October 27, 2010


And now for another addition of

Esty Fort Worth's SpotlightMoments!

Grab a cup of hot tea and sit down for a fun and inspiring tale of a girl who
NEEDS to create.

Cindy Willingham of Revel Designs

Tell us a bit about yourself
(name, location, affiliations, and personal stuff).
My name is Cindy Willingham and I live in Keller, Texas. I am the mother of 3 unimaginably wonderful kids. I happen to be a stay-at-home mom with a creative side that needs unleashing. I started Revel Designs, a cottage industry sewing venture, in 2006 and have been trying to balance it all ever since.

What is the first thing you can remember making by hand?
How and why did you make it?
I was always a “maker of things” using pastels, markers and my imagination. But the memory that sticks out the most is one Christmas that I made a brick front fireplace, complete with a roaring fire, out of cardboard. I remember being really impressed with it and from then on knowing that I could create anything that I needed. I think I was about 9.

What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
It could be anything. The beautiful details from a natural object, a song, a photograph. I often refer to myself as a “schizophrenic crafter” because so many things are running thru my mind and also because I can’t stick to one medium.

What are your favorite materials?
Fabric, of course. But I LOVE old books.
Anything unexpected, vintage or recycled.
I never know what I’m looking for but I know it when I see it.

Any tips for selling handmade stuff?
Handmade doesn’t have to look homemade. Quirky imperfections are great but let’s not get sloppy.
Be yourself. Be honest. Create your own work. It’s great to see something that inspires you but keep things original.
Marketing, marketing and more marketing. It requires a lot of hard work and you’ll get out what you put into it.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
My family is my 1st priority. I have 3 young children and I don’t want to miss a minute. I’m a bit of a foodie so I enjoy cooking and LOVE to eat. Creating relationships is also very important to me. The Beatles said it best, “I get by with a little help from my friends”. They keep me sane with lots of heartfelt conversations and ladies’ night outs.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A bust I made of my daughter, Mia. She was 5 at the time.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Pictures really are worth a 1000 words. I can’t say enough about how important the pictures are.
Put in the effort to make each package special. Who doesn’t love to get a package in the mail? But no one wants to pull some anonymous item out of a box.
Don’t stress about it. There is room to grow and learn. Being a creative and having to handle the business side of things is not easy. Our brains don’t take to structure very easily but it will get there.

How do you promote your work?
Lots of word of mouth. Some of my friends are my best customers.
Blogging is also a very powerful tool when used correctly. You can’t just shamelessly promote yourself but add value to the blogging world. I think that holds true for any social network.
I do a great deal of donating. I don’t do it strategically but it always brings something positive with it.

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
It sounds really boring but I start by cleaning. It’s always a mess in my studio and I always get inspired by tidying up. You always find things that you meant to do something with or you see things with fresh eyes.

I’m a messy crafter. I throw threads and fabric scraps on the ground. It just doesn’t feel organic to take the time to throw everything in the trash. I need to work with my hands. Gloves are not an option! I have to feel the glue or grout or whatever it is.

What first made you want to become an artist?
I never wanted to become an artist, I just was. And I feel a little funny using the word “artist” but it has come to be such a general term now. I just like to make things. No, scratch that. I just need to make things. It’s like it keeps my blood pumping and lets me know that I’m alive, or that I’m me.

Thank you so much for taking the time away from your family and creating!
You can catch Cindy's Craft Culture Here on the Etsy Fort Worth Site or her personal blog http://reveldesignsdiary.wordpress.com.

" I love the clean designs of Revel Designs! Cindy's blog makes me want to be a better wife, mother and friend. I enjoy seeing what she is getting into. I recommend you head over to her shop and blog- Show Some Love!" flowerbedhead.com

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