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Why I Made It, Part 3: Artisans tell the stories behind their creations

Members of the Natural Kids Team are inspired by their surroundings and interactions with the world. I enjoy learning what sparks their imaginations. I am pleased to present part 3 of “Why I Made It.” For previous posts, read  Part 1 and Part 2.

Andrea Gommans from ziezo Designs:

I make children’s aprons out of traditional Kenyan kikoy and East African kanga fabrics.  I created my first children’s kikoy apron as a gift for a little friend of my son’s as she was leaving Kenya with her family.   It was a practical gift with a lot of symbolism from the place where she was born.  My son liked it and wanted one for himself when he was baking, playing, or crafting.  Next, there were a couple I made as birthday gifts. Eventually people approached me to make some for them.  This let to the final push from an entrepreneurial friend, who insisted that I create a label and sell them. This is how my first ‘ziezo’ product with an East African flair originated.

Kikoy apron by ziezo Designs

Dustin and Amanda Cowell of Armadillo Dreams:

These tulips remind us of the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, Oregon. We don’t think you could ever see more color in one place! Every year they open their farm up to the public for “Tulip Fest“. This year the festival runs from March 30–April 30, 2012. Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm has 40 acres full of tulips of all different colors! Just the thought of it makes me smile as I write this. Their farm is very child friendly with lot of activities for kids. If you ever visit Oregon in the spring, be sure to check it out!

Spring Tulip Flowers by Armadillo Dreams
Jes Anthonis Stephanie Martz from mosey handmade:
I  first started making forest creature wool hats as a nod to my niece. When my niece was in kindergarten, she loved the book Where the Wild Things Are, so I decided to make her a hat with that in mind. I stitched up one with ears (much simpler than the ones I now make), and even though she liked it and wore it all around, she came back saying it needed something MORE girlie. I added the wool flower with a button center, and the mosey *creature hat* was born. I’ve been making them ever since!  My niece is about to start high school this fall, but she still gives me ideas and inspiration from time to time. She is always the first one to say, “I think it needs a little something more!”
Forest Creature Wool Hat by mosey
Wendy and Mojo from Birchleaf Designs:

BirchLeaf Designs loves festivals, art shows, and farmer’s markets! One important aspect that each of these “shows” has in common is that they all have children and adults that are looking for something to do while they are there. So, we decided to make Poi. Beautiful Poi, made from hand-dyed canvas bags with lovely hand-dyed rainbow silk tails! You may be asking yourself, “What is Poi?” I will give you a hint…you cannot eat them! This hint rules out the traditional food dish from Hawaii. Still don’t know?

Okay, we’ll tell you…It is said that Poi is a traditional form of upper body exercise that originates from the Maori People from New Zealand. Some say they used to take balls of dough suspended from “ropes” and would swing them for an upper body workout. Now, you will find the Maori People spinning fire! Actually, you will see lots of folks spinning Practice Poi and Fire Poi.

We call our poi, “practice poi” as they cannot be lit on fire. They can be used to learn the art of spinning before venturing into the fire spinning world. They are also a great alternative when spinning fire is not an option. One really cool thing about these poi is they can be used with all ages! For the spinner with a large learning curve, simply detach the climbing ropes from the bags and use them as comet balls to toss back and forth to a friend.

Rainbow Poi by Birchleaf Designs

Farida Dowler of Alkelda Dolls lives in Seattle, Washington, USA, with her husband and daughter. She just celebrated seven years of blogging at Saints and Spinners. She likes to hear about what inspires you. Please share your inspiration in the comments section!

One thought on “Why I Made It, Part 3: Artisans tell the stories behind their creations

  1. I love reading about the inspiration behind all these items! It’s great to get a bit of the back story!

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