The former Etsy Team Columbus introduced me to quite a few artisans in Central Ohio several years ago. Among them was this cutie, Terri Clow, owner and creator at Beaniestalk and now Fuzz Butt. She has participated in several shows I have attended as well as the Falling for Local Show that I coordinated at Franklin Park Conservatory. We’ve always had lots of laughs and I just love her perkiness, her love of her pugs and the adorable things she makes. We started the interview through email and then I made a trek to her adorable little house to finish up and meet her doggies (Oh, that’s another reason I love this gal…she is a true dog nut, just like me!). And, did I mention that her family has adopted me as an honorary red-headed member!!! LOL!
Terri grew up in Mansfield where she was the only granddaughter on her mom’s side. She spent A LOT of time with that grandma who had a needle in Terri’s hand as soon as she could hold one..LOL! Fortunately for her (and for those of us who love her work!), grandma was willing to teach her just about any craft she wanted to learn resulting in them tackling every craft out there and constant creation!!! Who needs formal art training when you have that??
And, as if that wasn’t enough, her paternal grandmother taught her how to crochet. Although she didn’t pick that skill up again till later in life, she admits that it has definitely become an addiction. According to her, ‘I really tortured my family by making them some pretty bad hats and scarves when I was first relearning crochet! Hey guys you can throw all those ugly hats away now!’
Although she has a major in English from OSU and originally wanted to be a librarian, she didn’t pursue that field. Like so many of us, she opted for the English major rather than pursuing her artistic bent because it seemed like a ‘safer’ option for being able to support yourself after graduation. She wasn’t too thrilled with settling down to a 9-5 at that juncture in her life so, instead, for several years she worked in retail and as a bartender before she decided she better ‘grow up’, get a 9-5 and buy the cute little house she now owns. And, somehow, she ended up in IT…it just happened!!! First she worked at Alliance Data Systems and now she works at DSW. Over the years, she took classes and moved from the call center to her current job of business analyst where she helps business and programmers ‘talk’ to each other. She says that this type of job feeds her Virgo side and fulfills her need to be analytical, helping to balance the more creative side of her personality.
Of course, we also had to talk about another love of ours: DOGS! She adopted one pug and that led to getting involved in a local pug rescue and getting 2 more pugs!!! Like me, she ended up fostering a bunch of pups…14 to be exact for her! And we had to swap stories about how we got our babies, the silly things they do and how we couldn’t imagine life without them.
She says she doesn’t know if she ever consciously made the decision to “do art” or “be creative”…it was just something she grew up doing.Actually, she cannot remember a time when she wasn’t making something, a time when she didn’t have a stash of fabric, yarn, art and craft supplies. Sound familiar to anyone?? HEHE!
Fabric has always been the medium she prefers for her creative expression; for her it’s sanity saving and soul fulfilling. And, although she’s always telling people she can’t draw, if you give her a picture of something she can make it out of fabric!
Other artists and creatives inspire her in so many ways. Being around other creative people and bouncing ideas off each other, is something she really loves. The energy when a group of creatives are together, whether it be a meeting or a show, has always inspired her. ‘Columbus is so full of amazing creators, I am constantly inspired to work harder and keep perfecting my skills.’
Currently, she has two creative businesses with Beaniestalk being her initial foray into selling her wares in 2011. Technically, this business hair accessories made from upcycled leather work. Actually, that is how I first met her…at the Eco Chic Craftacular where artisans are required to have at least 50% of their work made from upcycling/recycling. Bought my first little hair bows from her there. As she states:
I knew from the beginning I wanted to be a sustainable crafter. I tested out a lot of different materials before settling on recycling leather and suede items. Being a conscious of blowing through resources, I really wanted to keep in mind how to do that without impacting the environment more. I also try to purchase my items from thrift stores and shops that give back to the community – to keep the circle going.
Her newest venture is called Fuzz Butt...don’t you love that name? Another thing I love about this lady is her sense of humor. While she loves doing Beaniestalk, 2 years ago she took a break over the winter and taught herself to finally read crochet patterns and almost immediately fell in love with Amigurumi patterns. I soon became addicted to making these adorable big headed critters. I was giving them as gifts and filling requests for people who saw the pics on Facebook, but I loved making them so much I was filling up the spare room with adorableness. My friend said to me: “You can’t die and old woman surrounded by all these critters, it’s weird.” SO Fuzz Butt was born! And now I am spreading cuteness around Columbus.
We spent some time talking about doing shows, starting a new business and her most recent coup…becoming a member of the Crafty Cotillion. Just recently, this great group of ladies had a ‘crush’ night (like a sorority rush) and invited Terri to join. She has known many of the members for several years and was so excited about what she feels is a true honor. She stated that the positive energy of meeting with these ladies once a month for drinks and shop talk was instrumental in her starting Fuzz Butt.
She truly believes that we all eventually learn tips and tricks while making our items and views herself as more of a low tech maker, literally using plastic containers as patterns! In addition, she hand cuts and hand sews all of her products. Just recently, her dad made her a punch to create her trademark little teeny beanie bobby pins. ‘It’s AMAZING to not cut every little petal by hand!’ The best “technique” she can share with other creatives is adaptability. ‘Always let your items involve, don’t get stuck in one way of making. Be open to change and new methods. (says the low tech maker! LOL)’
Terri also has a real presence in the Central Ohio art scene selling her Beaniestalk products at Wholly Craft, Pure Roots, Celebrate Local, Urban Emporium and Beans and Cream.
Recently (September 12th), she was excited to participate in the Cyclops Fest in Yellow Springs for the first time because she thinks the whole town has a fun energy. She also participated in the Columbus Flea on October 4th and can be found at the following as the holiday season cranks up!
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