well as Japanese (kawaii) style design. Sometimes, all it takes is having a good day for inspiration to flood in; if my day went well, I could very well be at my sewing machine at 9pm having a good time making things!
6. What are some of your favorite pieces in your shop? I like making my giant donuts over my keychain-sized donuts, just because they seem much more happier!
Giant Bacon Donut
7. How have you acquired your skills? Books/classes/college/self-taught? I studied design in college, but when it comes to fabric and sewing, these have been self-taught skills from watching my mom sew growing-up to looking for tutorials online. If I see something I really like and want to learn how to do it, I’ll find a book or tutorial and try it myself.
8. Do you make a living off of your art/craft? Not currently. I
still see this side of my life as a hobby and I’m starting to market
most of my products to support other non-profit organizations or
9. What is your favorite part of your crafting enterprise? Do you love selling at craft fairs? Or maybe you prefer online networking? I do love selling at craft fairs, though I’ve only done a few small local ones (haven’t made the leap to try a huge event yet); it gives me a chance to talk to other local artists, see their work (get lured to buy them!) and also meet other people (customers). It’s always a pleasure seeing someone smile over my work, and a combination of donut, poop, and bacon products always strikes up interesting conversations. I like online networking as well, since I do work in the design and tech industry, I like giving and receiving advice online. I type much faster than I talk, so sometimes I prefer my online presence, especially since I can reach out to people in other states and countries even!
10. What are some new techniques and/or skills you would like to acquire in the near future? I’m definitely working on improving my sewing skills. With Spoonflower.com at my fingertips on top of my design background, I want to be able to offer more products than plush donuts and pillows. I’ve started working on creating my own bag patterns with my own fabric designs, so I hope to be able to offer more “useful” items along with my “fun” items. The design industry is always growing and progressing, so I’m constantly learning!
11. Give us a shout out to your favorite artists with Etsy shops! We’d love to check them out for ourselves! I am in LOVE with Shay Aaron’s miniatures (shayaaron.etsy.com); he is pretty much the reason I joined Etsy (as a shopper, initially) so I could order some of his goodies. They are beautiful, well done, and really amazing! I also love food. I also love Isette (isette.etsy.com) for lightweight jewelry, especially her ampersand collection (for my geeky design needs). I am an earring fiend, so these are some of my favorite shops to browse for my earring needs.
12. Lastly, tell us anything extra you would like included in the blog post. It can be a coupon code for a discount in your shop, a funny anecdote, anything! This year, I made a resolution to pledge to 52×52.org (created by an awesome designer, Jessica Hische); so $10 from my shop/business proceeds get donated to a different charity every week that Jessica posts a new charity (for 52 weeks!). I’m currently on Week 16; I usually tweet after donating so you can find different charities if you follow me on Twitter (twitter.com/mayenedesign).
Have a lovely day!