Saturday, February 13, 2010

An Interview with Laura Collins of Pansy Maiden

By Laura of Pansy Maiden, a girl who really loves Say Anything.

I. A Brief Introduction

Diane Court: Nobody knew me before tonight.

Lloyd Dobler: They knew of you. Now they know you.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Laura Collins and I design and construct cruelty-free, earth friendly bags out of my home studio in Medford, MA. I live with my husband and our 3 1/2 year-old golden girl, Clementine. We’re literally two blocks away from Somerville, which can make food delivery very frustrating. I have been a vegetarian for 9 years and ever since October, I have been making the transition to becoming a vegan. Oh, and Pansy Maiden was my grandma's name.

What is your "artistic" background?

I grew up in Indiana and attended Indiana University as a TV Production/Film Studies major. I’ve been involved with the creative arts as far back as I can remember. I've participated in everything from scrapbooking, acting, photography,creative writing, screen writing and video production. Now I’m on to sewing. It seems to be sticking. I really think sewing and designing my own patterns is the creative outlet I’ve been searching for all these years. There’s so much gratification that comes with seeing a design in my head, figuring out how to break it apart, and then putting it all back together again so that I have a tangible item. My vision come to life!

II. Career

Lloyd Dobler: I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.

Before Pansy Maiden, what sort of jobs did you work?

As far as work-work goes, I’ve run the gamut there as well. I have been a Sandwich Artist, a Production Assistant, an intern on the Warner Brother's lot, an Assistant Director of a residential summer camp for girls, and most recently, an Executive Assistant at a science publishing company in Cambridge. This past Spring, however, Pansy Maiden began to grow in a way that allowed me to leave my full-time job which I had held for three whole years (longest job ever). I still work in an office two days a week as an Editorial Assistant for a doctor who edits medical text books. I know next to nothing about science or grammar. Go figure.

What first made you want to become an artist?

There was never any sort of “Ah-ha” moment. As a child, I never dreamed of being a lawyer, teacher, police lady or anything like that. I always dreamed of being an actor or singer and in later years, a documentarian. I had the dreams but not necessarily the ambition. After working 2 years in an office performing tasks that lacked both a creative stimulus and a feeling of satisfaction, my creative drive just about ran me over. Once I turned 30, I decided it was high time to dedicate myself to some self-discovery and exploration. Around the same time my mom gifted me a sewing machine. I then discovered Etsy, thought back to two bags I had hand sewed back in college and Pansy Maiden was born. I'm not sure I really think of myself as an "artist" though. I guess I think of myself as a Designer/Maker. But it all just syntax... Anyway, Etsy was huge for me. Etsy made me understand the marriage between "creative" and "business." So, I guess my story is not your typical, “I-am-terrific-at-this-art-how-can-I-make-a-living-doing-it?” stories. I sort of arrived at it walking backwards. Two years later though, it’s all about moving forward.

Why cruelty-free, earth friendly?

Pansy Maiden is me and I am Pansy Maiden so I want my bags to be a reflection of my own personal values. Social responsibility is huge with me. I believe that all things connect—the way we treat animals, the way we treat our Earth, the way we treat each other—it all connects. And if we are considerate and make efforts to treat animals, the Earth, and each other with the upmost respect, our world will be healthier and an all-around better place to live. This is why I do not use animal-derived fabrics (leather, wool, silk) or products tested on animals (dyes, fabric detergent) and why I try to use organic or reclaimed materials whenever I can.

III. Freetime

DIANE: I just can't have any social life right now.

LLOYD: Dont worry about it. We're just having coffee. We'll be anti-social.

What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?

Laying in and then sitting on the couch with my husband watching a movie. We are homebodies.

Name five recent_____ you have enjoyed (I can't do Top 5 lists. I'm noncommittal like that):

Movies: Avatar (of course), Food, Inc (A must see), Annie Hall (All-time fav), Say Anything (High School Laura will always have a soft spot for this flick), and I also really liked Moon. Fun fact: Moon was directed by David Bowie's son.

TV: LOST!, True Blood, America's Next Top Model (can't help it), American Idol, Mad Men

Musicians in Concert: M.Ward, My Morning Jacket, Of Montreal, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (Ok, I haven't seem them yet but I *really* want to.)

Web sites (besides Etsy): Modcloth (Shopping), Modish (Fav Blog), The Kind Life (Vegan Community), VRBO (for dreaming), Kiva (for do-gooding).

IV. The Future

Diane Court: Nobody thinks it will work, do they?

Lloyd Dobler: No. You just described every great success story.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years with your art?

I would like to be at a point where I can hire a couple of people to help me out on a full-time basis (I plan to keep Pansy Maiden a handmade operation, always and forever). And I’d like to have my studio on our property, but not in, our home. Perhaps build a workshop in our backyard, you know, after my husband and I actually own our own home. Or in a (heated) basement? I am also working towards one day opening my own retail space. Just a small shop in a cute neighborhood. Not too much to ask for, right?

Is there anything about you that would surprise people to know?

I married my very own Lloyd Dobler.

Thanks so much for reading and I’m so excited to be a member of this creative, active, welcoming group!

1 comment :

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...