Monday, May 26, 2008

Myra Callan


Myra Callan, Oregon, USA
Brand: Twigs & Honey
Blogs: twigsandhoney.blogspot.com
Shop: myrakim.etsy.com, theenglishdept.com

I'm so happy to feature Myra, designer extraordinaire of Twigs & Honey! She creates the most beautiful hair pieces and boutonnieres perfect for weddings, and the best part? - no more worrying about wilting flowers or messing with hairspray to preserve them! Each one is handmade using a variety of materials, including silk flowers, feathers, or even shells for beach-themed weddings.


1. How would you describe your style?

My style is a mixture of seemingly disparate things but generally speaking: nature inspired (in terms of structure and balance) meets whimsical, colliding with modern and vintage styles that can be at times elegant or offbeat. I think the use of colors really influences my style too, and getting the right palette in every piece is really important to me.

2. By the looks of things in your shop - Twigs & Honey is doing quite well. Can you give us some advice on the best way to get noticed? Is it just a matter of luck and good timing or do you have a recipe for success?

Thank you for thinking so!

I think the number one piece of advice for any business is you have to have a good product. Of course it’s not always so easy and I definitely had months of hesitation to start twigs & honey officially because I wasn’t sure if what I liked would be what others would like.


>> continue reading Myra's interview


I think the second crucial part is good customer service. This is pretty easy if you end up doing what you love because you’ll be working with people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. How fabulous is that? If you are good to your customers they’ll return the favor and become repeat customers or spread the word to their friends, family, or business relations. I get many repeat customers and referrals, which is always awesome. I’ve even become friends with sweet ladies that started out as clients.

Another piece of advice, depending on your line of work, is to stay fresh and innovative. Keep things changing, but of course make them recognizable as your unique style.

I could go on and on, but I think when it comes down to it, good old fashioned hard work and dedication always pays off. A little bit of luck and timing never hurts either. Before I started twigs & honey, I created hair pieces for myself, family and friends. I tried to do my own thing by not referring to others’ works, creating pieces as I was moved to do so and I think the end result was a line of very different and sometimes quite eclectic pieces of art for your hair. I suppose I was a bit lucky that there happened to be this huge niche my pieces fit right into it.

I calculated that I was working about 100-120 hours of work a week. Seriously! I would wake up at 6am, get ready and go to work until 5pm, eat a quick dinner, and get to work until about 3 to 6am on twigs & honey.

3. How do you find the energy to make such beautiful things while holding a full time day job as a research analyst? How do you juggle a full-time job, a growing business and being a wife? Has the thought of leaving your day job and dedicating all your time to Twigs & Honey crossed your mind?


That is so funny you ask these questions!

I actually left my full time Research Analyst post exactly 2 weeks ago. For a time, I really thought I could hold onto both, but after about a month of starting twigs & honey, I calculated that I was working about 100-120 hours of work a week. Seriously! I would wake up at 6am, get ready and go to work until 5pm, eat a quick dinner, and get to work until about 3 to 6am on twigs & honey. I guess I wasn’t really juggling since I just cut out sleep for 2-3 months as the solution to handling both. I’m also a long-term planner and pretty conservative, so I refused to leave my fulltime job until I knew twigs & honey was viable and had reached a point close to my level as a researcher and held there for an extended amount of time.

I always feel so guilty having to work so much and miss out on “life”. My husband and I have definitely had our long discussions about the business, but the key has been for us to be very open about everything and to be realistic. We squabble from time to time as I miss family outings, but overall, he has been so supportive of my decision to do what I love and I really could not be where I am at with twigs & honey without him. He’s my #1 fan.

4. One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How difficult was it for you to come up with your own style and signature look? What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

At times, it was challenging for me to create my own look and it wasn’t to stand apart, but because I’m really critical and a bit of a perfectionist and if something isn’t just right, I junk it. I never received professional training and for my original pieces, literally let my mind run wild. Often, after purchasing and collecting supplies and materials that I think look nice and are of good quality, I throw them in a pile and just dig in and go with the flow. I experiment often and have been known to start and completely stop a project when it’s just not going perfectly.

I’ve heard the saying before that there are no original ideas anymore, which I tend to disagree with. I think there is plenty of room left in the realm of creativity to make unique and new pieces of art and I don’t think that will ever get filled up.

