I'm passionate about finding and sharing ideas that feed creativity and inspiration in this weary world. Because we're so surrounded with illusion and lies, I hope this blog will help others in their quest to get a bit closer to the truth. I'd also like to say that opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily mine or those featured here. Oh, and if you choose to use any images/words from this site, kindly obtain permission from all relevant parties and add the necessary links and references.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Interview: Project Grab Bag

Project Grab Bag is an absolutely delicious company owned by Shannon Jefferson. Her beautiful handmade dolls were the first thing that caught my eye. So few people make these softies anymore and I remember distinctly wishing as a little girl (as I got poked nightly in the face and ribs) how wonderful it would be if my favorite doll had fewer plastic parts. If you have the imagination, Shannon will gladly do custom work. In her spare time, Shannon also teaches jewelry classes at the Peoria Art Guild so if you're in the area, you might want to check it out. (graphic courtesy of Project Grab Bag)

What inspires you to make dolls/work with fabric?
I've always loved vintage items in general, and have collected vintage fabrics, linens, and clothing for a long time. I was naturally drawn to making dolls because they have so many creative elements - designing the pattern, wild color combinations, hand stitched elements, and each is a unique piece when finished. A couple of my doll designs have come from customer requests, which is so inspiring and challenging at the same time. I really love it when a someone commissions me for a special project that requires new designs and techniques.

Do you have a day job in addition to Project Grab Bag, and if so what gives you the energy to do both?
Yes, and this is the most challenging part of trying to grow the business. I work a day job when necessary and seek jobs that don't distract me from Project Grab Bag. Several months of the year can be stressful when sales are low. I work through a temp agency doing VERY random jobs that will not lead to a fulltime career, as I have hopes to be fulltime with Project Grab Bag and put all of my efforts into growing it more each year. I also instruct jewelry class at my local art guild when I have the time. Having the energy doesn't seem like a choice. I have a great support team and get alot of encouragement to keep pushing forward, which helps so much.

What are your fears/apprehensions, and how do you work past them?
I try to keep positive and realize if you don't try you'll never know. So, I keep my worries and fears to a minimum. I didn't always feel this way, but found it necessary to accept that this is a tough business and the road will be bumpy at times.

Where does your dream for Project Grab Bag eventually take you?
Having a brick and mortor shop is a big dream of mine. I love that you can connect and have sucess online, but ultimately I want to own a shop with unique handcrafted items from all over the world. I would carry items made from artists and crafters that work with mainly recycled and upcycled materials. I'm currently working on a project of having clothing manufactured in a fair trade way. I was asked to work with the woman that distributes Project Grab Bag items in Australia on designing clothing that she has produced in Bali. Together we designed a screen printed shirt that will have beautiful handstitched elements added by some talented women in Bali. I also created unique appliques for each shirt that were shipped to them to be applied. I'm excited to market them here in the US and feel great about the process!!

What brings you comfort and joy?
I'm very close to my mother and boyfriend who bring me comfort and joy. The chance of Senator Obama being our next president brings me a hopeful feeling for our future too! Great food and great, bold wine is very comforting. And, with summer coming up I really enjoy doing a few art shows around the midwest.

4 musings:

This is a great interview! Shannon and her dolls are my absolute favorites!!

I agree, Shannon is not only a super sweet person... but she is VERY talented. :) My daughter owns one of her dolls, and it is soooo sweet!

You consistently do great work.

A quick note on "fake news"; some of Jon Stewart's interviews bring out good information better than the major networks and "straight" news programs on cable combined.

I'm Stumbling a bit today; stopped by to give you a big thumbs up.


We just received our second doll from Shannon today and we love her. I asked for a doll made of vintage chenille and we got her!! The doll is so beautiful and soft. Thanks Shannon!!Love the interview!We wish you all the best.

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