Gettin' Made: and Whorin' Around

Today's featured crafter is going to rock your socks off--and then make something glittery with them while drinking a cucumber martini and cackling like mad.

Stacy McQueen in a glitter-induced stupor--hand over the Modge Podge and no one gets hurt.
Stacy McQueen in a glitter-induced stupor--hand over the Modge Podge and no one gets hurt.

Meet Stacy McQueen, a.k.a. the Craft Whore ("I've never met a craft I didn't want to do," she quips). A little bit Kathy Griffin, a little bit liquored-up Martha Stewart, this star of the hugely popular Craft & a Cocktail YouTube videos took a break from preparing Sunday's Craftmas Bizarre show to tell us a little about what she's been up to lately.

After the jump, who is the Craft Whore?

OC Weekly: What's your day to day life like?

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Stacy McQueen: A typical day? I wake up, make an impossible list, get completely side tracked, stare in space, am on facebook too much, marvel at how fast the day went by, lay in bed stare at the ceiling until I finally fall into a restless sleep filled with dreams of crafts I've never completed (or even started). Wake up the next day, repeat.

Actually, I can be very productive on those rare occassions I focus.

OCW: Do you have a day job, and if so tell us about that?

SM: I'm one of the luckiest gals I know; not only do I not have to work for "the man", but I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I moved out here to be an actress and worked for awhile, got into writing, had a greeting card business for awhile, and then stumbled upon my weird hybrid of craft comedy.

Fortunately, I found a way to blend my three favorite things in the world: Performing, crafts and alcohol... wait. I meant to say writing... yes... I meant writing. (Except when I do Craft & a Cocktail... then yes, truly my three favorite things)

But not having a day job can sometimes be a bad thing... I never feel 'off' and always feel I should be getting way more done than I do. Oh and not getting paid kinda sucks.

OCW: What sorts of crafts do you do?

SM: Being the Craft Whore, I'm drawn to EVERYTHING. I also happen to be a Procraftinator, so I never really finish anything. Unless I have a deadline, I get nothing done.  Luckily, Craftmas Bizarre is looming, and I'm working like mad on my Grumps & Dumps. Grumps are candy colored magical creatures with frowny faces that are made from materials found on the Island of Misfit Sweaters. Their tag line reads, "We may be cute but we don't have to be happy about it." My Dumps are new this year...  Super happy with a tag that reads: "Poo pals for those crappy days."

(Lovely Lady Dumps and Fancy Poo are part of that line as well)

Stacy McQueen's Grumps promise to steal your heart with their sweetly sour expressions.
Stacy McQueen's Grumps promise to steal your heart with their sweetly sour expressions.

OCW: Where did you get the name The Craft Whore? 

SM: About six years ago, I was asked to be a guest on a show called Women's Night Out (hosted by the hilarious Alicia Brandt). She wanted me to talk about crafts. I turned them down flat because even though I was always making stuff and had a handmade card business, I didn't really identify myself with being a crafter. And I certainly had no place showing others 'how to' do anything. But they kept calling and I finally grudgingly caved in.  I showed up with a basket of stuff I had made and started a little 'show and tell' only to have the audience start laughing. I was shocked and it was only then that I realized that a lot of what I made was either wacky, ironic, half finished or had gone terribly wrong. I'd come back each month and show what I was working on and over time developed my crafty comedy.

It was fantastic for me because I didn't have 'jokes' or plan what I was going to say. It was scary but thrilling, and I just felt so lucky to have this weird hybrid of performance art - I couldn't believe that I had found a way to blend my two biggest passions: making people laugh and crafting!

One night on stage I said "I'm a craft whore because I've never met a craft I didn't want to do." And it just stuck. I can't shake it. In fact, there are people who just know me as THE CRAFT WHORE... I see them on the street and they're like, "Hey Craft Whore..." and I'm like... "hey."

OCW: You've started moving away from the Craft Whore name; why is that?

SM: To be completely honest, I'm tired of people giving me the stink eye when I introduce myself. I spend half my time explaining I didn't say CRACK WHORE, but by that time they are backing away with me babbling on and on about how I don't do anything pornagraphic with the crafts.

I'm constantly surprised that something that seems so funny to me, is actually offensive to someone else. Believe it or not, it's hard to get a sponsor with the word whore connected to your product. Who knew? Besides, I feel it's time to expand beyond crafts... That's why McQueendom is being launched.

OCW: How did you come up with the ideas for your videos?

SM: The most frustrating part of performing live is no matter how great you are on any given night(not to brag but I've had a few rockstar moments), once it's over, it's GONE. I craved some permanence... something to show for my time and effort. After having Oxygen offer to produce a webseries for me not once but TWICE, and both times have them change their minds because they didn't really see how my act would translate to a web series, I just decided to do it myself and I've had a blast turning my live act into videos.

Nothing beats a live performance though, and this year I plan to do a live hour long show, and feature my videos as well so I'll have the best of both worlds.

