Samara at home in Townsend MT.
Recently, we interviewed Samara Lynde maker of the Woolsters line of sweater monsters. She is the featured artist for April, and will be in our store for First Friday. You can find her line at Upcycled, at Frayed Sew in Helena, at Tart in Bozeman and online at etsy.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Samara and I am a wife/mom/librarian/crafter. I make monsters and other quirky things out of recycled wool and cashmere sweaters.
How did you get started?
I have been making my "Woolsters" since 2009. I started out by making bracelets from some wool scraps and then I sewed a patchy, weird creature for my daughter out of the leftovers. That led to my son wanting one and that led to my weekly covering of our dining room table with cut up sweaters.
What's your favorite aspect of your crafting business?
One of my favorite things about making these monsters is that they always surprise me. I don't really plan them out, they just happen. I try on different shapes of eyes and about a million different mouths until I find the one that was meant to be. They are all one of a kind and have one of a kind personalities.
Woolsters hanging out at Upcycled!
What's your biggest challenge?
I think the biggest challenge is making enough time for sewing. I basically live in a constant state of guilt that I don't get enough done. I'm pretty sure I need therapy.
Whenever I get sick of sewing, something always comes along to spur me on. Today it was a customer telling me how his little girl loves her Woolster. She puts it to bed everynight by emptying it's pocket (there is little wool bowling pin in it) and then puts it back in the morning.
What's the best piece of advice you've received as it pertains to your business?
The best advice I've received about my business is to never undervalue it or the time it takes to create it.
How do you define success?
Success to me is being able to make something that someone falls in love with. I love to hear stories of what my Woolsters are doing in their new homes.
Where do you see yourself moving forward?
So I'll probably be doing this as long as people keep finding joy in them. Or until summer, when it's just too nice to stay inside and sew. Please, be patient with me.
Spring cleaning time at Upcycled and that means it's time to have a sale.
Every day millions of tons of reusable material is disposed of. According to the EPA, Americans alone produce about 250 million tons of waste. The good news is that per person waste is on downward trend, decreasing from a high of 4.72 lbs per day in 2000 to 4.43 lbs in 2010, a value not seen since the 1980's. The bad news is the per person reduction in waste doesn't make up for population growth, so we currently produce more trash than ever.
Our trash cans don't need to be full. Over 30% of our waste is just the packaging wrapped around the objects we actually want to consume. Another 21% is non-durable goods designed to be used once or a few times and then thrown away.
There's a better way. In the coming weeks we will look at how we might reduce and reuse our way to an emptier waste basket. From most tossed to least we will examine paper, plastics, metal, textiles rubber and leather, wood and glass.
For now, some simple ways we can all make a difference. When eating out, eat what you order. If you must take leftovers, bring your own reusable containers. Buy out of the bulk bins at the grocery store. Bring your own coffee cup to the espresso stand. Purchase items meant to be reused, like cloth diapers, cloth napkins and cloth towels instead of paper.
Repair durable goods when you can. Consolidate your electronics. Together we can make a difference.
Random musings, interviews and other prose...