Random Stuff by SAM and samsstuff ArtFire both are the inventive genious of Shelley McElhiney, from Tacoma, WA. Enjoy getting to know her!
How long have you been crafting?
I've been making things pretty much my entire life. My grandmother taught me a lot, along with a number of artistic & creative teachers. Some skills I've had to relearn over time, like crochet & embroidery. I learned a lot about photography in college & through amazing artists I've met through my Flickr account, samsstuff.
Do you have a favorite medium or medium of the moment?
No, I love exploring them all. I love the possibilities of 'painting' with light through photography, the amazing new ways that embroidery is being used, as an art form & medium to portray a message. I like the ways that crochet is being combined in new ways (plastic bags, as yarn...) with new materials to create new & useful items & I love the new ways beading & wirework are being combined with vintage or found items to give them new & unique lives. There is a lot of freshness & creativity in the art world & the handmade movement is a part of that.
Is there anything influencing your work right now?
Other times & places, travel, other cultures, vintage, retro & the green movement.
Are you know for a specialty?
Upcycling & reuse, vintage style with a modern twist.
One tool you can’t live without?
I can't name just one :) pliers, needles (sewing & embroidery) crochet hooks, camera, computer...
Something craft related that you spend too much money on.
Everything, beads maybe, I can't resist shiny things & yarn, I love all the different colors & textures.
Are you featured or published?
I have been writing articles for Handmade Spark & have been featured in a number of places. I mention these (lots of great treasuries & of course, on Craft Map, etc.) on Twitter & on my FaceBook shop fan pages, samsstuff (Etsy) & Sam's Stuff (ArtFire). I have two shops: one on Etsy with vintage & one of a kind jewelry, accessories & clothing, one on ArtFire with vintage, photography & one of a kind household type items (Etsy shop items are also listed here), both samsstuff.
Any tip or trick you’d like to share?
Make what you love. If you decide to make something that is a current trend, make it your own way.
You create a lot and sell a lot, do you have any pointers for someone who might be getting started?
Take advantage of all the great free & nearly free advice that's available. Blogs like Handmade Spark & Handmadeology, the forums on Etsy & Artfire, for photography The Digital Photography School has great tips & forums. Don't spend all your time promoting to other crafters, though expand to other markets that you think might be interested in what you do. Not only will you gain a whole new group of potential customers, they'll influence your creativity in whole new ways & you'll meet interesting new people!
Do you have any tutorials to share?
I have a tutorial on CraftStylish on fixing sleeves to make them more comfortable: http://www.craftstylish.com/item/49711/easy-fix-for-that-tight-uncomfortable-sleeve
If you have a creative block, is there anything that works to motivate you in a positive direction?
Is there anything craft related that you would like to try or learn?
I wish I could knit, there are so many great patterns out there! I've always wanted to learn how to write music & since I love music so much (I get lost in music departments, there are too many choices) I would love to learn to make musical instruments!
Your favorite magazine?
I have two, currently: ReadyMade & Juxtapos.
Sams Stuff can be found at:
Random Stuff by SAM http://samsstuff-samsstuff.blogspot.com