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color me Pollyannacowgirl

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.

I’m Polly! I launched Pollyannacowgirl in the spring of 2005, and now sell my work online and in shops throughout California and nationally. I make all my jewelry and fabric creations in my wee bedroom studio in Oakland, where neighborhood cats stop by to visit if I leave the door open long enough. My background is in writing and theater, but these days, the handmade world has my full attention.  I’m happiest when I can end each day knowing I’ve made a piece of art, whether it’s a poem, a performance, or a pincushion.

How did you first get involved with crafting?

I come from crafty people, including my namesake, my Southern grandmother Polly, who crocheted sweaters, embroidered pillows, and one year, sewed entire cowboy outfits for my mother and her siblings. My mother is always working on a crafty activity of her own, and has helped me through many a frustrating project. There would be no Pollyannacowgirl without her patience and support! My brother is an artist too, so it makes sense that I’ve always had crafts on the brain. I’m also very fidgety, with a short attention span to boot; crafting helps me keep my hands busy.

What are your favorite materials to work with?

Fabric! Vintage, Japanese, cotton, canvas, corduroy; I’m a fabric fiend and I simply can’t get enough. All of my storage solutions are bursting at the seams. For my jewelry, I like to use brass stampings, old buttons, Czech glass, plastic charms, and bits and pieces of old jewelry that I find on my travels. I’m always on the lookout for uncommon items that I think might make a funny piece of jewelry; for example, I couldn’t resist buying a handful of golden taco charms when I found them. Someone needs a taco necklace, I just know they do!

Do you have a favorite color palette?

I worked in a toy store during my early 20’s, and I can’t shake the bright color palette I was surrounded by every day for years; tin robots, stickers, walls of games and candy!  Every combination I create seems to unconsciously mimic the multi-colored world of toys; my favorite color has to be “all colors.” I also once knew a guy who claimed to never leave the house with fewer than five colors; Pollyannacowgirl products definitely subscribe to that policy.

What are your inspirations in your art and in life?

My family, the color and texture of Bakelite bangles, California springtime, great comediennes, Bollywood movies, tropical fish, vintage aprons with rickrack on the pockets, awesome interiors like the art deco ballrooms in Fred Astaire movies to the inside of a Pinkberry. Little glimmers of unexpected beauty or kindness in the big city help me believe that every bit of color and sparkle is important to somebody, somewhere!

What is your favorite song or album to listen to while working?

I’ll admit it; I love to “listen” to television. Law & Order is great; it feels like an old time radio show while you’re crafting; you don’t have to see the action to know what’s going on. I listen to a lot of movies too, some of my favorite movies for crafting are Auntie Mame (the rhinestone opening credits are awesome!), Ghostbusters (high-energy!), and any musicals from the 30’s and 40’s (such fun music!).

Who are some of your favorite indie artist/crafters and why do you love them?

Giant Dwarf, Yokoo, and Boygirlparty are pretty amazing. I admire their professionalism as well as their unique designs and incredible photography!

Any exciting future plans or developments in the works for your business?

I hope to have my very own Pollyannacowgirl website up and running by the end of the year, and I’m always experimenting with new designs and materials. And maybe some wonderful day, I’ll finally learn how to insert a zipper!

My blog:

Jewelry shop:

Fabric accessories:

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