OCW: Which Craft & a Cocktail video is your favorite?

SM: I can't decide if it's "Craft and a Cocktail Texas Style" with my mom, or "Making it with the Craft Whore: Papier Mache part one".

Stacy demonstrates paper mache in a three part video about a project that goes ever so slightly awry.
Stacy demonstrates paper mache in a three part video about a project that goes ever so slightly awry.

OCW: Tell us a little bit more about Grumps. What are they, and what are they made of?

SM: One night in my act, I showed a creature I had made and I said "This is a Grump. His tag line is We may be cute but we don't have to be happy about it." and I got this huge laugh. I decided as a joke, I'd make a dozen or so for Craftmas Bizarre, along with Kotex slippers and my Gwyneth Paltrow Tree Toppers. I didn't have any stuffing, so I used toilet paper. They sold out in minutes.(surprsingly, none of the kotex slippers sold.)

OCW: Grumps was a big big idea that seemed to lose steam with the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) - tell us a little bit about why the CPSIA stinks in terms of how it affected the future of Grumps.

SM: Don't get me started on CPSIA. I geared a business up, buying trademarks and whatnot, when they declared that all children's toys had to be tested. Now the test itself is expensive (hundreds of dollars) but the really absurd part is that because my Grumps are made from recycled sweaters, it means there is no uniform material to be tested... which means EACH GRUMP WOULD HAVE TO BE TESTED.

Yes my Grumps have buttons for eyes, and yes a kid would probably die if it was dumb enough to eat the button and get it lodged in its throat. My Grumps tag clearly states "Not for button eatin' babies", but it wasn't enough. They also stated that if you didn't get them tested, you had to destroy your stock (I had 300 grumps in my garage).

I get it they don't want toys coming from China with cyanide paints, but why pick on the little guy? What kind of land do we live in when you can't make a handmade gift and sell it? I've gone the ostrich route, meaning I've stuck my head in the sand and am just not thinking about it.

On the next page (and on a lighter note), learn all about Stacy McQueen's yearly Craftmas Bizarre event.

 

OCW: On to happier topics! What is Craftmas Bizarre?

SM: Craftmas Bizarre is a small but mighty holiday craft party I've produced for the past four years. We have a loyal following that grows each year because people know that not only are they going to be able to find truly unique handmade gifts, but they're going to have a ball doing it. I have guy friends who hate crafts but come to Craftmas because they score year after year with the stuff they find.

The show is just big enough to offer a wide variety of crafts, but not enough to overwhelm or take your whole day to get through. We usually have anywhere between 13-16 amazing crafters who hand make everything they sell. (None of that flea market made in china stuff allowed!)

Besides amazing one of a kind hand made items, we have a free waffle & wassail bar (say the secret word HOOCHY and get a shot of run in your wassail) and Kirsten Vangsness will be spinnin' some tunes!

OCW: How is Craftmas Bizarre different from other holiday craft shows?

SM: Well for some people, attending GINORMOUS craft fairs is fun. I personally find them overwhelming and frankly exhausting. Not only does it take your whole day just to see all the booths, you tend to see the same flavor of crafts. You have to fight the crowds and it's pricier. These people are professional craft fair vendors, and I notice that you don't have a lot of give and take or human interaction that you get at our event.

I work really hard to put together the perfect mix of crafts - you won't find five tables in a row of the same kind of jewelry or vendor after vendor selling manufactured 'handmade'. Most of the crafters I try to work with craft for the love of it; they are passionate about what they make. Most of the crafters aren't craft show whores. Like myself, Craftmas is one of the few times a year they even sell their stuff. It translates into a totally different energy than a bigger fair. Everyone who comes to Craftmas picks up on this vibe, whether they know it or not.

 

Gettin' Made: and Whorin' Around

OCW: If you could pick just one craft supply to join you on a desert island, which would it be?

SM: Dang, that's a true Sophie's Choice ... 'don't make me choooooose'! Just off the top of my head because I've been using it a lot lately, I'd have to say Fabric Tac permanant adhesive so i could make essentials, like a seashell crown or mosaic my coconut cups. Also, I could huff it at night when I need to take the edge off. (I'm kidding; I've never huffed glue. Not intentionally.)

OCW: If that item tried to make out with you, would you?

SM: Only if it got me all liquored up first.

OCW: What's next for you when this year's Craftmas Bizarre has passed?

SM: Once Craftmas Bizarre is over, I'm going to be concentrating on my new webseries McQueendom. Also, I was cast in a hilarious new webseries called Pretty that launches in January!

***

Craftmas Bizarre takes place on Sunday, December 6 from noon til 5pm at the Fake Gallery at 4319 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Admission is $2, but is free if you mention Long Beach Craft Mafia sent you. For more information about the show, visit the website.

For more information about Stacy Mcqueen, visit her website or follow her on Twitter. Don't forget to check out all her Craft & a Cocktail videos on YouTube. (the Fourth of July one is my personal fave!)

For more information about new webseries Pretty, visit the website.


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