Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jami Krause, Twister Extraordinaire

Some makers don't fit neatly into the worlds of craft, or art or design, yet they are Independent Makers, nonetheless, because they work alone, are passionate about the things they make, and about generating an income from their effort. Jami Krause is one of those 'other' types of maker.

I find her model of making very interesting, because she makes clever, visually appealing objects that please crowds of people - and then gives them away. She charges for her time, and in one session, may make only one complex object, or dozens of simpler ones.

Jami is a Balloon Twister. You might be surprised to learn that there's a boatload of folks nationwide who make all the money they need, working as balloon twisters. Some people have even found success in developing and manufacturing the tools and accessories that twisters use in their work.

This Summer, Jami is taking the big leap. She will quit her office job, sell the contents of her apartment, pack up her bike, and travel the country, twisting balloons and blogging about her adventures. If things work out, she will land in a new home, where she will make her living making balloons, and a lot of smiles.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sara McIntosh of Sara's Shoes and Krispy Fringe

This week has been a pretty cold one, even for Chicago, but I braved the bluster and hustled over to a new shop on Damen Avenue in Chicago, to interview Sara McIntosh, veteran maker of custom footwear.
Sara made time to meet me on her day off, and we stepped into Krispy Fringe, the hybrid boutique and workshop that she and her business partner, Kristy Kladzyk, just recently opened together. The space is a feast for the eyes, feeling more like a place for vintage collectibles, than for custom-made shoes and clothes. After oogling the shoes and clothing, discretely nestled amid random objects - from dismantled violins to a Bionic Woman action figure - we sat down at the workbench in the cobbler shop that Sara has set up in the rear half of the space.