Third Anniversary Giveaway and Interview with Handmaiden Canada
I am thrilled to introduce the beautiful Becky DeCarle, of Handmaiden Canada. While raising her nine children, Becky creates gorgeous, colourful dresses, toys, and Waldorf dolls, and sells them in her Etsy Shop. You really must check out her shop to get an idea of the creative talents of this dynamic woman. I have the joy of hanging out with her from time to time, and she is one of those truly beautiful people, both inside and out. Her energy and vision shine in her face. Can you tell that Becky is someone that inspires me every time I see her? Read about her unique upbringing below, then enter for a chance to win one of her handmades!
I think the free flowing, brightly coloured, eclectic clothing my parents wore and dressed us in has definitely made a permanent imprint on my brain. I love colour. Lots of it.
I also love natural materials which may come from spending so much time enjoying nature as a child, but also from my mother's own love of them.
The doll obsession? Hmmm... well I did have dolls of my own when I was small, and I loved them and treated them like they were real babies. I had a "mama instinct" from a very young age. I used to watch my mother care for my younger siblings, and I would sit beside her with my baby imitate her. I would nurse my baby, change her, and carry her around on my hip just like she did. Dolls were my first introduction to motherhood, and will always hold a special place in my heart.
What did your parents do to foster artistic expression in your home, and to encourage your creativity and talent?
They let us play. Our backyard, with a creek running through it and a forest surrounding it, was ours to roam and explore for hours on end.
They let us make a mess. We were allowed to build forts in our living room and sleep in them. We worked side by side with mom and were taught how to follow a recipe and bake a loaf of bread of our own. The amount of flour on the floor at the end didn't matter. We were encouraged to delve into my mother's big wooden trunk of fabric scraps and sew whatever our little minds could dream up. It didn't have to be practical...it didn't have to work out...it was all part of the creative process. So was tidying the sewing room at the end of the day, when all our creativity was used up.
We saw them using their creative gifts. My dad was a luthier in my early years. I used to love traipsing into his workshop after breakfast and quietly watching him turn rough planks of wood into gently curved, sanded smooth, and ornately inlaid guitars. It was magical. I would then wander into the kitchen and watch mom rinse sprouts, knead bread and make granola. I watched her patch my overalls, sew up a quilt for our new baby, and knit tirelessly. I fell asleep most nights to my parents singing and playing guitar, their sweet harmonies bringing such comfort.
What were your favourite places to dream, read, create? And now?
My bedroom. Being the eldest of eight children, I got quite used to sharing. We had a busy house, always a lot going on and I am, by nature, very social, but at times I craved solitude. I remember hanging blankets over the sides of the bunk bed my sister and I shared, so that I could have a small nook to call my own. Here I would read, draw, and savour the quiet. I am very much the same now. I love my big boisterous family of nine children, one husband, an undefined number of cats, and a goldfish, but at times I need to just get away from it all. I have a little space of my own in our basement where I have all of my sewing and knitting things. There I love to look at the fabrics all stacked up on my shelves, and go through the yarns gathered in baskets, and just dream.
What advice would you give parents about giving their children room to create?
I would say give your children a place to create, and the supplies they need. Give them some guidance, but just enough to get them started on their own journey of discovery and artistic expression.
What advice would you give to people who are wanting to take the leap towards following their creative dreams (by selling locally or online, for example)?
Dream big, but start small. Trying to do too much all at once is overwhelming and you may become defeated before you really try. I started out by just making little things for my family and friends. Perfect place to test out new ideas. Then I made a few things to try and sell online. I mostly used supplies I had on hand already. That way it was no real risk if they didn't sell. Then when those items sold (yes, they did sell), I started to buy supplies for bigger projects. I still remember placing my first order for supplies to sew my first Waldorf doll. I was terrified, and yet so excited at the same time! The first one I made for my daughter, so there was no real risk there. She would love anything mommy made. I made a few more for family and friends, and then I took the plunge and started to try and sell them online. It took some time, but eventually my first one sold! And that gave me the confidence (and money) to order more supplies and make more dolls.
And now, for today's giveaway:
Becky is generously offering one lucky winner one of her Bunting Babies! Your baby will be one-of-a-kind, and will vary from the colours above.
To enter, simply leave a comment in the comments section below!
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Comments will close at 8 a.m. EST tomorrow. Comments now closed!
And the winner is Tricia!
"We gave our daughter one of Becky's dolls, a beautiful custom Waldorf doll that is so special! Lovely interview with a talented artist :)"
Please contact me by email so we can arrange the details!