Friday, 23 November 2012

Favourite Shops - prettygoodthings

I'm just in love with prettygoodthings... I'm rather jealous of the quirky style that's going on

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Mary Pattavina and I am the owner/designer of Pretty Good Things. I am married, live in Lincoln, NE and have an addition to candy and popcorn.

Describe your craft
I make hats, fascinators and other accoutrements/do-dads for ladies of the radical variety.

How did you get started with your craft?
I didn’t have a clue what I was doing with my life after undergrad, but I knew that making was something I needed to continue doing. I graduated from the University of Nebraska in 2003 with my BFA in studio art and in 2004 PGT was born. During the first few years it wasn’t really a serious venture – more of a hobby and no focus or direction– a ‘oh wouldn’t that be fun’ type of a dream. I worked in the “real world” for a couple years after and returned to get my graduate degree in apparel design from UNL. It was during the summer of 2008 that I started making fascinators. The first one I made was the Oh Deer Fascinator – though it has evolved since then. I quickly realized this was the direction I needed to take because making and building these 3D fashion objects was a good mix of things that spoke to me.: drawing/sketching, sculpting/constructing, crafting. It just fit.

What is your earliest crafting memory?.
One of my earliest memories of crafting solo (you know, outside of school, or supervised events) is making these faceless folksy dolls out of calico remnants my mom had. They were stuffed with cotton balls and glued together with white Elmer’s glue. I was probably 7? And man was I proud of those things! I still have them.

What are your favorite materials to work with/favorite mediums?
I’m an 8 year old half-human half-magpie at heart so I find I am really attracted to anything miniature, sparkly, iridescent, bright or in rainbow order: sequins, glitter, polka dots, animal prints….toys and figurines. I love making wearable dioramas! You know, I am really all over the place: I tend to use repurposed fabric from old blouses, etc. in a lot of pieces. I love soft fluttery things, like organza and chiffon…but man can those things be a pain to cut and sew! I usually look for light weight fabrics – crisp taffeta, lightweight knits and woven fabrics when making hats. The last thing you want is a heavy headpiece! I do love gravity but sometimes it can be a creative challenge to engineer around. Thank goodness for starch, buckram and wire! When I draw or paint I use watercolor, pen/ink/marker, and graphite the most.

How did you come up with your store name?
Picking a name was pretty frustrating as I recall. I had some help. My husband (then boyfriend) helped me find clarity after I was having trouble coming up with one I was satisfied with. This is how I recall it went down: Nick: ‘so…describe what you do.’ Me (frustrated): ‘ugh. Ok. Well. I make things. I dunno. They’re pretty. They are good.’ Nick: ‘why not Pretty Good Things? And so it went!

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I currently just work for my small business Pretty Good Things. Although my past resume contains varied skills:
Instructor at the University of Nebraska to Art Supply Store sales associate to maid/room inspector to insurance agent! (but I think I am done with the hospitality and insurance industries, thanks! :)

Where does your inspiration come from?
I feel like my pieces are inspired by playful concepts, “girlie” themes and silhouettes. There’s a lot of nature involved in my pieces too – bunnies, underwater influence, flowers.

What does handmade mean to you?
I guess handmade usually describes an object’s birth but I like to think about the word and what it means between two people. Handmade connects people in meaningful ways. Handmade gifts are often the most treasured. And when I find myself shopping handmade I know I am directly supporting another human being doing something - creating something they love. And to me, that’s pretty darn cool.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A tiny purple warm fuzzy made by my kindgergarten teacher. I also am deeply attached to a couple mini books I made when I was 5 or 6.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I walk away from things. Take a day off of work. Focus on me. Feel sorry for myself and then stop feeling sorry for myself. Sketch for fun. Meditate. Relax with a glass of wine. I have to remind myself to be patient and not force it.

Where would you like to be in ten years?
On a personal ten year plan, I’d be delighted to own a home with my husband and if we’re especially lucky to have the funds to swing visiting long distance friends much more often and go on vacation for a week at a time! Oh that would be pretty rad.
In the business end of things, in ten years I PGT will be my sole source of income and I won’t rely on working elsewhere to make ends meet. I would like PGT hats and accessories in many more shops around the country – but still trying to maintain the handmade nature of things. I hope to expand my wedding line and work with more brides with non-traditional tastes…like beautiful, fun, bright wedding veils and headpieces!

Where can you be found online? (besides on Etsy)

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
Hum. That’s a good question! I wish I could say something really fascinating…like I am Dolly Parton’s niece. Or my biological dad is Elvis Presley. But I feel like I’m just a regular gal with certain talents, hang-ups and all the rest of the good stuff that makes humans totally unique and completely the same all at once.

What did you like to do when you aren't crafting?
I enjoy relaxing reading or watching mysteries and hanging out with my dude. I’m a self proclaimed candy and popcorn junkie so often you can find me relaxing with these things in hand. I love illustrating/painting/drawing. Sometimes I feel as though my business is my hobby – which I don’t mind in the least! I love my “job”!

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