Early in 2007, I made a few pieces for myself for special occasions and I think that is when I really solidified the twigs & honey aesthetic and style. Not to sound too “out there” but most of my original designs are an outpouring of all these ideas and feelings in my head, and I think when you freestyle it, it really becomes “your own style”. I also think that is some of the best advice I can give aspiring artists looking for their own look. I’ve heard the saying before that there are no original ideas anymore, which I tend to disagree with. I think there is plenty of room left in the realm of creativity to make unique and new pieces of art and I don’t think that will ever get filled up. So if you go with your gut and let your inner self and style guide you, I think that is the route to take when trying to find your own voice and look.

5. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery..." (until it happens to you!) Many of the artists I speak to have had issue with copycats. What do you think is the best way to deal with this type of situation?

Yikes! That is a tough one! When you truly feel in your heart and know that your original idea is “knocked off” for profit, it is really emotionally exhausting and hurtful in so many ways. I tend to be a DIY freak and I know of many people to DIY for budget purposes, so there is definitely a grey area. I think that when people directly copy your original designs bit by bit for profit in an environment that creates direct competition with you, then it’s pretty disrespectful and irresponsible. Your first instinct is to get mad. Beyond that, it’s hard to suggest the best option for recourse. This is definitely one of those, “ask me again in the future” types of questions, as I haven’t yet perfected the best method for dealing with it. I do have some good Samaritan, internet watchdogs out there that let me know when it’s happening, but I am going to see what happens in the future. To be continued!

...much of the joy in doing what I do is the discovery process that leads to the final piece. I think you lose much of this joy when you completely bypass this step and copy someone else’s work.

I do want to say that much of the joy in doing what I do is the discovery process that leads to the final piece. I think you lose much of this joy when you completely bypass this step and copy someone else’s work. If you are considering it or are doing it for profit… don’t.

6. Who is your idol or current artist-crush?

How do I narrow it down?! I’m going to list a few because otherwise, this whole interview would be a list of my obsessions. I love Ann Wood Handmade (doesn’t everyone?), Leanimal, Elizabeth Dye, Dust Furniture, Fernanimals, Holly Stalder, Flufflife, and so many more. I have to stop there but just know that the list is long!

7. Can you share with us a couple of blogs or artists that you've recently discovered and love?

A blog that I was told about recently: Posie Gets Cozy (which it appears everyone loves)
An artist I recently discovered and love: Dust Furniture (not love… obsessed)

8. Your wedding on the park looked absolutely beautiful. As we all know, wedding planning can be a "little" stressful. Can you give our bride-to-be readers 5 life-saving tips that you and Matt learned from planning your own wedding.

1. SLEEP… and EAT
2. Make a budget and stick to it
3. Don’t expect that “the most important” day of your life in your eyes is as important to everyone else (i.e. Expect that something will go wrong and it’s not the end of the world if something does and when it does, don’t rip off someone’s head if they don’t get something completely perfect).
4. Tell guests where the restroom is at your venue. ;)
5. For outdoor weddings, be smarter than I was and do not put chocolates and desserts in a place exposed to sunlight. It will be one big icky mess.

Thanks Myra!!

*Wedding photo courtesy of Paul Rich Studio

8 comments:

Myra - twigs & honey said...

OMG Marichelle!

This looks beautiful!!! I'm so happy you got in touch and totally honored and flattered. You really pull everything together in such a wonderful way. And.. what the?! I love the little "Hoggle" photo you found!!! Eeeeck! I'm telling my hubby about that ASAP. We are both fans of the movie, which is probably why we ended up together. j/k!!! hmm... but I probably wouldn't have been able to marry him if he didn't like the film... okay, kidding again! Or am I? >;)
Thank you sweetest lady ever!!!

quaint handmade said...

really beautiful work!

beakee said...

Wow.... gorgeous work, Myra! I love the shop name... AND I'm a Labyrinth fan too :) As always, the way Marichelle puts these posts together is just wonderful, like reading a beautiful magazine. Nicely done!!

MARICHELLE said...

Myra/Cindy/Jasmin

Myra, you're too funny...I'm soooo glad you liked it, always scary to see how the artist will react :) It was a pleasure working on your piece!

Cindy, have to agree with you on that one. I would have the hardest time choosing just one!

Jasmin, thank you - you are too sweet!

Melissa de la Fuente said...

Myra's work is gorgeous and so is Myra! :)
What lovely answers and a lovely interview!
xo
Melissa

BEL said...

Congrats Myra! amazing work and a great interview!

Myra - twigs & honey said...

Thank you so much for all your sweet comments!! I have to keep thanking Marichelle too!! Isn't she just amazing? My hubby LOVED the layout!

flufflife said...

Myra!! I loved this interview; you are such a darling and Marichelle, I love the way you presented it...so beautiful!!